The No. 1 Gators (22-1, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) are off to their best start in school history.

Currently on a 16-game winning streak, Florida has a chance to break its 18-straight win record this weekend as it battles Kentucky in Lexington for a three-game series starting tonight at 6:30.

But the Wildcats (15-5, 2-1 SEC) haven’t exactly been pushovers in past years.

UK was one of three SEC teams to win a conference series against UF last year.

The last time Florida won a series against Kentucky was in 2012, back when now-major leaguers Preston Tucker and Mike Zunino stacked the middle of UF’s lineup.

The only Gator still on the team from that season is senior catcher Mike Fahrman.

The Wildcats are off to a solid start in the SEC after swiping two of three games from Georgia last weekend, pounding out a combined 27 runs in the process.

UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan will have to find a way to slow UK’s offense.

In O’Sullivan’s nine years at the helm of the program, Kentucky is the only SEC East team he doesn’t have a winning record against.

The coach is 13-13 against the Wildcats.

"Obviously we’re gonna have to play our best up there if we wanna be successful," he said.

Tonight, Florida’s hitters will face junior pitcher Zack Brown, who sports a 1-3 record and a 5.14 ERA this season.

The right-hander shut out Florida through seven innings last year as the Wildcats defeated the Gators 3-0.

Although Brown’s numbers don’t show it, O’Sullivan said he has top-notch stuff.

"He’s a top couple round pick," he said.

"He’s 92-96, and he’s got a hammer for a breaking ball."

Florida will counter with Logan Shore. The junior is coming off a start against Missouri in which he struck out a career-high 10 batters through 5.1 innings.

Kentucky will start senior Dustin Beggs on the hill in Saturday’s contest, which begins at 2 p.m.

His 1.77 ERA currently ranks among the top 10 in the SEC.

Beggs tossed 8.1 innings and allowed three runs as he earned the win against Florida last year. To make things even tougher for UF, Beggs has won his first five starts this season, which is a program record.

O’Sullivan likened Beggs to Missouri’s Reggie McClain, who struck out eight UF batters and allowed just three runs in nine innings in the Tigers’ 4-3 loss to the Gators on Friday.

"Their Saturday guy is just like McClain," he said.

"He can pitch. He’s an older senior who kind of knows what he’s doing."

Junior left-hander A.J. Puk will start Saturday’s matchup for Florida.

The southpaw is coming off his best start of the season against Missouri, in which he struck out 11 through seven scoreless innings.

In Sunday’s game, which will start at 1 p.m., UF’s Alex Faedo will square off against UK’s Kyle Cody.

All three games can be viewed live on SEC Network+.

Contact Patrick Pinak at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @Pinakk12

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