Needing one out to lock down a series-opening win, No. 4 Kentucky was stunned by four unearned runs that allowed Georgia to claim a 5-3 victory on a rainy Friday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats (31-15, 14-8 SEC) rallied to score the go-ahead run on Tyler Marshall’s sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the eighth and appeared poised for an important victory in the league standings before the Bulldogs (18-28, 6-16) took advantage of two errors to shock the Cats.
In a game moved up 4.5 hours due to forecasts of heavy rain in the evening, pitching ruled through seven innings with both teams managing only a single run in the fifth inning. UK manufactured a run in the eighth to take the lead with closer Logan Salow on the mound, but the defense couldn’t hold up through the raindrops.
Georgia’s LJ Talley led off the ninth with a lopping single just over the head of UK second baseman Riley Mahan but remained there as Salow recorded a pair of outs. With two down, lefty Tucker Maxwell doubled off the left-centerfield wall to put runners on second and third. Salow induced a ground ball from No. 9 hitter Austin Biggar but it skipped by the shortstop and into left field, allowing a pair of runs to score. After a Tucker Bradley single up the middle, Cam Shepherd hit a routine fly ball to right field that was dropped, scoring two more runs to make it 5-2 Bulldogs.
The Cats loaded the bases in the ninth inning and scored a run on a walk before a strikeout and pop out to right field thwarted the potential game-winning rally.
The teams return to the diamond Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. for the middle game of the weekend series.
Top 5th – Tucker Maxwell hit a soft single to CF and moved to second on Austin Biggar’s SAC bunt. Tucker Bradley looped a soft single to RF with Maxwell advancing to third. Cam Shepherd grounded out to 2B, scoring Maxwell. UGA 1, UK 0.
Bottom 5th – Tyler Marshall lined a single to LF. Connor Heady walked. Tristan Pompey flied out to RF with Marshall tagging and advancing to third. Evan White hit a two-out single to RF, scoring Marshall. UK 1, UGA 1.
Bottom 8th – Zach Reks singled to LF. Luke Becker pinch hit and sacrificed Reks to second. Riley Mahan was intentionally walked. Troy Squires walked to load the bases. Marshall hit a SAC fly to LF, scoring Reks. UK 2, UGA 1.
Top 9th – LJ Talley lobbed a single to RF to lead off the inning. Maxwell hit a two-out double to LCF. Austin Biggar reached on an error, scoring Talley and Maxwell. Bradley singled up the middle. Shepherd reaches on a dropped fly ball, allowing Biggar and Bradley to score. UGA 5, UK 2.
Bottom 9th – Heady doubled off the LF wall and Pompey singled to CF to start the inning. Zach Reks and Luke Becker walked, with Heady coming in on Becker’s free pass. UGA 5, UK 3.
· Kentucky has gone 65 games without being shutout, the eighth-longest such streak in school history.
· Junior 1B Evan White went 1-for-5 with an RBI.
o White now has 203 career hits, moving him out of a tie with Antone DeJesus (2005-07) and into sole possession of 15th on UK’s all-time career hit list.
o White has a hit in 21 of his last 23 games.
· Senior OF Zach Reks went 1-for-3 with a run and two walks.
o Reks now has 108 career hits, moving him into 45th place on the Cats’ all-time hits list.
· Sophomore OF Tristan Pompey went 2-for-5.
o Pompey now has hit safely in 32 of his past 35 games.
o He has 18 multi-hit games this season and 29 in his career.
Kentucky tries to get back on the winning track on Saturday with a first pitch at 6:30 p.m. at The Cliff. Fans can listen on the UK Sports Network via UKathletics.com and iHeart Radio, as well as on 630 AM WLAP, and watch on SECN+.
Follow along with the Cats on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and on the web at UKathletics.com.
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