(Photo by Sarah Caputi/UK Athletics)
The first game of what was expected to be a series full of runs turned out to be a pitchers’ duel, with No. 9 Ole Miss using a ninth-inning leadoff triple and a two-out RBI single to claim a 2-1 victory on Friday night at Kentucky Proud Park.
The Rebels (18-7, 3-4 SEC) took a 1-0 lead in the first when the Wildcats (17-10, 2-5) threw away a bunt attempt and Tim Elko came through with a two-out RBI for an unearned run. The Cats used an error, passed ball and a Chase Estep RBI groundout to tie it in the sixth, but were unable to push anything else across.
UK also had a run taken off the board when called for runner interference on a potential double play ball, ending the inning instead of scoring a run on an errant relay throw. Umpires reviewed the call and upheld it on replay.
UK pitchers struck out 14 and allowed just five hits but couldn’t stave off the winning run.
“Every guy we ran out there, I was pleased with,” said coach Nick Mingione. Senior Mason Hazelwood started before giving way to relievers Ryan Hagenow, Tyler Guilfoyle and Sean Harney, who ultimately took the loss, his first against four wins.
“If you had told me before the game, we’d give up two runs I’d have said fine, I’ll take it,” Mingione said. “That’s a really good offense.”
Ole Miss had been averaging 9.1 runs per game until Friday night.
“It was one of those games where, which team was going to get the big hit and give them credit. They did,” he said. “Our guys, we execute. And when we execute, we can play with anyone. I think tonight was a really good example of that.”
- Kentucky has 1,999 all-time victories, one shy of 2,000.
- UK has scored in 270 of 273 games in Mingione’s tenure.
- Mingione has 160 wins, fifth on UK’s all-time list. He needs five wins to move into fourth.
- UK is 33-of-36 on stole base attempts this season.
- The UK pitchers have struck out 294 in 27 games.
- Junior INF Chase Estep has reached base safely in 26 of 27 games this season.
Kentucky hosts No. 9 Ole Miss this weekend. First pitch on Saturday is at 2 p.m. ET on the SECN+ with Dick Gabriel and Doug Flynn. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network with Darren Headrick.