Kentucky's late rally came up just short Saturday as Georgia held on for a 7-6 win over the Wildcats at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The No. 8 Wildcats (20-6, 5-3 SEC) trailed 7-3 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, but plated three runs to pull within one.
Kentucky threatened again in the ninth inning with J.T. Riddle, who led the Cats with four hits on the day, just missing a game-tying home run off the top of the right field fence. But the Bulldogs' Dylan Cole retired the final two UK batters to record his first save of the season.
The Cats and Dawgs were locked in a scoreless pitching duel through three and a half before UK broke through in the bottom of the fourth for a 1-0 lead on Micheal Thomas getting hit by pitch with the bases loaded.
It didn't last long, however. Georgia (10-18, 1-7 SEC) got two runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth to take control against UK starter Jerad Grundy. The Dawgs added three more in the seventh against the UK bullpen to pad the lead.
Kentucky got two in the sixth and four in the eighth, but could not draw even.
The Cats collected 13 hits in the game, including multiple-hit performances from Riddle (4), Kyle Barrett (3) and A.J. Reed (2). Matt Reida, Austin Cousino and Paul McConkey each added doubles, while Zac Zellers had an RBI single.
Georgia got a solid start from left-hander Patrick Boling (2-3), who worked 5.2 innings and allowed only two unearned runs on seven hits. Blake Dieterich took over in the sixth, working 1.1 shutout innings. Heath Holder got two outs in the eighth before giving way to Cole for the final four outs of the game.
Grundy (5-2) worked 5.1 innings for UK, allowing five hits and two earned runs, but walked a career-high seven batters.
The series will conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Kentucky will start junior southpaw Corey Littrell (3-2, 2.56 ERA) vs. Georgia senior right-hander Bryan Benzor (1-1, 5.57 ERA).
Bulldogs nip Cats, even series
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