Scout.com/Jeff Drummond

Four unearned runs in ninth inning doom Kentucky Wildcats in series-opening loss to Georgia

Cats drop first series opener since March 23.

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Needing only one out to claim another series-opening win, No. 4 Kentucky allowed four unearned runs that paved the way to a 5-3 victory by Georgia on a rainy Friday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium. 

It marked the first loss in an SEC series opener for the Cats since March 23.

Kentucky (31-15, 14-8 SEC) had rallied to score the go-ahead run on Tyler Marshall's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth, but two errors in the top of the ninth doomed the Cats.

Georgia (18-28, 6-16 SEC) got a leadoff single by LJ Talley to begin its comeback. UK closer Logan Salow retired the next two Bulldogs, but Tucker Maxwell doubled off the left-centerfield wall to put runners at second and third. The lefty reliever then induced a ground ball to short, but it skipped past Connor Heady into left field allowing a pair of runs to score.

After a Tucker Bradley single up the middle, Cam Shepherd lifted a routine fly ball to right that was dropped by Tristan Pompey, allowing UGA to go up 5-2. 

The Cats managed to plate a run in their half of the ninth, but left the bases loaded as the Bulldogs' Kevin Smith recorded a save. Zac Kristofak (3-1) earned the win in relief of UGA starter Andrew Gist, who allowed only one run on six hits over 6.2 innings against the SEC's top offensive club.

Sean Hjelle started for UK, allowing only one run on four hits over 6.2 innings of work. The sophomore right-hander struck out seven, but could not get the run support needed to win. 

The teams return to the diamond Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. ET for the middle game of the weekend series.

 


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