UK earns first conference win of the season

In game two of their SEC-opening series, UK beat Arkansas 7-5 to earn its first conference win in front of 1,938 people at Cliff Hagan Stadium on Saturday.

UK head coach John Cohn knows that for a team in the Southeastern Conference, the first win in league play is always one of the biggest of the season.

"I can tell you, having played at Mississippi State and having coached at Florida and now here, that first SEC win is big for everybody. It gets you over the hump."

In game two of their SEC-opening series, UK beat Arkansas 7-5 to earn its first conference win in front of 1,938 people at Cliff Hagan Stadium on Saturday.

"I think the monkey is off your back a little bit," Cohen said. "You know it's hard to say a monkey is on."

The win revitalized the Cats, who sputtered to a disappointing 10-2 loss to the Razorbacks in their SEC-opener on Friday.

"We wanted some revenge today," said second baseman Ryan Wilkes. "We felt yesterday we didn't come out with the intensity we needed to so today we picked it up and got the win."

Arkansas scored the game's first run in the first inning, but UK quickly rallied, scoring three runs of its own in the first inning.

Freshman Jason Kipnis homered to right-center in the second inning to help the Cats score twice more to jump out to an early 5-1 lead.

UK chased Arkansas starter Jess Todd after just three innings of work. By that time, the Cats had already smashed eight hits and hung six runs on the scoreboard.

Kipnis said Todd's tendency to throw fastballs early in the count helped him key in for the home run.

"That Jess Todd is a really good pitcher," Kipnis said. "He throws a lot of fastballs. I knew previous batters in the second inning and the inning before he started off a lot of fastballs to them and that is exactly what I was looking for. Any other pitch I probably would have laid off of but he gave me a fastball down and in and I just took it."

UK also plated runs in the third and seventh innings.

Kipnis and Wilkes were both 2-for-4 from the plate and drove in key RBIs that helped the Cats seize an early lead.

Starter Andrew Albers threw just an inning and a third before he was replaced by Scott Green. Early reports declared that Albers had issues with his throwing hand and was unable to feel his fingers.

Scott Green pitched two innings, gave up one run on one hit and picked up his second win of the season. He too was removed early after tweaking his latissimus dorsi (lat) muscle on a pitch.

Aaron Lovett tossed the final inning and two-thirds to earn the save.

The UK pitching staff limited the Razorbacks to five runs on six hits, even though they issued 13 walks on the afternoon.

The win improved UK's overall record to 20-1 and knotted the series between the two teams 1-1. Both teams will be looking to clinch the series with a win on Sunday. Sunday's game is slated for a 1 p.m. start.


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