LEXINGTON, Ky. - It was a reversal of roles on the diamond on Saturday, as two of the top offenses in the Southeastern Conference battled in a pitchers duel as No. 17 Ole Miss (31-17, 13-10 SEC) fell to No. 11 Kentucky (36-11, 15-8 SEC) by a score of 3-2.
Kentucky clinched the series with the win. Ole Miss out-hit the Wildcats 7-6, but left nine on base.
Brett Bukvich (4-4) suffered the loss for the Rebels as the southpaw allowed three runs, all earned, on six hits. He struck out eight and walked only one as he worked a complete game. It is the first complete game for Bukvich, the third for the Rebels this season. Craig Rodriguez worked back-to-back complete games for the Rebels earlier in the season against Auburn and then No. 7 South Carolina.
After giving up the three runs in the first two innings, Bukvich held the potent Kentucky offense hitless over the final 6.0 innings after giving up a lead-off single in the third. It also marked the first time the Wildcats had been held under six runs in 11 straight games.
Craig Snipp (5-3) took the win for the Wildcats as he worked 7.1 innings, allowing two runs on six hits as he walked three and struck out six.
Kentucky opened the game with a leadoff home run from Antone DeJesus to get the Wildcats on the board in the bottom of the first. Bukvich retired the next three batters with a strikeout, pop out and strikeout to end the inning.
Ole Miss answered in the top half of the second as Jon-Jon Hancock pushed Mark Wright across with a single up the middle. Wright scored from second after reaching on a single to left field and moving to second on a balk.
The Wildcats rallied in the second. John Shelby led off with a single to center and moved to second on a bunt single from Michael Bertram who reached base safely after Bukvich and Brashear collided trying to field the ball. The bases loaded as Bukvich misplayed a bunt from Justin Scutchfield. Kentucky added two runs on a single through the left side from Shaun Lehmann to push back ahead of the Rebels 3-1. A single to second from DeJesus loaded the bases again with one out for the Wildcats. Bukvich got the Rebels out of the inning, getting the next two batters to strikeout and fly out.
Ole Miss cut into the lead in the sixth inning when Mark Wright took the ball deep over the left field fence, the first home run of the weekend for the Rebels and ninth of the season for Wright. The solo shot pulled Ole Miss within one run at 3-2.
With one out in the eighth, the Rebels put runners at first and second as Zack Cozart laid down a bunt single, then moved to second when Alex Presley was hit by a pitch. Kentucky then went to its bullpen, bringing in Clint Rusin to face Wright. Rusin walked Wright on four straight pitches to load the bases and Kentucky again went to its bullpen, bringing in Andrew Albers to face Logan Power. Albers struck out the next two batters as the Rebels left the bases loaded, still trailing the Wildcats 3-2.
Ole Miss would not get another run across as the Wildcats bullpen held the Rebels in check in the ninth.
Ole Miss and Kentucky will take to the field again in the final game of the series on Sunday. First pitch is set for noon CDT at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Rebels fall 3-2 at Kentucky
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