Cat Clawed

A trio of negatives haunted the Ole Miss baseball team Sunday as the Rebels lost their first Southeastern Conference game of the season, falling at Kentucky 12-3.

The Rebels, who won the first two games in Lexington this weekend 9-0 and 7-6, were poor on the mound as well as offensively and defensively in game three. It was too much for the visitors to overcome.

"It's disappointing. We just didn't play very well today in all three phases," said Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco after his team fell to 15-5 overall and 2-1 in SEC action. "We didn't pitch well, didn't hit well, and didn't field well. I thought it was one of our worst days, especially defensively."

The Wildcats (15-5, 1-2) outhit the Rebels 11-8, and Ole Miss committed two errors to none for Kentucky. But it was on the mound where the Rebels' struggles actually appeared to begin.

UK got to UM starter Matt Tracy, getting his second nod on a Sunday, early. He gave up a three-run home run by Braden Kapteyn in the bottom of the first inning and had a difficult time finding any consistency.

The junior left-hander went four and two-thirds innings, allowing five earned runs on six hits with three strikeouts and three walks.

David Goforth came in for Tracy and was ineffective, facing seven batters and giving up six earned runs on five hits with a walk and a strikeout. Kapteyn hit his second three-run homer of the day while Goforth was on the mound.

"It's tough," Bianco said of Goforth. "It was one of those horrible nightmare weekends he'll want to forget. You feel bad for him because he's so talented. It was almost like it didn't matter what he threw today, they were going to hit it. That happens sometimes. His stuff's so good, and we've got to get him some confidence back. He'll pitch at some point Tuesday or Wednesday."

Former Sunday starter Trent Rothlin then entered with the Rebels down 12-1 and all but done. But the junior right-hander came on and stopped any more UK damage, facing nine batters in three innings with three strikeouts.

"The one positive today was that Trent was really dominant at the end," Bianco said. "That was nice to see."

Ole Miss scored one in the sixth and two in the seventh for its only runs of the contest.

Bianco said sweeping an SEC series remains a difficult task, especially on the road.

"You have to credit Kentucky," he said. "That's why it's a tough league and why it's tough to sweep. It's difficult to play three games well, and it's hard to keep (the opposition) down.

"Losing the last one leaves a bitter taste in your mouth," he continued. "We won two out of three on the road, so we move on."

UK starter Alex Meyer (4-2) got the win, as Tracy (1-2) was credited with the loss.

Offensively Kevin Mort was the brightest spot for the Rebs, going 3-for-4.

The Rebels play in Pearl Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. against Southern Mississippi. Bianco has not named a starter for that contest. Ole Miss then hosts Saint Louis Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in Oxford.


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