May 13, 2011
LEXINGTON, KY.----- Kentucky scored all seven of its runs with two outs Friday to defeat Georgia 7-4 at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats (23-27, 6-19 SEC) used a two-out rally in the first inning to jump out to a 4-0 advantage off sophomore left-hander Alex Wood and the Bulldogs. Kentucky leadoff hitter Nieko Johnson reached on a walk and then was erased on a sterling double play started by Levi Hyams. He made a diving stop on Taylor Black's ground ball that was heading up the middle. Chad Wright then drew a walk on five pitches. The Bulldogs caught a break on a double by Thomas McCarthy as his smash bounced over the wall in centerfield, forcing Wright to return to third. However, the good fortune was short-lived. Catcher Michael Williams followed with a run-scoring single. Designated hitter Braden Kapteyn was hit by a pitch to load the bases. First baseman Luke Maile made it 2-0 with an RBI-single and second baseman J.T. Riddle capped the scoring with a two-run single to right.
Georgia (25-25, 14-11 SEC) got a run back in the third without the benefit of a hit. Sophomore third baseman Curt Powell was hit by a pitch to start the inning. He advanced to third on a couple of wild pitches and then scored on a groundout by Zach Cone to make it 4-1. It ended a stretch of 11 scoreless innings pitched by junior right-hander Alex Meyer who blanked top-ranked Vanderbilt here last Friday.
The Wildcats got their big lead back in the fourth courtesy of a couple more two-out RBI-singles, one by Wright and another by McCarthy for a 6-1 lead. At that point in the contest, the Wildcats with two outs were 8-for-12 with six RBI. The Bulldogs loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth, and then Meyer retired right fielder Chase Davidson on a groundout to maintain a five-run advantage.
Wood was lifted in favor of Chase Hawkins to start the Kentucky half of the sixth. Wood dropped to 4-6 after allowing six runs on 10 hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Hawkins blanked the Wildcats for the next 2.2 innings with no walks and two strikeouts but eventually was charged with an unearned run on catcher's interference on Joey Delmonico with the bases loaded with senior John Herman on the mound in the eighth. He came in and walked two before retiring the side but Kentucky had pushed its lead back to three at 7-4.
Back In the seventh, Georgia loaded the bases again, this time with one out. Powell collected his second hit of the night, Hayms followed with a base hit and Cone drew a walk to bring up sophomore shortstop Kyle Farmer. He made it 6-2 with an infield single as Johnson kept it from going into centerfield. Kentucky went to its bullpen, bringing in left-hander Alex Phillips to face the left-handed hitting Davidson. A sacrifice fly by Davidson made it 6-3. Designated hitter Brett DeLoach popped out to first to end the rally. In the eighth, Georgia put runners at the corners with two outs, and Hyams lined an infield single off Johnson at second to make it 6-4. Phillips battled back to strikeout Cone to maintain a two-run lead.
Meyer picked up the victory to move his record to 6-5. He provided the Wildcats with 6.1 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits with four walks and five strikeouts. Phillips collected his second save, tossing the final 2.2 innings.
"It wasn't our night, Alex (Wood) wasn't very good, we'll have to clean up a couple things," said Georgia coach David Perno. "Offensively, we worked it all night, I was proud we hung in there and had a chance. We hope it's our day Saturday and get some breaks to go our way. The most important thing is to keep it simple and look at getting to Hoover for the SEC Tournament and then worry about the rest of it after that."
In the ninth, Farmer led off with what appeared to be a double down the third base line but it was ruled foul. Then, he lined one to right and was called out at second on another close play for the first out. Phillips closed it out after that.
The series continues Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The Bulldogs will start junior right-hander Michael Palazzone (8-2, 2.15 ERA) while the Wildcats will go with freshman left-hander Corey Littrell (5-5, 6.37 ERA).