Presented by Jack Kain Ford
No. 21 Ole Miss jumped out to an early lead and held on to post a 4-1 win over Kentucky in the opener of the Southeastern Conference Tournament, eliminating the Wildcats, on Tuesday morning at the Hoover Met.
Kentucky (30-25) fell behind after the Rebels plated a single run in the first and third innings. The Wildcats manufactured a run with a delayed-steal play with two outs in the fourth inning, with Ole Miss plating a pair of runs in the sixth for a 4-1 lead. The Wildcats loaded the bases with one out in the seventh inning but couldn’t get anything across to narrow the Ole Miss lead.
UK senior starter Jerad Grundy (6-6) worked 5.2 innings, allowing nine hits and four runs, striking out one. Sophomore Chandler Shepherd came on in relief in the sixth and allowed the first hit in a span of six consecutive innings, scoring a run charged to Grundy. Shepherd worked 2.1 shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two.
UK was led at the plate by a two-hit game from Matt Reida, who extended his hitting streak to a career-long 11 games. UK also got a double from Zac Zellers and singles from Kyle Barrett, A.J. Reed and J.T. Riddle. Freshman Zack Storm came off the bench to post a 2-for-2 game with a pair of singles.
Ole Miss (37-20) senior starter Mike Mayers (5-5) working 6.1 strong innings, allowing six UK hits and one unearned run, walking one and striking out four. Lefty Jeremy Massie came on in relief in the seventh, working 1.2 shutout innings, allowing one walk and an infield single to the speedy Storm. Tanner Bailey came on to record the save with three outs in the ninth.
Missouri jumped out to an early lead and held off Kentucky to post a 4-2 series-opening win over the Wildcats, on Thursday night at Taylor Stadium.
Kentucky (29-23, 10-18 Southeastern Conference) fell behind in an early hole after the Tigers got two runs in the third, adding single runs in the fourth and fifth to chase UK preseason All-America southpaw A.J. Reed.
Reed (2-8) worked 4.1 innings, allowing nine hits and four runs, walking two without recording a strikeout. Sophomore Chandler Shepherd turned in a dominating performance in relief of Reed, retiring all 11 hitters he faced, working 3.2 perfect innings, striking out two and hurling just four balls in 31 total pitches.
UK collected five hits in the game, led by a two-hit performance from Kyle Barrett to extend his hitting streak to a club-high 16 games. UK also got hits from Austin Cousino, Matt Reida and Paul McConkey, with J.T. Riddle driving in a run with a groundout.
Missouri (17-30, 9-19 SEC) starter Brett Graves (2-5) worked five innings, allowing three hits and two runs – one earned – walking five and striking out three. Redshirt junior lefty Jake Walsh, who led the team in saves in 2012 with a challenging delivery style, worked two shutout innings, allowing just one UK hit. Keaton Steele took over to start the eighth, picking up his first save of the year with two shutout innings.