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Mississippi State got a strong start from ace Chris Stratton and a two-run rally in the fourth inning to post a 3-1 series-opening win over No. 2 Kentucky.
Kentucky (41-13, 18-10 Southeastern Conference) battled MSU through the first few innings in a pitching duel, before the Bulldogs rallied with two runs in the fourth inning. Stratton then settled in to toss the complete-game shutout to secure the MSU win. The series-opening defeat puts the Wildcats percentage points behind South Carolina, who has had its series-opening game with LSU in Columbia, S.C., rained out, in the Southeastern Conference standings. South Carolina and LSU are scheduled to play a doubleheader Friday.
UK got seven hits in the game, with junior catcher Luke Maile cranking two doubles in his four at bats and sophomore second baseman J.T. Riddle adding UK’s other two-hit game. UK also got hits from junior left fielder Brian Adams, senior third baseman Thomas McCarthy and sophomore designated hitter Paul McConkey.
UK junior left-handed starting pitcher Taylor Rogers (6-4) was charged with the loss after surrendering three runs on five hits while striking out three batters and walking two in five and one-third innings.
Mississippi State’s (32-21, 14-14 SEC) starter Stratton (10-1) dominated through the game, working 6.1 innings, allowing one run on six hits, striking out eight and tying the MSU single-season strikeout record set by former MLB star Jeff Brantley.
The series will resume on Friday at 8 p.m. ET at Dudy Noble Field. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, available on WLAP 630-AM in Central Kentucky, on WGVN 1580-AM in Louisville and online at UKathletics.com. The game will also be televised live on Fox Sports South with Larry Conley and Dave Neal on the call. UK will send junior southpaw Jerad Grundy (4-2, 3.91 ERA) to the mound to face off with Mississippi State junior right-hander Kendall Graveman (4-3, 2.69 ERA).
From UK Atheltics