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Two defensive miscues by the No. 4 UK baseball team led to four Mississippi State runs and a 4-3 win over the Wildcats in the second game of the three-game series to secure the series win, on Friday night at Dudy Noble Field.
UK (41-14, 18-11 Southeastern Conference) dropped a fly ball in shallow leftfield in the second inning that allowed a tying run to score and allowed a routine grounder to skid under its glove that led to a two-out, three-run inning in the bottom of the fourth for the difference.
The Wildcats have been paced throughout the year by its .974 fielding percentage, which entering Friday would tie the school record for the best defensive team in the 107-year history of the program. Beside the four total defensive miscues by the Wildcats, UK left fielder Brian Adams skied over the leftfield wall to rob a three-run homer late in the game.
The loss, combined with the doubleheader split between LSU and South Carolina puts the Wildcats a half-game behind South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference title race and in a three-way tie with Florida and LSU for second place. The Gamecocks benefit from a rain out last weekend in the finale at Georgia, erasing the Wildcats edge in the tie breaker after its sweep over South Carolina. For Kentucky to win or share the SEC Title, LSU needs to beat South Carolina in the finale, and the Wildcats would have to win the finale versus Mississippi State.
The Wildcats got seven hits in the game, lead by a two-hit game from senior catcher Michael Williams, including a RBI double off the top of the batter’s eye. UK also got hits from freshman outfielder Austin Cousino, junior first baseman Luke Maile, junior right fielder Cameron Flynn, senior third baseman Thomas McCarthy and sophomore shortstop Matt Reida.
UK junior left-handed starting pitcher Jerad Grundy (4-3) was charged with the loss after surrendering four runs on four hits in four and two-third innings while striking out five batters and walking four.
Mississippi State (33-21, 15-14 SEC) starter Kendall Graveman worked three and two-third innings, allowing five hits and two runs, striking out two. Nick Routt (3-6) took over for Graveman with two outs and a runner at third base in the top of the fourth inning, getting one out, allowing two hits and one walk, striking out one. Jonathan Holder tossed the ninth inning to secure his sixth save of the year.
The series will conclude on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET at Dudy Noble Field. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, available live on WLAP 630-AM in Central Kentucky, on WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville and online at UKathletics.com. UK will send sophomore southpaw Corey Littrell (8-0, 2.22 ERA), with MSU yet to announced a starting pitcher.
From UK Athletics