ATHENS, Ga. -- A.J. Reed worked eight shutout innings for his 10th win of the year and collected four hits at the plate, leading Kentucky to a 13-0 rout of Georgia, clinching UK’s third consecutive berth in the Southeastern Conference Tournament, on Thursday night in front of 2,003 at Foley Field.
Kentucky (31-21, 13-15 SEC) clinched its third consecutive SEC Tournament berth with the win, with UK’s seeding potential ranging from No. 6 to No. 11. The Wildcats have only been to three consecutive SEC Tournaments once in program history, from 1991-94. The Tournament starts on Tuesday in Hoover, Ala., at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
Reed (10-2) continued to solidify his role as one of the top players in college baseball history, working eight shutout innings, allowing three singles and two walks, striking out three. A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed allowed just a two-out walk in the second and eighth innings, and one-out singles in the third and fourth innings, also working around a two-out single in the sixth. Reed retired 14 of the final 16 hitters he faced, starting the game by retiring five consecutive hitters.
With 10 wins, Reed became the fifth player in school history to reach double-digit wins and the first since Greg Dombrowski went 10-2 during UK’s 2006 SEC Championship season. Reed is now tied with Dombrowski and Matthew Coleman (1987) for third in UK single-season history in wins. On the year, Reed leads the SEC with his 10-2 mark, owning a 2.11 ERA in 14 innings, working 98 innings and striking out 66. In his three-year career, Reed has 17 wins and a 2.88 ERA – the fourth-best in UK history – working 234 innings and striking out 169.
At the plate, Reed went 4-for-6 with a double and two RBI, as UK’s top four in the batting order combined to go 11-for- 21 with 12 RBI in the rout. On the year, Reed – who leads the NCAA in homers (21), slugging (.763) and OPS (1.255) – has hit .353 with 13 doubles, one triple and an SEC-leading 65 RBI, also pacing the circuit with 41 walks.
The Wildcats entered the fifth inning in a scoreless game, before getting single runs in the fifth and sixth innings for a two-run advantage. UK then exploded for five in the seventh, four in the eighth and two runs in the ninth inning for the final margin, a 13-0 win.
Reed and Max Kuhn helped lead the UK attack at the plate, with Kuhn going 4-for-5 with four RBI and two doubles. UK also got a two-hit game from Ka’ai Tom, who belted his second homer of the year, and two-hit games from Matt Reida and Micheal Thomas. All nine UK starters collected hits, with Austin Cousino going 1-for-5 with three RBI and a double. Thomas Bernal, Storm Wilson, JaVon Shelby and Dorian Hairston each added hits.
Sophomore righty Taylor Martin took over to start the ninth inning, working a perfect frame to clinch the win for the Wildcats, striking out one.
Georgia (25-27-1, 10-17-1 SEC) starter Ryan Lawlor (4-6) worked 6.1 innings, allowing 11 hits and six runs – five earned – walking none and striking out two. Heath Holder came on to get the final two outs in the seventh, allowing a homer. Drew Moody took over to start the eighth inning, working the final two innings, allowing seven hits and six runs, striking out one.
The series will resume on Friday at 7 p.m. ET at Foley Field. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
Kentucky got on the board first in the top of the fifth inning, as Thomas doubled into the right-centerfield gap, his eighth double of the year. Reida then followed, turning on a double down the rightfield line, scoring Thomas for a 1-0 lead.
The Wildcats added a run in the top of the sixth inning, as Kuhn led off with a single to rightfield, taking second on a wild pitch. Reed then smacked a single down the leftfield line, his third hit to the left side of the time in the game, scoring Kuhn for a 2-0 UK lead.
UK plated five runs in the top of the seventh inning to take a 7-0 lead. After a groundout started the inning, Shelby singled to the leftfield grass. Cousino was then hit by his career-record 46th career pitch to bring up Kuhn. Kuhn drilled a two-RBI double into the right-centerfield gap, giving UK a 4-0 lead. Georgia then elected to face Reed with first base open and one out, with Reed smashing a full-count pitch to rightfield to score Kuhn. Tom followed and belted his second homer of the year over the right-centerfield fence, giving UK a 7-0 lead.
The Wildcats added to their lead in the eighth inning, as Thomas led off with a single, taking third on a throwing error, which allowed Reida to reach with no outs. After a strikeout, Cousino doubled down the leftfield line, scoring Thomas and Reida. Kuhn then bashed a double over the head of the centerfielder, with Cousino scoring from second base for a 10-run UK lead. Tom then singled into shallow centerfield, scoring Kuhn.
UK plated two runs in the ninth inning for a 13-0 lead. Hairston singled with one out as a pinch hitter, with Reida singling through the right side. Cousino then forced in Hairston with a RBI fielder’s choice and Reida scored on Kuhn’s fourth hit of the night.