LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Eighth-ranked Kentucky rallied with three runs in the eighth inning and got a four-hit game from junior second baseman J.T. Riddle but Georgia utilized seven runs over the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to post a 7-6 series-evening win, on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (20-6, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) and Georgia were locked in a scoreless pitching duel through the top of the fourth, before UK got a two-out run in the bottom of the frame for a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs rallied with two runs in the fifth inning, highlights by Farmer’s go-ahead, two-out RBI into the right-centerfield gap. Georgia added two runs in the sixth and four in the seventh for the final margin.
UK collected 12 hits in the game, including multiple-hit performances from Riddle, Kyle Barrett and A.J. Reed. Riddle led UK with a 4-for-5 game at the dish, with Reed going 3-for-4 and Barrett adding a 2-for-4 game to extend his hitting streak to a club-high seven games. Riddle appeared to nearly tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, launching a laser that hit just a foot to the right of sailing over the fence in rightfield, instead bouncing off the top of the wall for a double.
UK also got doubles from Matt Reida, Austin Cousino and Paul McConkey, with catcher Micheal Thomas driving in two RBI and Zac Zellers recording a two-out RBI knock.
UK twice found itself in great scoring chances early in the tilt, loading the bases with no outs in the second inning without scoring, and loading the bases with one out in the fourth and scrapping out a run on a two-out hit by pitch from Thomas. UK got two runs in the sixth and three runs in the eighth inning, with all three runs in the eighth coming with clutch two-out hitting.
Georgia (10-18, 1-7 SEC) got a solid start from left-hander Patrick Boling (2-3), who worked 5.2 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs – two earned – walking three and striking out four. Blake Dieterich took over in the sixth, working 1.1 shutout innings. Heath Holder got two outs in the eighth with Dylan Cole picking up his first save of the year with the final 1.1 innings.
UK senior Jerad Grundy (5-2) suffered the loss in the start, working 5.1 innings, allowing five hits and four runs – two earned – walking a career-high five and striking out four. Sophomore right-hander Chandler Shepherd took over in a one-out jam in the sixth, allowing both of the runners to score on the Grundy pitching line. Shepherd worked one inning, allowing three hits and two runs.
UK then used four freshmen in their SEC debuts to work into the ninth. Southpaw Dylan Dwyer took over in the seventh, hitting the one batter he faced with it scoring, with Zach Strecker then got an out and allowing a hit and a walk. Kyle Cody tossed one inning, allowing a hit and striking out two, with Ryne Combs getting the first out in the ninth. Senior Walter Wijas got the final two outs in the ninth.
The series will conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with Dick Gabriel 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. UK will start junior southpaw Corey Littrell (3-2, 2.56 ERA) vs. Georgia senior right-hander Bryan Benzor (1-1, 5.57 ERA).