LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Locked in a pitching duel through the first four innings, No. 10 Ole Miss struck for a eight runs in the fifth inning to take a commanding lead, holding on for a 9-3 win over No. 1 Kentucky, ending UK’s school-record 21-game home winning streak and evening up the three-game series, on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (29-3, 8-3 Southeastern Conference) suffered its first loss of the 2012 season at Cliff Hagan Stadium, as the Rebels broke open a pitching duel with a seven-run inning in the fifth, including a grand slam from Matt Snyder. The loss ends UK’s school-record 21-game home winning streak, as the Wildcats fell to 21-1 on the year at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
UK starter Jerad Grundy (3-1) suffered his first career loss, working 4.2 innings, allowing five hits and six runs, walking three and striking out three. He was working a one-hitter into the fifth inning before allowing four Ole Miss hits and a grand slam to end his inning in the fifth. Walter Wijas took over and allowed two hits and one walk without getting an out, allowing two runs. Freshman A.J. Reed worked 2.1 innings, allowing three hits and one run, striking out two without allowing a walk. Freshman Jeff Boehm took over for Reed in the eighth inning, tossing a shutout inning, with freshman right-hander Taylor Martin tossing the ninth inning.
The Wildcats collected 10 hits in the game, as Reed led UK in the contest, going 3-for-4, with his third homer of the year. UK also got hits from Austin Cousino, Luke Maile, Thomas McCarthy, Cameron Flynn and Zac Zellers, with McCarthy launching his fifth homer of the year in the sixth inning to put UK on the board, later adding a double.
Ole Miss (21-9, 6-5 SEC) starter Mike Mayers (3-2) picked up the win in his seventh start of the year, tossing 7.1 strong innings, allowing eight hits and three runs, walking one and striking out just one. Chris Ellis took over for Mayers in the eighth inning, working the finale 1.2 innings.
The series will conclude on Sunday, with first pitch at Cliff Hagan Stadium slated for 1 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with fans in Lexington able to tune into the game on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com. UK will send sophomore southpaw Corey Littrell (4-0, 1.88 ERA) to the mound to face Ole Miss standout senior right-hander R.J. Hively (3-1, 1.71 ERA).
With a runner on first and no outs in the top of the first Cousino ended the Rebels first half of the inning with a diving catch in right center. Cousino continued his fast start when he stepped up to the plate with a line drive base hit up the middle on the first pitch from Mayers. The Wildcats followed with three straight line outs and the first inning ended scoreless.
The game began as a pitching duel between Grundy and Mayers as both teams recorded just one hit combined through the first three innings.
Ole Miss threatened in the top of the fourth after a diving play by shortstop Reida to retire the first batter of the top of the third. Alex Yarbrough claimed the first hit of the afternoon for the Rebels with a base hit to left field. Snyder reached first on a hit by pitch to give the Rebels runners on first and second with one out. Grundy forced a fly out to left field before allowing Yarbrough to advance to third on a wild pitch. With runners on first and third and two outs, Grundy buckled down and struck out Preston Overbey to end the inning, holding Ole Miss scoreless through four.
The action came in the top of the fifth as Mistone led off the inning for Ole Miss with a double down the third baseline. Mistone advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Kirksey before scoring the first run of the ball game on a wild pitch by Grundy. Mathis walked with one out and on a swinging strike out of Bousfield, the Ole Miss baserunners stole third and second to leave two baserunners in scoring position with two outs. After a Yarbrough intentional walk to load the bases, Snyder cranked a grand slam over the rightfield wall to give Ole Miss a 5-0 lead in the top of the fifth. A single following the grand slam led to the first call to the bullpen, bringing Wijas in to replace Grundy on the mound. Overbey stepped up for the Rebels and hit a single up the middle before Mistone hit a double down the rightfield line to score Allen and Overbey. Wijas walked Kirksey and Reed took the hill for the Wildcats. On Reed’s second pitch of the day, Anderson singled up the middle to score Mistone from second. Reed got the Wildcats out of the fifth inning but not before the Rebels took an 8-0 lead after an eight run inning.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, Snyder hit his second home run of the day with a ball just over the wall in leftfield. After a single by Anderson, Cousino got the Wildcats out of the inning with a second diving catch in right center keeping the Rebels lead at 9-0.
Two outs in the bottom of the sixth, McCarthy got the Wildcats on the scoreboard with a solo blast over the left center wall. The Wildcats trailed 9-1 through six.
Flynn and Zellers started Kentucky’s seventh off with consecutive singles to give Kentucky baserunners on first and second with no outs. Flynn advanced to third on a deep fly ball to center by Riddle but the Wildcats weren’t able to take advantage of the early baserunners and left the seventh still trailing 9-1.
With one out in the bottom of the eighth, McCarthy drilled a double to right field. One pitch later, Reed hit his third home run of the year with a blast over the right field wall. As Kentucky tightened the lead to 9-3, Ole Miss made its first call to the bullpen, bringing Ellis in to replace starter Mayers. Ellis would get the Rebels out of the inning, maintaining a 9-3 lead.
GAME NOTES: Freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino has now reached base safely in 30 of his 31 career games … Starter Jerad Grundy allowed his first career home run in the fifth inning, a grand slam … UK had its school-record 21 game home winning streak snapped, eclipsing the previous school record of 16 consecutive wins at Cliff Hagan in 2006 and 2007 … Thomas McCarthy hit his fifth homer of the year … McCarthy doubled for the eighth time in 2012, before A.J. Reed hit his third homer of the season … Taylor Martin and Jeff Boehm made their first career SEC pitching appearances … Michael Williams had his team-leading eight-game hitting streak snapped.