COLUMBIA, Mo. - Junior Corey Littrell worked his ninth quality start to win his 21st career game and Kentucky got a three-run homer in the ninth from freshman Zack Storm, posting a 5-1 win at Missouri to conclude the regular season, on Saturday afternoon at Taylor Stadium.
Kentucky (30-24, 11-19 Southeastern Conference) battled the Tigers in the series finale and regular-season finale on Saturday, with UK getting single runs in the fourth and sixth, allowing a lone Missouri run in the fifth inning. Storm, a native of London, Ky., gave UK a four-run lead with his first career home run as a three-run job in the ninth inning.
Littrell (6-5) worked seven innings, allowing six hits and one run, walking four and striking out seven. It marked his ninth quality start of the year and the 23rd of his decorated three-year career. Littrell now has 21 career wins in his career, taking sole possession of sixth place in UK history and sits just three wins shy of the program mark.
UK sophomore Chandler Shepherd worked a shutout eighth inning for his fifth hold of the year. Shepherd worked six hitless innings in three appearances on the week, allowing just a two-out walk on Saturday. Junior Trevor Gott took over in the ninth, getting the final three outs.
UK collected 13 hits in the game, getting a three-hit game from junior J.T. Riddle and two-hit games from Paul McConkey, Zac Zellers and Micheal Thomas. UK also got hits from Matt Reida – starting in leadoff for the first time in his career – A.J. Reed, Kyle Barrett and Storm.
Missouri (18-31, 10-20 SEC) starter Griffin Goodrich worked four innings, allowing five hits and one run, not issuing a walk and striking out one. John Miles (0-3) worked 1.1 innings, allowing three hits and one run, striking out two. Breckin Williams, Ryan Phillips and Jace James worked in relief.
UK will return to action at the SEC Tournament, starting on Tuesday in Hoover, Ala., at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. It will mark the first back-to-back appearances in the SEC Tournament for the Wildcats since 1998-99, as UK fell in the tourney semifinals in 2012, the best finish in UK history. UK will open the tournament for the second consecutive year, playing the opener at 10:30 a.m. ET against the No. 6 seed.
UK got on the board in the top of the fourth inning, as Riddle reached on a one-out single and Zellers singled into centerfield. McConkey then smashed a RBI single up the middle to score Riddle from second base.
Missouri rallied in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Jake Ivory doubled on a one-hopper off the wall in left-centerfield with one out. After a groundout, Littrell walked Dillon Everett on four pitches. Josh Lester then doubled down the rightfield line to score Ivory with the tying run.
UK took a 2-1 lead on four hits in the sixth, starting with a single into centerfield from Reed. After a pop out, Zellers and McConkey singled to load the bases with one out for Thomas. Thomas singled through the left side to score Reed and give UK an advantage.
UK stretched its lead to 5-1 in the ninth inning, as Thomas led off with a double down the leftfield line, taking third on a single from Barrett off the bench. Storm then smashed his first career home run off the videoboard in left-centerfield, giving UK a 5-1 lead.