Cats Fall to Hogs 2-0 in First Game of Doubleheader

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Junior right-hander Dustin Beggs pitched seven strong innings, but the Kentucky baseball team lost to the Arkansas Razorbacks 2-0 in the first game of a Southeastern Conference doubleheader on Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Playing the first of two seven-inning games, Beggs (7-1) went the distance for the Wildcats, allowing just five hits and two earned runs, walking one and striking out one. After winning his first seven decisions on the season, Beggs picked up his first loss of the season on Saturday. Ironically, Beggs pitched his first career complete game in the contest.

Beggs’ effort was matched by that of Arkansas pitcher Zach Jackson, who also pitched all seven innings. Jackson (3-4) allowed no runs, just two hits, walked three and struck out seven.

Kentucky (23-15, 9-8 SEC) threatened to score in the second inning, with junior JaVon Shelby drawing a one-out walk. Shelby stole second as sophomore Tyler Marshall struck out, but the throw from Arkansas catcher Tucker Pennell went into center field, allowing Shelby to advance to third base. But he was stranded there as senior Dorian Hairston struck out to end the inning.

Neither team had a hit through three innings. However, Arkansas (24-15, 6-11) broke through in the fourth inning, scoring twice. Carson Shaddy led off the frame with a single and advanced to second on Hairston’s error in right field. Luke Bonfield then doubled down the left field line to score Shaddy. Bonfield advanced to third on a Michael Bernal ground out, then scored when Chad Spanberger grounded out to second base, making it 2-0 Razorbacks.

Kentucky got its first hit of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning when sophomore Riley Mahan singled through the right side with two outs, but Mahan was stranded at first when Shelby struck out. 

Mahan also had Kentucky’s only other hit, a double in the seventh inning that set the table for the Wildcats to have their best scoring opportunity of the day. Mahan’s double, combined with walks to Marshall and Hairston allowed Kentucky to load the bases with two outs. Arkansas forced freshman Tristan Pompey to fly out to center field to end the game.

The two teams will meet in the back end of the doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.