Early Innings Doom Wildcats in Rubber-Match Loss at Arkansas
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Arkansas plated four runs in the first three innings to jump out to an early lead and Keaton McKinney tossed a complete-game, five-hitter to post a 7-3 win over Kentucky in the series rubber match, on Sunday afternoon in front of 7,578 at Baum Stadium.
After Kentucky rallied to even the series with a 12-run win on Saturday, the Razorbacks jumped on UK preseason All-America starter Kyle Cody (2-4) in the early innings to build a lead they would not surrender. Arkansas plated a run in the first and chased Cody in the third inning with a three-run frame, holding on to secure the series. Arkansas then broke through in the eighth inning with three runs, before UK spoiled the shutout in the ninth with three tallies.
Kentucky (19-15, 5-9 Southeastern Conference) was limited to five hits, highlighted by a homer from JaVon Shelby, his second straight game with a blast. UK also got hits from Evan White, Thomas Bernal and Connor Heady.
Cody, who entered the season as the 19th-best prospect available for the 2015 MLB Draft, worked 2.2 innings, allowing six hits and four runs, walking two and striking out two. Freshman lefty Zach Logue came on in relief with two outs in the third inning, escaping the jam to strand a runner. Logue turned in a gem in relief, allowing only three hits and two runs in 4.2 innings, with Taylor Martin and Spencer Jack working the ninth.
McKinney (2-1) picked up the win with a dominating outing. McKinney worked nine innings, allowing five hits and three runs, walking one and striking out five.
UK will return to action on Tuesday, hosting Western Kentucky at 6:30 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game will be live on SEC Network+, with Dick Gabriel and Keith Madison voicing the action. The game will also be on the UK Radio Network.
Arkansas (20-16, 7-8 SEC) jumped on top in the first, as Clark Eagan led off with a single off the glove of Cody, reaching to his left. Joe Serrano then drew a four-pitch walk and Benintendi singled to leftfield to score Eagan. Cody then settled down to get two outs, working around an hit batter to escape the frame.
The Razorbacks added to their lead in the third inning, as Tyler Spoon singled with one out. After the second out, Bobby Wernes drew a full-count walk and Rick Nomura singled up the middle. Bernal then ended Cody's outing with a double off the base of the wall in right-centerfield, scoring two and giving Arkansas a 4-0 lead. Logue then came on to get a strikeout to escape the frame.
Arkansas opened the eighth with a homer from Tyler Spoon, adding two more runs.
UK got on the board in the ninth inning, as Heady led off with a single, with White adding a knock and Shelby belting a two-run homer, his fourth of the year.