Baseball Plates 22 Runs in Series-Clinching Win at MSU

April 19, 2009

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STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Kentucky exploded for a season-high 22 runs on 22 hits, freshmen Andy Burns and Chad Wright each scored at least five runs at the top of the order and Chris Bisson added a career-high six RBI, as the Wildcats posted a dominating 22-17 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs to clinch the Southeastern Conference series, Sunday at Dudy Noble Field.

Hitting in the first two spots in the order, UK’s freshmen duo were dynamic, with both Burns and Wright reaching in all seven plate appearances. Wright finished 4-for-5 with a RBI and two doubles, drawing two walks and scoring five times, while Burns batted 3-for-4 with three walks, a double and two RBI.

Bisson, a native of Orleans, Ontario, led the team with six RBI on a 3-for-5 game, with his second homer of the year. Bisson’s six RBI marked the first time for a UK player since 2008 first-team All-American Sawyer Carroll totaled six RBI against Ole Miss on May 15, 2008. Bisson, a sophomore second baseman, entered the game ranking second in the SEC in average and finished the contest hitting .401 with a team-best 41 RBI. Bisson, who had a career long 15-game hitting streak earlier in the year, extended his hitting streak to a team-high eight games, with all eight games coming in multi-hit performances.

Gunner Glad and Keenan Wiley each totaled three RBI, with Wiley going 3-for-5 and Glad 2-for-6 at the plate. Chris Wade and Chris McClendon each tallied multi-hit games, with McClendon going 2-for-5 with two RBI and Wade 3-for-5 with two RBI. Each UK starter contributed a hit, with the exception of Marcus Nidiffer, who did tally an RBI. Bryan Rose was the only UK starter to not chart an RBI, with Rose going 2-for-5 with two runs and a double.

Kentucky (21-17, 6-12 SEC) got its first series win in Starkville since the 1998 season, with the series win coming on MSU’s Super Bulldog Weekend, an annual event that draws the typically largest crowds of the year for the Bulldogs. UK won game one Friday night 5-4 in 11 innings, before falling in front of over 10,000 fans Saturday in 10 innings, 4-3. The Wildcats scored run in eight of nine innings, plating multiple runs in all but two innings.

UK starter Alex Meyer lasted 4.2 innings, allowing five runs – four earned – walking two and striking out seven. Clint Tilford relieved Meyer and allowed one inherited runner to score, going 1.1 innings, before handing the ball over to Logan Darnell. Darnell (4-3) got the win, going two innings, with freshman Braden Kapteyn going the final inning.

The Wildcats wasted no time chasing MSU starter Ricky Bowen from the game, as Bowen didn’t get two outs in the game, getting only one out and allowing one hit, three runs, walking two in 16 pitches. Bowen took the loss, falling to 2-3 on the year. MSU used seven total pitchers in the game, including two outfielders on the mound for the eighth and ninth frames.

UK returns to action with a pair of midweek games next week at Cliff Hagan Stadium. UK will welcome Lipscomb Tuesday and Evansville Wednesday, with both games slated for a 6:30 p.m. ET start time. Both games can be heard live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action.

Kentucky started the game strong, plating four runs on two hits in the top of the first inning. Wright and Burns led off the game with full-count walks and Bisson extended his hitting streak to eight games with an RBI single into left field, scoring Wright. Wade drew a walk to load the bases and Wiley ripped a hard-hit single into center field, enabling Burns to score. McClendon followed and drilled a line-drive single up the middle, just off the glove of MSU’s second baseman, Jet Butler, scoring Bisson. With the bases still loaded, Nidiffer lofted a two-strike pitch into center field for a sacrifice fly.

Mississippi State (20-20, 6-12 SEC) got two runs back in the bottom of the first, as Grant Hogue drew a walk to lead off. After Meyer got Luke Adkins and Ryan Duffy out, Meyer battled clean-up hitter Connor Powers to a full-count. Powers got the pitch he wanted and belted a two-run homer over the left-center field fence.

The Wildcats responded with three runs on four hits in the second inning. Wright led off with a double into the right-center field gap and Burns singled to the opposite field. With Wright at third, Bisson grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice, but an error on the MSU shortstop, allowed Burns to scamper to third. Glad took advantage, scoring Burns on an RBI fielder’s choice. Wade followed and beat out an infield single and Wiley notched his second RBI in as many plate appearances, a hard-hit single into left field.

The Bulldogs narrowed the UK lead with two runs on three hits in the bottom of the second. Butler led off with a perfect bunt single down the third base line and Scott DeLoach singled through the left side of the infield, just out of reach of McClendon diving into the hole. After a passed ball moved both runners into scoring position, Meyer responded and got two strikeouts swinging. However, with Butler at third, Nidiffer again had a passed ball, allowing Butler to score. Luke Adkins, who worked a 13-pitch at bat his first time up, singled up the middle to score DeLoach for the second run of the inning.

UK stretched its lead with two runs on two hits and a MSU error in the fourth. Burns led off with a hard-hit infield single and Bisson notched his eighth consecutive multi-hit game, moving Burns to third. Glad drove in Burns with a sacrifice fly into right field. After Bisson swiped his 10th bag of the year to move to second, an errant pick-off attempt from Houston allowed Bisson to score from second.

In the top of the fifth, UK notched two runs on two hits, extending its lead to 11-4. McClendon led off working an eight-pitch at bat for a walk, moving to second on a hit and run with Bryan Rose, who grounded out. Wright scored McClendon with a single up the middle, his 12th RBI of the season. After Wright stole his fifth bag of the year, Burns doubled off the wall down the left-field line, scoring Wright.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, MSU narrowed the UK lead to 11-5 win a run on two hits, chasing Meyer from the game but leaving the bases loaded. Ryan Duffy led off with a single and after Connor Powers popped out, Russ Sneed grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Duffy out on the play. Butler charted his third hit of the game and DeLoach got hit by a pitch to load the bags and chase Meyer. UK turned to Tilford, who immediately walked in a run, but got Ryan Collins to ground out to end the threat.

Kentucky tallied a run in the top of the sixth, as Wade reached on a one-out single up the middle, moving to second after a throwing error on the MSU second baseman. Wiley grounded out to move Wade to third and McClendon scored Wade with an RBI single, his second of the game. 

In the bottom of the sixth, MSU got two runs back, making it 12-7 UK. After Tilford got the lead-off man to strikeout, Adkins singled up the middle and Duffy doubled down the line to score Adkins, with Duffy moving up to third on a throwing error. With Duffy at third, Sneed singled up the middle to score Duffy with the unearned run.

UK got four runs on three hits in the top of the seventh, making it 16-7 Wildcats. Bryan Rose led off with a walk and Wright and Burns each drew their second walks of the game to load the bags for Bisson. Bisson hit a laser into the left-center field gap, scoring Rose. Glad loaded the bags again with a single into center field and Wade scored two with a single into center field, his third hit of the game. Wiley notched his third RBI with a single through the right side.

MSU got three runs on three hits in the bottom half of the seventh, as Tilford allowed the first two runners he faced to reach, walking Frank Rawdow walked and Ryan Collins singled. Hogue notched an RBI single through the left side and Jason Nappi scored two with a single through the left side.

UK got three more runs in the eighth, as Rose led off with a single to left and Wright doubled to center field, his second double of the game. Burns drew his third walk of the game and Bisson contributed his second straight sacrifice fly, a line drive to center field. Glad followed and singled in two runs, getting an RBI for scoring Wright, with Burns hustling from first on an error charged to the center fielder.

In the top of the ninth, UK got three runs on three hits – highlighted by Bisson’s home run. In the bottom of the ninth, MSU got six runs for the final margin, 22-17.