Brown, Homers from Hairston, Tom Power Baseball to Opening Win
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Zack Brown worked at least six innings for the eighth consecutive start and Kentucky got home runs from Dorian Hairston and Ka'ai Tom, leading the Wildcats to a 6-2 win over Georgia in the series opener, on a pleasant Friday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (27-21, 12-12 Southeastern Conference) opened up the series with the win, getting a three-run homer from Hairston in the third and a blast from Tom in the fifth inning. UK then rode the start from Brown into the seventh inning, before turning it over to the bullpen, which got a pair of inning-ending double plays to escape bases-loaded jams in each the seventh and eighth innings.
Brown (6-5) worked 6.1 innings, allowing nine hits and two runs, walking one and striking out six. Brown started 15 runners with first-pitch strikes while working at least six innings for his eighth consecutive start. A native of Seymour, Ind., Brown retired seven consecutive hitters from the second to the fourth innings, working around extra-base hits to lead off the fifth and sixth innings.
The Wildcats turned to lefty Logan Salow with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh inning in relief of Brown. Salow induced a 5-2-3 double play to escape the inning, with the sophomore now stranding 34 of the 45 runners he has inherited in his career. Salow worked an inning, allowing a hit and walk, striking out one. Zach Strecker came on and loaded the bases with a first-pitch single, before getting a double play to escape the inning. Strecker worked the ninth inning to pick up his first career save in his 56th relief outing with 1.2 shutout frames.
UK charted 12 hits in the game, led by a career-high tying four-hit outing from centerfielder Kyle Barrett. Barrett added a two-out, two-RBI double in the sixth inning to give UK a four-run lead. UK got the fourth homer of the year from each Hairston and Tom, with Hairston's blast giving UK a lead it would not surrender in the third inning. Hairston has his first three career game-winning RBI in UK's last four wins.
The Wildcats also got two hits from Tom and Storm Wilson, with Evan White, Greg Fettes and Connor Heady each adding hits.
Georgia (22-26, 7-17 SEC) starter David Sosebee (3-3) worked 5.2 innings, allowing nine hits and six runs, walking three and striking out seven. With two outs in the sixth, Taylor Hicks came on in relief, tossing 1.1 perfect innings with one strikeout. Mike Mancuso took over to start the eighth inning, working around three hits.
The series will resume on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats mounted a two-out rally in the third inning to take a three-run lead. Barrett led off with a single up the middle, taking second on White's first career sacrifice bunt. Tom then spanked a single through the right side to put runners on the corners. After a strikeout for the second out, Hairston delivered a no-doubt blast over the left-centerfield fence, his fourth of the year.
Georgia answered in the fifth inning, as Jared Walsh doubled off the wall in rightfield, just missing a home run. After a groundout to the right side pushed him to third base, Mitchell Webb singled to centerfield to score Walsh.
Tom launched his fourth homer of the year with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, giving UK a 4-1 lead.
Skyler Weber belted his third home run of the year to leadoff the sixth inning, his third of the year, cutting UK's lead to 4-2.
The Wildcats scored a pair of two-out runs in the sixth inning, as Wilson led off with an infield hit and Heady drew a two-out walk. Barrett then drove a double down the leftfield line, just inside the fair line, scoring the duo for a 6-2 lead.