Kentucky Baseball Wins Series With 3-0 Shutout Of Ole Miss
April 2, 2000
LEXINGTON, Kty. - University of Kentucky freshman Mark Michael shut out Ole Miss over 8-2/3 innings in his first career Southeastern Conference start as the Wildcats took the series finale from the Rebels, 3-0, on Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
With their 6-5 win from Friday, Sunday's victory earned the Wildcats (24-6, 5-6 SEC) their second consecutive series win after also taking two-of-three games from Tennessee last weekend. The Cats now find themselves in a strong position in the SEC Eastern Division by moving into fourth place after play this weekend heading into next weekend's home series with the third place Florida Gators (22-14, 7-5 SEC).
The five-hit performance by Michael (4-0) ended a streak of 13 straight games in which Wildcat pitchers allowed nine or more hits. Michael, who entered the game with the fifth-best ERA in the SEC at 1.84, came out of the game with a 1.42 ERA in the most dominant pitching performance by a UK hurler this season. The combined shutout stands as UK's first in SEC play this season, but fourth overall with Michael being involved in two of them.
Michael, who struck out a career-high seven hitters, threw 144 pitches in his longest outing of the season. The longest previous outing for Michael was five innings in his collegiate debut, an 11-0 whitewashing of Howard on Feb. 13. Michael, who induced 12 fly-ball outs with nine going to center fielder Beau Moore, did not allow a single base runner to reach third base until the ninth inning when Ole Miss (17-13, 5-6 SEC) notched two hits in an inning for the only time in the game.
With runners on second and third and two out in the ninth, Breck Price relieved Michael and got the last out on a ground ball as third baseman Vince Harrison made a nice diving play to his left. The save was Price's team-leading fourth of the season.
Facing the threat of rain, Kentucky took a 1-0 lead off right-handed starter Joey Cramblitt in the fifth as Jeff Meade bunted home Price who had doubled.
The Cats added another tally in the sixth on consecutive singles by Aaron McGlone, John Wilson and Robert Newton. After a double steal by Wilson and Newton put runners on second and third with one out, an argument ensued between the UK coaching staff and the umpires when the Rebels attempted the hidden-ball trick at third base while the pitcher was standing on the mound. UK Coach Keith Madison was subsequently ejected for arguing a called strike three on a check-swing by Harrison with umpire John Kramer making the call from second base. Third base coach Jan Weisberg was ejected by Kramer in the ninth inning for questioning balls and strikes.
Cramblitt (3-5) held the Cats hitless for the first 3-2/3 innings, but was knocked from the game after one hitter in the seventh after allowing UK's seventh hit of the afternoon on a double by Seth Morris.
UK scored an insurance run off reliever Joseph Liberto in the eighth as Wilson collected his third hit of the game, moved over to second on a ground-out by Newton and scored on a line-drive single up the middle by Harrison.
Second baseman Andy Green saw his career-high 18-game hitting streak end as he went hitless for just the second time in 30 games this season.
The Wildcats will put their 21-game non-conference winning streak on the line on March 5 at Hagan Stadium when they play host to Tennessee Tech (12-13). UK is 19-0 versus non-SEC opponents this season heading into the 4 p.m. EST start, Wednesday against the Golden Eagles.