ATHENS, Ga. -- The Georgia Bulldogs scored 10 runs in the first five innings and Georgia senior right-hander Jeff Walters pitched a solid game in his final career collegiate contest, as the Bulldogs posted a 20-0 win over Kentucky, handing UK the loss – its eighth consecutive loss to Georgia – on Friday night at Foley Field.
The loss takes Kentucky out of contention for the Southeastern Conference tournament. UK entered the weekend with last-place Georgia standing in a four-way tie for the seventh and eighth spots in the tournament, holding its fate in its hands, owning the tiebreaker over the three tied teams. UK entered the weekend tied with Alabama, Tennessee and LSU for the final two spots in the tournament. After UK lost game one of the series and Alabama and LSU both won, with Bama besting Tennessee, UK fell to ninth after Thursday’s action. After UK fell in Friday’s game and LSU and Alabama both won, UK lost any chance of making the conference tournament. LSU and Alabama have clinched the seventh and eighth spots in the tournament.
Kentucky (30-25, 12-17 SEC) lost its eighth consecutive game to the Bulldogs, with its last win coming in 2007. Overall, Georgia has won 18 of the last 21 meetings in the series.
The shutout was the first against Kentucky since Sonny Gray and No. 20 Vanderbilt posted a 7-0 win over Kentucky in Nashville in the series opener on March 26, 2010. The 20-run loss comes just shy of a 22-run defeat in a 32-10 loss against Florida on April 4, 1998.
Georgia (16-36, 5-22 SEC) posted its first series win of the 2010 SEC season and its first back-to-back wins of the season since posting wins over Sienna on March 12 and March 13, before conference play began. The Bulldogs pounded out 20 runs on 22 hits, with every hit recorded coming as a single.
UK starter Jordan Cooper (4-5) took the loss, allowing six hits and six runs, walking two and not recording a strikeout in his two innings of action. Matt Little relieved Cooper in the third and went 2.2 innings, allowing six hits and four runs, walking three and striking out six. Braden Kapteyn relieved Little with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth and went 1.2 innings, allowing one hits and five runs, walking three and striking out two. Kyle Jackson came on for Kapteyn and got two outs, allowing eight hits and five runs. Joe Devine relieved Jackson and got the final three outs of the game for UK on the bump.
Kentucky collected a total of six hits, with Brian Adams and Andy Burns each charting two hits. Marcus Nidiffer, Keenan Wiley and Michael Williams notched the other three hits for UK.
Walters (2-6) picked up his second win of the 2010 season in his 13th start of the season, with his last win coming on April 3 at LSU. Walters went a career-high seven innings, allowing only five hits and no runs, walking five and striking out four.
The series and regular-season will conclude Saturday with a 2 p.m. ET first pitch at Foley Field. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio). Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM and in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM, in addition to coverage on UKathletics.com.
The Bulldogs jumped on Cooper in the bottom of the first inning, taking a 2-0 lead on three hits and a UK error. After Cooper got Peter Verdin to ground out on the second pitch of the game, Johnathan Taylor ripped a single up the middle, moving to second after Levi Hyams grounded out on a high chopper. Zach Cone then ripped a single into rightfield, scoring the speedy Taylor from second. Before Cooper could throw a pitch to Kyle Farmer, he attempted to pickoff Cone at first, with his throw sailing down the rightfield line, allowing Cone to scamper to third base on the two-base error. Kyle Farmer then scored Cone with a single, chopped up the middle and fielded by Black, with Black’s off-balance throw to first drawing Glad off the bag.
Georgia added two runs to stretch the lead in the bottom of the second, plating one run on two hits and a UK error. Zach Taylor led off the inning with a single ripped into left-centerfield. Zach Taylor, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound freshman, then stole second base with ease, with the throw to second base sailing into centerfield, allowing Zach Taylor to move to third base with no outs. Cooper then walked catcher Christian Glisson to put runners on the corners and bringing Kevin Ruiz to the plate. Ruiz hit a high chopper to Black at shortstop, who fielded the ball on a hop but his throw missed, allowing Ruiz to reach on a play scored a base hit, scoring Zach Taylor.
The Bulldogs added to its lead in the bottom of the third, chasing Cooper from the game. Johnathan Taylor led off the inning with a first-pitch single into leftfield and Cooper then hit Hyams to put runners on the corners. Cooper worked a 3-1 count to Cone, before UK head coach Gary Henderson had to turn to Little in what appeared in be an injury situation, with Little given all the time he needed to warm up on the mound. Little threw a ball to Cone to load the bases with one out. Little got Farmer down 0-2 then walked him to drive in a run. Little got Zach Taylor to strike out swinging on a 1-2 pitch for the first out, bringing up Glisson. Little threw a first-pitch ball to Glisson and on the next pitch, Glisson hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Hyams. On the first pitch to Ruiz, Cone and Farmer executed the double steal, putting two runners in scoring position. Little then walked Ruiz on four pitches to load the bases for Chase Davidson. After getting a first pitch strike, Davidson chopped a single up the middle to score two and stretch the Georgia lead to 7-0.
The Bulldogs added a run in the fourth, two runs in the fifth, seven runs in the seventh and three runs in the eighth.