Baseball Eliminated From SEC Tourney by Georgia
HOOVER, Ala. – The No. 7 Kentucky baseball team pounded out 10 runs on 15 hits, but it wasn’t enough against a potent Georgia offense as the Wildcats fell 16-10 Thursday in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament in Hoover, Ala.
Kentucky (42-15) began the game strong, jumping out to a 3-1 advantage by scoring in the first three innings, but couldn’t suppress the Georgia offense, allowing a season-high 22 hits. The two teams combined for an SEC Tournament-record 37 hits, shattering the 23-year old mark of 34.
Kentucky starter Craig Snipp, who six days ago struck out a career-high 11 Georgia batters in sealing the Wildcats SEC championship, took the loss to fall to 7-4. Georgia starter Brooks Brown continued his dominance in May, earning the win to improve to 7-3. Brown has never lost a game in the month of May during his career.
In the first inning UK started strong by plating one run on back-to-back doubles. Sean Coughlin ripped a double to the right-center field alley and SEC Player of the Year Ryan Strieby drove him in with a double to left. Both two baggers bounced off the way, just feet from going over the fence.
The Wildcats tacked on another run in the second, as Billy Grace reached on a line drive double over the glove of Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham. A Ryan Wilkes sacrifice bunt moved him to third and a wild pitch scored him to make it 2-0.
Georgia (39-18) snuck their way through the infield with three singles in the third to cut the Kentucky lead. Matthew Dunn reached on a base hit up the middle and advanced to third on a Jonathan Wyatt single and a fielder’s choice. Gordon Beckham drove in Wyatt with a RBI single which rolled through the infield into center field to narrow the UK lead to 2-1.
Antone DeJesus started off the bottom of the third with a lead off double to left center. He advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Collin Cowgill and scored on a wild pitch to stretch the lead to 3-1.
Georgia took the lead for good with a five-run fourth which saw the Bulldogs gain a 6-3 lead. Snipp didn’t make it out of the frame and the Wildcats used two relievers, Brock Baber and Troy Ragle, to before it was over. Snipp’s 3 1/3 innings marked his shortest outing since April 29 at Vanderbilt.
Kentucky continued its one run per inning offense to cut the Bulldog lead to 6-4 in the fourth. Grace singled and scored on a Wilkes double to left field.
Georgia extended its lead to 10-4 with a four-run inning in the fifth which included six Bulldog singles.
Ryan Strieby led off the home half of the fifth with a monstrous blast to left field for his 20th home run of the season and cut the Georgia lead to 10-5. The homer moved him into a third-place tie for home runs in UK single-season history.
Georgia continued to pile on the runs in the seveth as Wyatt scored on a fielder’s choice and Morris and Beckham came in to score on a Jacobs single to push the Bulldog lead to 13-5
Kentucky cut the Georgia deficit to 16-10 in the seventh with a two RBI blast off the bat of John Shelby. The blast scored Coughlin, who had reached on a walk. The home run marked Shelby’s 17th home run of the season.
Georgia plated three more runs in the top of the ninth for the final margin 16-7.
Kentucky went down swinging in the ninth squeezing three more runs across the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Pinch hitters Brian Hastings doubled and Strieby reached on an error. Mike Brown doubled both home and a Wilkes sac fly plated Matt McKinney, who walked.
Kentucky now awaits its fate from the NCAA Tournament selection committee. The 16 NCAA Tournament Regional sites will be announced Sunday at 3:30 on ESPN News. The 64-team field will be announced Monday at 12:30 on ESPN.
Ryan Strieby hit his league leading 21st double of the season … His 21st double ties Strieby for fifth in school history, the most since 1998 … Kentucky knocked in eight doubles in the game which brings the season total to 139 which is second best in school annals … The eight doubles marks the seventh time this season that Kentucky has recorded five or more doubles … Kentucky’s eight doubles is a school SEC Tournament record … Antone DeJesus ripped his 14th and 15th double … Sean Coughlin knocked his 12th double in the first inning … Strieby hit his 20th home run of the season, which ties him for third in school history … Strieby has homered in six of his last nine games … Kentucky gave up a season-high 22 hits … John Shelby hit his 17th home run of the season … UK used a season-high nine pitchers … The 37 hits marks the most combined hits in an SEC Tournament game.