Corey Littrell struck out a career-high nine in seven innings, and Trevor Gott tied a program record with his 15th career save in No. 7 Kentucky's 3-1 win over Michigan State at Cliff Hagan Stadium on Sunday.
Littrell (2-0) allowed four hits and one run in seven innings, walking one. The series-clinching victory was nothing new to the junior left-hander from Trinity. In eight rubber-game starts over the last two seasons, Littrell is 6-0 with a 2.89 ERA.
"I love Sundays, especially coming in when the series is tied," Littrell said. "The team has confidence in me and I have confidence in myself to go out and pitch the way I did. Luckily, the bats came through and we got the win."
Freshman Kyle Barrett doubled and scored on J.T. Riddle's single in the fifth inning to give Kentucky (13-2) a 1-0 lead, and Paul McConkey delivered a two-run double in the sixth to make it 3-0.
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Kevin Goergen drove in Michigan State's only run with a single in the seventh inning.
Kentucky's Walter Wijas and Gott each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
Gott's 15th career save tied him with Lorhn Frazier (1990-93) for the most in UK history. The junior right-hander from Tates Creek has not allowed a run in any of his saves. Gott has a 2.52 ERA in 53 relief appearances.
"They literally just told me that I tied (the record), I had no idea," said Gott, who has four saves this season. "I thought it would be a lot more than 15, but it is an honor."
Littrell won the final pitching duel in a series in which a total of 14 runs were scored in three games. Mick VanVossen (0-1) allowed six hits and three runs without a walk in 52⁄3 innings for Michigan State (6-7), a team that won 37 games last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
"It did feel a little bit like an SEC series," UK Coach Gary Henderson said. "Coming down to the Sunday, a 3-1 ball game and really good pitching pretty much all weekend."
Kentucky has home games Tuesday against Ohio and Wednesday against Cincinnati before traveling to Florida for a three-game series to open league play.
Ohio at Kentucky
When: 4 p.m.