UK Baseball

Georgia hands UK baseball 7th straight loss

From the outside looking in, Kentucky baseball seems to be in a world of hurt.

Joey Lewis led off the ninth inning with a homer as visiting Georgia completed a three-game sweep of the Wildcats with a 5-4 win Sunday.

The loss was UK's seventh in a row and sixth straight in the Southeastern Conference.

From the inside looking out, the Cats are confident that better days are ahead.

"We were one hit away (from big innings) several times. And while we didn't get that hit when we needed it today, I was really pleased with the competitiveness of our club," Coach Gary Henderson said. "Sometimes that may sound trite. But at a certain level, the competitiveness of your club is everything. And if we keep competing like we did today, it's going to turn for us."

Georgia (29-6, 11-4 SEC), already atop the SEC East, moved into first overall, half a game up on Arkansas.

"Now we've just got to grind it out. That's what real tough teams do," said Chris Bisson, who had three of UK's 10 hits. "Our record (18-16, 4-11 SEC) doesn't really show what we can do in the SEC. We could easily be .500 or better. We're a really good team. We have great starting pitching. We have guys that battle every at-bat. But right now the ball's just not falling for us."

UK left 10 runners on base Sunday and 33 for the series.

Bisson was stranded at second in the first inning and at third in both the seventh and ninth innings.

In the seventh, a two-out diving catch by left fielder Lyle Allen robbed Keenan Wiley of a bloop single.

In the ninth, Georgia's Jeff Weaver held on for his seventh save.

UK got a solid start from left-hander James Paxton. He walked two of the first three batters but settled down to toss six innings of five-hit ball, with one more walk. He struck out 10, his fourth double-digit total of the season.

Facing Paxton, Clint Tilford (1-3) and Logan Darnell, Georgia totaled three hits over the last seven innings.

Paxton made one mistake, though, a two-run homer by Rich Poythress that gave Georgia a 4-3 lead in the fifth. The Bulldogs have homers in 33 of 35 games, and Poythress leads the nation with 60 RBI.

"I just left it up in the zone, and he took it out of the park," Paxton said. "It's a pitch I want back, but I've just got to work on it and keep the ball down."

The Wildcats tied in the sixth. Wiley rapped a one-out single and stole second. He scored on Bryan Rose's two-out infield single, combined with a throwing error.

Tilford pitched two perfect innings before making his one mistake, to Lewis. The ball took a high arc, landing just beyond the wall in left-center.

"I was just looking to get on base, get a pitch to get something started with, and just happened to connect at the right time," Lewis said.

UK scored once in each of the first three innings, getting a first-inning homer from Andy Burns, plus RBI hits from Michael Williams and Chris Wade.