UK Baseball

UK baseball avoids series sweep

Losing two of three home games in its first Southeastern Conference series of the season is not what the Kentucky Wildcats wanted.

However, by salvaging a 12-3 win over No. 19 Ole Miss, the 20th-ranked Cats came out of Sunday's game at Cliff Hagan Stadium with renewed confidence.

"You don't want to start in a hole real deep, so today was important to pull out," said Braden Kapteyn, who hit a pair of three-run homers and finished 3-for-5 with a career-high six RBI. "I think it'll give us good momentum in the next weekend" at Vanderbilt.

Chris Bisson added three hits and scored three times. Keenan Wiley, one of five Cats with one hit, made his a fifth-inning, three-run homer.

That was more than enough to support sophomore right-hander Alex Meyer (4-2). In his best outing of the season, the 6-foot-9, 220-pounder took a shutout into the sixth inning. He lasted 62⁄3 innings, giving up three runs, seven hits and four walks while notching a season-high 10 strikeouts.

"I had a chip on my shoulder going into the week. So far this season hasn't been going as well as I'd like for it to have been," said Meyer, who came in with a 7.29 ERA. "It was good to ... come out and get a quality win, my first (career) SEC win."

Dominated 9-0 in the series opener, UK's offense awoke with a four-run eighth in Saturday's 7-6 loss.

"I think that kind of carried over to today," Wiley said.

UK outhit the Rebels 11-8 Sunday. Meyer and Matt Little combined to strike out 14.

"We had much more aggressiveness at the plate," Coach Gary Henderson said of his Cats. "I think our pitch selection was better. We did a better job of covering the outer half (of the plate). And, obviously, some timely hits."

Kapteyn put the Cats on the board in the first inning when lefty Matt Tracy (1-2) hung a change-up. The DH ripped a three-run shot to left field.

His other three-run blast went deep into the right-field parking area, capping a five-run sixth inning.

"My strength is right-center, but I don't hit many home runs over there," Kapteyn said. "I'm just glad to see a fastball up. Just took it deep and let it go."

Meyer, who said his slider was good and his fastball command was "a lot better than it has been" was able to keep the ball down.

He retired the first eight batters before giving up back-to-back infield singles.

"That was the biggest thing, just for Alex to go out in a conference game and kind of establish himself as 'a guy' and he was dominant," Henderson said. "That's ... the way he should perform. He's a good competitor and today he was able to play the game a pitch at a time."

Zach Miller singled in the Rebels' first run in the sixth.

Alex Yarbrough and Tim Ferguson each singled in a run in the seventh.

After Ferguson's hit, second baseman Bisson caught Yarbrough with the hidden-ball trick for the second out.

Little pitched one-hit ball over the final 21⁄3 innings for UK. He struck out four and did not issue a walk.

Little, 1-0 with four saves over eight games, dropped his ERA to 0.59 and his opposition batting average to .111. He now has 11 consecutive scoreless innings.

SEC standings

Eastern Division

SEC GB All

South Carolina 3-0 — 16-4

Florida 3-0 — 16-3

Kentucky 1-2 2 15-5

Vanderbilt 0-33 15-5

Tennessee 0-33 10-10

Georgia 0-3 3 8-12

Western Division

Alabama3-0 —18-1

Auburn 3-0 — 14-5

Mississippi 2-1 1 15-5

Louisiana State 2-1 1 16-3

Arkansas 1-2 2 13-5

Mississippi State0-3 3 11-9

Sunday's games

Kentucky 12, Mississippi 3

Auburn 19, Georgia 3

South Carolina 4, Tennessee 0

LSU 5, Arkansas 1

Alabama 8, Vanderbilt 2

Florida 4, Mississippi State 1

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