Kentucky could not send the Cliff out in style. The BatCats (33-18, 13-14) dropped game three of this weekend’s series to Mississippi State by a score of 18-8 in the final regular-season game at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Despite the loss, UK won the series after taking the first two games this weekend.
The Cats’ chances at a sweep dropped dramatically with the news that Justin Lewis would not start today. The loss of Lewis, along with Zach Haake and Carson Coleman, forced UK to throw several seldom-used arms in the series finale. The lack of arms mixed with five errors and 12 strikeouts at the plate killed UK in the loss.
Brad Schaenzer was the first of six pitchers used today for the Cats. The senior struck out the first batter of the game before the Dogs jumped all over him. MSU scored three against Schaenzer before UK had to go to their bullpen with two outs in the first.
It would be all downhill from there. MSU added four runs in second and two in the third to put UK in a 9-0 hole. Trey Dawson homered to get UK on the board, but MSU would continue to attack against the backend of the Cats’ bullpen. Thanks to some sloppy plays by UK in the field, MSU scored five more runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 14-1 lead in the sixth.
A 13-run deficit is nearly insurmountable, but it wouldn’t be a game at the Cliff without some big innings by UK’s offense. Troy Squires and Luke Heyer drove in runs before Nick Mingione went to his bench for a power bat. Redshirt freshman Brayden Combs hit his first career home run to score two runs and cut MSU’s lead to eight after six innings.
The lone pitcher for UK that did not allow a run today was Brett Marshall. The son of 1988 player John Marshall and brother of Tyler Marshall, the freshman pitcher did not allow a hit in two innings in relief.
UK gave Marshall some run support in the bottom of the eighth. Zeke Lewis, Ben Aklinski, and Dawson all drove in runs as UK got within striking distance with the score at 14-8. But the rally would be all for naught. MSU scored four runs in the ninth inning to put away UK and win 18-8.