Kentucky’s Dustin Beggs fired eight shutout innings to help defeat Missouri 2-1 in his final start at Cliff Hagan Stadium. UK was faced with a must-win game for their tournament hopes, and Beggs pushed them to their 31st win on the season. Reggie McClain was excellent for MU, pitching eight innings and allowing only two runs. Beggs was just a little bit better on Friday. The senior struck out six and picked off two runners in his ninth win of the season.
UK finally got some timely hitting
A big issue for UK in SEC play has been timely hitting. They get in position to win games, but often fail to capitalize. With two outs in the sixth, the BatCats finally found some clutch hitting. Zach Reks singled up the middle and JaVon Shelby legged out an infield single to put two on for Riley Mahan. With two strikes, Mahan delivered an RBI single to right field to give UK their first lead of the series. Shelby would take home on a delayed steal with two outs in the sixth to add another run.
Reggie McClain was fantastic
The two runs were the only blip on McClain’s stat line today. McClain struck out the side in the fifth and finished with eight strikeouts in eight innings. Like Beggs, McClain is a JUCO transfer in his second season in the SEC. The three-time SEC Pitcher of the Week retired the first eight batters he faced until Kole Cottam singled with two outs in the third.
Reks honored during game
News broke during the game that Zach Reks was named a semifinalist for the Gregg Olson Award given to the Breakout Player of the Year. After taking two years off from baseball, Reks transferred to UK from the Air Force Academy. Reks has started 40 games and played in 51, hitting .342 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs.
Beggs wraps up a great career at the Cliff
With another incredible performance on the mound, Beggs pitched his last game at home. Beggs was 6-1 at home this season with an ERA well below three. This was a must-win game for the Cats, and Beggs delivered once again. Some of the biggest wins over the last two seasons have been courtesy of brilliant pitching efforts by Beggs. We will have more on Beggs this weekend after senior day.
Kentucky and Missouri wrap up their series tomorrow at 1 E.T. Following the game, both teams will make the trip to Hoover for the SEC Tournament. As of now, Kentucky will be the eight or nine seed playing Alabama on Tuesday. For the BatCats to get an at-large, they need to win tomorrow and most likely beat Alabama in the first round of the SEC.