(Article and photo of Shelby and Collett HR arm lock courtesy of UK Athletics)
Kentucky scores first road series win over Top 10 team since 2015
OXFORD, Miss. – T.J. Collett homered twice and the pitching staff delivered an outstanding effort on the mound as Kentucky swept a doubleheader over No. 10 Ole Miss on Sunday at Swayze Field, winning a Southeastern Conference road series to complete the first half of the league schedule.
The Wildcats earned their first road series win over a ranked opponent since taking two of three at Georgia exactly one year ago. It’s the first road series win over a Top 10 opponent since earning one at No. 5 Florida in 2015 and the first series win at Ole Miss since 2013.
The Cats (20-16, 4-11 SEC) return home to Kentucky Proud Park to host Louisville and Tennessee in a four-game home stand this week. The Cardinals come to town Tuesday night with the Volunteers arriving for a three-game series that runs Thursday-Saturday.
In the meantime, the Cats will savor a hard-fought series win against the Rebels (25-12, 9-6), who had blitzed Florida on the same diamond a week before. Heavy rains on Saturday forced two seven-inning games on Sunday and the Cats played to the game plan perfectly by jumping out to early leads and then letting their pitching bring them home.
In the opener, sophomore left-hander Mason Hazelwood was outstanding in his first career SEC start, not allowing a run in 5.2 innings of work that dropped his season earned run average to 1.75. He gave way to sophomore righty Carson Coleman for the final four outs as the Cats closed out the victory.
With that performance in their pocket, ace Zack Thompson went to the mound in the second game, battled his control but still found a way to hold the high-powered Rebels offense to just two runs in six innings. The home team loaded the bases with one out in the seventh before sophomore right-hander Daniel Harper came on and induced a line out and strikeout to seal the victory.
GAME ONE SCORING
Top 2nd – T.J. Collett homered to CF. UK 1, Ole Miss 0.
Top 3rd – Zeke Lewis doubled to RCF, stole third and scored on Coltyn Kessler’s single to LCF. UK 2, Ole Miss 0.
Top 4th – Orlando Adams Jr. doubled to RF and scored on Dalton Reed’s home run to LF. UK 4, Ole Miss 0.
Bottom 7th – Kevin Graham hit a pinch hit home run to CF. UK 4, Ole Miss 1.
GAME TWO SCORING
Top 4th – Austin Schultz was hit by a pitch and Coltyn Kessler singled to LF. T.J. Collett homered to RCF. UK 3, Ole Miss 0.
Top 5th – Dalton Reed singled to RF and scored from first on Schultz’s double off the LCF wall. UK 4, Ole Miss 0.
Bottom 5th – Jacob Adams drew a two-out walk. Michael Fitzsimmons blooped a pinch hit single to CF. Grae Kessinger doubled inside the 3B bag, scoring Adams and Anthony Servideo, who pinch ran for Fitzsimmons. UK 4, Ole Miss 2.
- Kentucky has scored in 100 consecutive games and 176 of the past 177 dating to the 2016 season. The lone shutout came in a seven-inning game. The current streak now is the third-longest in school history.
- Freshman IF Austin Schultz extended his reached base safely streak to 26 games.
- Junior 1B/DH T.J. Collett homered in both games.
o He now has a team-high nine home runs on the season.
o Both homers gave the Cats leads they would not relinquish.
- Sophomore LHP Mason Hazelwood earned the win in the opener.
o It was the first SEC start of his career.
o He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing five hits, no runs, one walk and notching three strikeouts.
o Hazelwood lowered his season ERA to 1.75.
- Junior LHP Zack Thompson earned the win in the nightcap.
o Thompson moved to 3-0 on the season and 13-4 for his career. The .765 career winning percentage ranks third in school history.
o With eight strikeouts, Thompson moved into the career top 10 at UK with 220.
The Cats will host Louisville on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. ET at Kentucky Proud Park. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus with audio coverage on UKathletics.com and the UK Sports Network