UGA baseball steals one from Kentucky to secure spot in SEC tournament

The Georgia baseball team scored 11 runs on 17 hits to defeat Kentucky 11-10 on Senior Day at Foley Field Saturday.

The win secured the 12th seed for the Bulldogs at the Southeastern Conference tournament in Hoover, Ala.

Georgia (26-28, 11-18-1) starter Robert Tyler pitched seven innings and allowed three runs on eight hits with three strikeouts and no walks, and earned the win to improve to 6-4 on the season. Hunter Cole (3-for-4, four RBIs), Nelson Ward (3-for-5, three RBIs) and Brandon Stephens (3-for-4, one RBI) each had three hits. Every Bulldog in the starting lineup registered a hit in the game.

Kentucky (32-22, 14-16) rallied from down eight with a six-run eighth inning that was sparked by A.J. Reed’s (3-for-5, two RBIs) NCAA-leading 23rd home run of the season and a Matt Reida (2-for-5, four RBIs) grand slam. Zack Brown (0-1) started the game, but surrendered four runs on seven hits through three innings and was credited with the loss.

“We swung the bats very well,” Georgia coach Scott Stricklin said in a release. “Robert Tyler was very good on the mound. We had a nice lead and felt pretty good about it but the wind was blowing out and [Kentucky is] a very good offensive team. It was unfortunate that we let them back in [the game]. It was way too close for comfort, but the bottom line is that we found a way to win.”

It will be the Bulldogs’ first trip to the conference tournament since 2012.

“This is a big step for our program,” Stricklin said. “We needed to get to the next step and get to Hoover. Having to win today was important and we came out and found a way to do it.”

Georgia resumes play Tuesday in Hoover, Ala. The 12th-seeded Bulldogs will face the fifth-seeded Mississippi State at 5:30 p.m., which will air on CSS.

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Kentucky posted a combined shutout over Georgia, beating the Bulldogs 10-0 Friday to clinch an SEC series at Foley Field.

Kentucky junior A.J. Reed’s two-run homer started off the scoring in the top of the first, and the Wildcats tacked on two more in each of the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth innings. Kentucky’s 2-3-4 hitters (Max Kuhn-Reed-Ka’ai Tom) went a combined 7-12 with two home runs, three doubles, six RBIs and five runs. Kuhn hit his seventh home run of the season in the sixth inning.

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