Cats pick up much needed series win over Missouri. SEC Tournament up next.


Kentucky pitcher Kyle Cody pitches during the game between the University of Kentucky baseball team vs. Eastern Michigan University in Lexington , Ky.,on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Photo by Michael Reaves

Chris Angolia

UK baseball closed out its 2016 regular season with a series victory over the Missouri Tigers.

After losing the first game of the series 9-3, the next two games immediately became must-wins as the Cats could not afford to lose the series to the sub .500 Tigers.

A loss in the series would have most likely crushed all hopes at an NCAA Tournament berth for the Cats, but as has been the case all year, the Cats’ senior arms came up big.

On Friday, Dustin Beggs took the mound for the final time at Cliff Hagan Stadium and did what he has done all season: deliver.

Beggs tossed eight shutout innings and allowed just six hits and two walks while striking out six before being taken out prior to the ninth due to his high pitch count.

Although the Cats were quiet on offense on Friday, the two runs that were put up in the sixth were all that the pitching staff needed. Sean Hjelle was able to come in and close the game out in the ninth giving the Cats the victory 2-1.

In the rubber game Saturday, Kyle Cody got the start on senior day, and like Beggs, it was Cody’s final time on the mound at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Cody came through in a must-win game and left it all out there, throwing a 137-pitch complete game. He allowed two runs, one earned on eight hits and nine strikeouts.

UK’s offense also woke up to the beat of seven runs, which was two more then it scored over its first two games combined. Evan White had three RBIs of his own and four other Cats each contributed with an RBI of their own.

The series victory keeps the Cats’ NCAA Tournament hopes alive as things shift to Hoover, Ala., for the SEC Tournament beginning on Tuesday. All 14 teams in the SEC finished up their regular seasons Saturday with Mississippi State taking home the regular season crown. UK finished eighth in the standings.

With the No. 8 seed in the tournament, the Cats are set to face ninth-seeded Alabama in a game that is virtually a must-win.

UK faced the Tide nearly two months ago back in Lexington when the Cats took two of three, including one of Zack Brown’s victories this year. Brown is most likely going to get the start for the Cats coming off his most recent start on Thursday against Missouri.

Against the Tide, Brown went seven innings and allowed just two runs for one of his best outings of the year.

UK will be looking to Brown to help improve its case for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament. The winner of Tuesday’s matchup will face off against top-seeded Mississippi State on Wednesday.

UK’s matchup with the Crimson Tide is officially set for 5:30 p.m. at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala.