Kentucky battles in the SEC; takes series against No. 14 Georgia


Kentucky Wildcats infielder Chase Estep (12) runs to first base during the UK vs. Bellarmine baseball game on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 3-2. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Julia Keener

Kentucky (17-8, 2-4 SEC) defeated No. 14 Georgia (18-6, 3-3 SEC) 18-5 on Sunday afternoon at Kentucky Proud Park, winning its first SEC series of the season.

Tyler Bosma took the mound as the starting pitcher for the Wildcats, while Bryce Melear earned the start for the Georgia Bulldogs.

UK took an early lead in the first inning after a grand slam by Alonzo Rubalcaba, his third home run of the season for a career-high RBI total of four. 

The grand slam allowed Kirk Liebert, Chase Estep, and Hunter Jump to reach home plate, starting the Cats off with a 4-0 lead.

Kentucky stayed hot in the second inning, as Jacob Plastiak singled with men on first and second, allowing Estep to score and extend the lead to 5-0.

The score remained 5-0 throughout the third, with the inning being Kentucky’s first scoreless inning of the day.

Estep then hit a two-run homerun, his eighth of the season, propelling the Cats to a 7-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth.

Georgia could not seem to catch a break with Bosma on fire on the mound, pitching a career high six innings on the day.

UGA made its fourth change on the mound in the bottom of the fifth, and though the bats stayed hot for Kentucky, the Bulldogs kept the inning scoreless.

The Cats once again showed out at the plate to start the sixth, with Plastiak starting things off with a double and Rubalcaba, Jase Felker, and Fogel all following with singles to propel Kentucky to score two more runs.

UK continued to dominate the inning going forward, as Jump grounded out to first base and Felker scored with the bases loaded.

Things didn’t stop there, as Ritter tripled, sending Estep, Thrasher and Fogel back to home plate, with the inning coming to a close with the Wildcats up 13-0.

Wyatt Hudepohl relieved Bosma in the top of the seventh, ending Bosma’s day with six innings pitched, four hits allowed, no earned runs, one walk and five strikeouts.

The Bulldogs continued fighting, and to their relief, Parks Harber hit a two-run home run to put Georgia on the board in the seventh inning.

Unfortunately for UGA, Fogel then came back with a double in the bottom half of the inning to send Felker and Rubalcaba home to score, with the Cats continuing to do well at the plate, eventually leading 18-2.

The Bulldogs began to heat up late in the game, however the lead was too far out of reach for it to make a difference, as Kentucky reigned over Georgia 18-5.

Playing in a conference with several of the top teams in the country, the series win was a big one for the Wildcats.

UK returns to play on Tuesday, March 29, taking on Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky Proud Park, with first pitch being scheduled for 6:30 p.m. EST.