Kentucky baseball claims victory in first SEC series, defeats Mississippi State 12-3


Travis Fannon

Kentucky Wildcats pitcher Ryan Hagenow (24) pitches the ball during the Kentucky vs. Wright State baseball game on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 15-0. Photo by Travis Fannon | Staff

Jonathon Bruner, Reporter

Kentucky Baseball (17-2) slugged its way to its 13th straight win and the series victory on Saturday as it defeated the Mississippi State Bulldogs (13-7) by a score of 12-3.

Despite the lopsided win, the Wildcats’ offense would be kept off the scoreboard until the bottom of the fourth inning where it would come to bat down three runs.

Senior Jase Felker drew a walk to open the inning before stealing second as well. Felker then advanced to third on a fly out before sophomore Émilien Pitre also reached base after being hit by a pitch. Pitre would then also steal second.

With the Wildcats needing to get a run on the board, redshirt sophomore Devin Burkes came up to the plate and unloaded a ball over the center field fence to bring home Felker and Pitre and bring the score to an even 3-3.

Kentucky Wildcats infielder Jase Felker (2) stands in the infield during the Kentucky vs. Indiana State baseball game on Sunday, March 5, 2023, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 7-6. Photo by Travis Fannon | Staff (Travis Fannon)

Senior Chase Stanke led off the fifth inning with a walk as the Wildcats would look to take the lead. Coming up to the plate next was senior Grant Smith, who delivered by sending a double into right field that sent Stanke to third base. 

Felker was up next, and he came through with a base hit up the middle to bring home both Smith and Stanke, which put the Wildcats ahead as the score now stood at 5-3. 

The Wildcats were not done in the fifth as Pitre would come up with bases loaded and send a single up the middle to bring home Felker and Gray and increase the Wildcat lead to four runs. 

The final run of the fifth inning came with some help from the Bulldogs as a wild pitch brought home Burkes and brought the lead to 8-3. 

The Wildcats would scratch another run in the fifth as a one-out walk put Gray on first. After a line out for the second out of the inning, Gray would steal his way into scoring position before Burkes would hit a single into center that scored him.

Adding onto Kentucky’s fortune, a misplay by the center fielder would allow Burkes to come all the way around the bases to make it 10-3.

The seventh inning would not stop the Wildcats’ scoring as sophomore Ryan Waldschmidt would open the inning with a walk before redshirt freshman James McCoy would send his first ever home run over the center field wall to give the Wildcats the 12-3 final score. 

On the other side of the ball, lefty Tyler Bosma would get the start on the mound for Kentucky, and he began the game with a no-run first inning.

The leadoff hitter for the Bulldogs in the second inning would get to Bosma and send a home run over the center field wall, but the pitcher battled back, finishing the inning with no more damage. 

After having a smooth third inning, Bosma would surrender a walk and then a home run to the Bulldogs before bouncing back and getting the three outs to get the team out of the inning down three runs.

Bosma would return to the mound in the fifth inning, but was taken out after recording two outs, finishing his day with four and two-thirds innings of work, three earned runs allowed on four hits and three walks. 

Junior Ryan Hagenow would be the first and only pitcher out of the bullpen as he gave the Wildcats the remaining four and one-third innings left in the game, only surrendering one hit during his outing. Hagenow also struck out five Bulldog hitters during his outing, earning him the win on the mound to improve his record to 2-0 on the season. 

The Wildcats will look to make it 14 straight and complete the series sweep as they play the series finale against the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Sunday, March 19, at Kentucky Proud Park. The first pitch is scheduled for noon EST and will be streamed on SEC Network.