LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Missouri fifth-year senior Eric Anderson worked a strong start on the mound and drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning to post an 8-3 win over No. 12 Kentucky to claim the series, on a windy Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (23-13, 7-8 Southeastern Conference) and Missouri faced off the rubber match of the series on Sunday, after the Tigers won the opener, 8-7 with a three-run homer from Anderson in the eighth inning erasing UK’s two-run lead. UK answered to even the series on Saturday with a 12-0 win, before the Tigers jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the third. UK got two runs back in the third, with the two teams trading single runs in the fourth for the Tigers and the fifth for UK. Missouri then took advantage of a pair of misplayed double play balls that went as errors in the ninth inning to stretch its lead to 8-3.
A former member of the USA Collegiate National Team, Anderson (2-2) gave the Tigers the lead with his third hit of the game, a two-out RBI single to centerfield in the top of the sixth inning. He finished working seven innings on the mound, allowing nine hits and three runs, walking one and striking out 10.
The Wildcats were paced at the plate by a three-hit game from Austin Cousino, with Micheal Thomas and Thomas Bernal also charting a multiple-hit game. Max Kuhn got UK on the board with a two-RBI double in the third inning, with UK also getting hits from A.J. Reed and Matt Reida.
UK starter Andrew Nelson (1-3) worked six innings, allowing 10 hits and four runs, walking three and striking out two. Sophomore Ryne Combs replaced Nelson to start the seventh, working an inning and allowing a hit with a strikeout. After an error led off the top of the eighth inning, UK turned to Kyle Cody in relief. Cody worked around a second error in the inning and an infield single in the eighth. Cody loaded the bases without an out in the ninth, getting an out, before allowing a RBI single with the infield in. Freshman Zack Brown came on in a bases-loaded jam with one out in the ninth, getting the final two outs.
Holding a one-run lead to start the eighth inning, Missouri turned to hard-throwing closer Keaton Steele, who worked the final two innings for his ninth save of the year. Over four saves in his four career outings vs. UK, Steele has worked a combined seven shutout innings.
Kentucky will return to action on Tuesday, traveling to facing No. 10 Louisville at 6 p.m. ET at Jim Patterson Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
Missouri (17-17, 6-9 SEC) scored first in the top of the third inning, as Shane Segovia doubled down the rightfield line to lead off, taking third on a well-placed grounder and scoring on Jake Ring’s RBI single. Anderson then executed a perfect hit-and-run, smacking a slow roller through the right side with UK covering the second base bag on the attempted steal, allowing Ring to take third. Nelson then got a tailor-made double play ball hit up the middle but it was bobbled for an error that allowed a run to score and keep the inning alive. After Thomas threw out the trail runner on a second attempted hit-and-run in the inning, Nelson got a strike out to end the threat.
The Wildcats immediately answered with two runs on four hits in the bottom of the third inning. Reida led off the inning with a single up the middle, taking second on Cousino’s second hit of the game to leftfield. Kuhn then scored the duo with a line-drive double down the leftfield line, evening up the game at 2-2.
The Tigers regained the lead in the top of the fourth inning, as Kelly led off with a single, poked through the left side, with Ryan Howard following by hitting into a double play. Nelson then walked Logan Pearson and hit Segovia with a 2-0 pitch to bring up Everett. Everett singled over the leaping glove of Shelby at second base, allowing Pearson to score from second.
Kentucky evened up the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Cousino laid down a perfect bunt single with one out, stealing second base for his 13th steal in 2014. After a pop out for the second out, Reed got in a two-strike hole, before smashing an RBI single to leftfield to even up the game at 3-3.
In the top of the sixth inning, Missouri took the lead with a two-out RBI from Anderson, scoring Everett, who had reached on a fielder’s choice.
The Tigers took advantage of a fourth UK error in the ninth inning, as Kelly reached on an infield single to lead off. Cody then got a tailor-made double play ball that went between the legs of a UK defender, putting two runners on and no outs. Logan Pearson followed with a five-pitch walk to load the bases for Segovia. After Cody got Segovia to pop up in the infield, Everett bounced a single up the middle, through the drawn-in infield, to score Kelly and re-load the bags. With the infield in and Brown on the mound, Ring chopped a grounder through the right side, scoring Howard. UK then got a double play ball hit in the infield, with the throw pulling Shelby off the bag and re-loading the bases after scoring another run.