Wildcats Short-Circuited by Mississippi State Power Surge

STARKVILLE, Miss. – A three-run first inning wasn’t enough to hold off a home run barrage by the reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Week as No. 8 Kentucky fell 10-6 to No. 19 Mississippi State in front of 13,691 fans at Dudy Noble Field, the eighth-largest on-campus attendance in NCAA history.

The Wildcats fell to 22-10 overall and 8-3 in SEC play but can still win the three-game series on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore right-hander Justin Lewis will take the hill for the Cats in the rubber game.

UK got off to a fast start, taking a 2-0 lead two batters into the game when Tristan Pompey hit his fourth home run of the season. Kole Cottam’s RBI double, the first of his career-high four RBI, staked the Cats to a 3-0 lead before the Bulldogs came to the plate.

But Mississippi State (21-12, 7-4) took control with a six-run second inning that was fueled by two infield hits and two hit batters before State’s Brent Rooker, one of the nation’s most prolific power hitters, clubbed a no-doubt grand slam to left field. Rooker went deep again in the fourth, depositing a two-strike pitch over the centerfield wall, and hit his third long ball of the night, also on a two-strike pitch, to left in the sixth.

Kentucky had its chances to climb back into the game but watched as numerous hard-hit balls found the leather of Mississippi State defenders. In the ninth, the Cats loaded the bases with no outs but could only get two runs home on Cottam’s two-run double.


Sophomore Kole Cottam had a terrific night, going 3-for-5 with a career-high four RBI. He counted two doubles among his three hits, which also tied a career-high. Tristan Pompey hit the ball hard in every at bat, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored, two RBI and a home run. Evan White and Riley Mahan also each recorded multi-hit games.


UK starter Zach Logue was victimized by the longest and shortest of balls in his 5.2 innings of work. The Bulldogs hit four home runs, including a grand slam, but it was the three infield hits and two hit batters that really hurt, keeping alive the six-run second inning long enough for Brent Rooker’s grand slam. Freshman righty Chris Machamer relieved Logue and yielded a home run to Rooker but settled in and struck out five of the next six batters before State tacked on a pair of two-out runs in the eighth.


Top 1st – Evan White singled to start the game and scored on Tristan Pompey’s two-run home run to RCF. Riley Mahan walked and came home on Kole Cottam’s double to RCF. UK 3, Miss. State 0.

Bottom 2nd – Cody Brown homered to RF. Luke Alexander reached on an infield hit to the right side, advanced to second when Josh Lovelady was hit by a pitch, moved to third on Harrison Bragg’s SAC fly and scored on Tanner Poole’s SAC fly to CF. Hunter Stovall singled to RF and Jake Mangum was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Brent Rooker, who hit a grand slam to LF. Miss. State 6, UK 3.


Bottom 4th – Rooker homered to CF. Miss. State 7, UK 3.


Top 6th – Mahan tripled off top of RCF wall and scored on Cottam’s line single up the middle. Miss. State 7, UK 4.


Bottom 6th – Rooker homered to LF. Miss. State 8, UK 4.


Bottom 8th – Stovall started a two-out rally with a ground rule double. Mangum was hit by a pitch and Rooker was intentionally walked to load the bases before Ryan Gridley hit a two-run single up the middle. Miss. State 10, UK 4.


Top 9th – White and Pompey singled to start the inning and Reks walked to load the bases. Cottam hit a two-run double to LCF. Miss. State 10, UK 6.


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