LEXINGTON, Ky. — Symphonic sweep. No. 18 Kentucky dodged threats all afternoon to defeat Missouri 3-1 on Sunday in front of 2,646 fans at Kentucky Proud Park to sweep the Tigers and secure the best start in the Southeastern Conference (8- 1) of the school’s history.
Seth Chavez caused a mile-high foul pop-up behind home plate with the bases loaded to close out his first save in blue and move the Wildcats to 25-3 this season. The victory was not without drama, however, as Missouri left 16 runners on base in the game and first baseman Hunter Gilliam and center fielder Jackson Gray made run-saving defensive plays in the last innings.
Gilliam, who hit his first single at bat to lead his hitting streak to 21 games, the third longest in the UK since 2005, dove to his left to trap a hot shot on the first base line, preventing two points to score. Gray took a dive down the center and also kicked out a runner trying to get from first to third.
Relievers Jackson Nove, Mason Moore, Zach Hise, Ryan Hagenow and Chavez each made big pitches as Mizzou hasn’t scored in the last four innings.
- Kentucky is 32-6 in its last 38 games dating back to last season.
- UK are 17-7 in their last 24 games against SEC opponents.
- The UK now has 17 wins against the Top 100 RPI and 10 against the Top 50.
- The last time the UK won their first three SEC series was in 2017, Mingione’s debut season.
- The 8-1 start to the SEC game is the best in school history.
- British coach Nick Mingione is in his seventh season at the helm and now holds a career record of 201-132. UK are 44-44 in April under coach Mingione. Mingione is 11-7 against Missouri. Mingione is 89-43 at Kentucky Proud Park.
- UK have scored in 327 of 333 games under coach Mingione.
- The Cats stole a base and are now 54 of 68 this season.
- Britain’s pitchers have held opponents to three runs or less in 20 of 28 games.
- UK has had a different winning pitcher in each of its eight SEC wins.
- Kentucky blocked 16 runners from Missouri on base.
- Great Britain allowed three runs in the series. That’s the least of an SEC streak in 21st 1996, he gave up four to Ole Miss.
- First baseman Hunter Gilliam ran his hitting streak to 21 games and he’s now reached safely in all 27 games he’s played. The streak is tied for the second longest in the UK since 2005. He made a diving save and scored to end a scoring threat.
- Wide receiver Devin Burkes has reached safely in 17 straight games.
- Outfielder Ryan Waldschmidt has reached base safely in 16 straight games.
- Outfielder Jackson Gray has safely reached the goal in 19 consecutive games. He has been hit with 15 pitches this season. He had two hits in the field and had a phenomenal catch of a sinking liner.
- Infielder Grant Smith has started all 144 games in his college career. He reached in 16 consecutive games.
- Pitcher Seth Chavez made his first save in a Kentucky uniform.
ON THE BRIDGE
Kentucky will host Dayton at 6:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday. It will be broadcast on SECN+. The radio call will be broadcast on the UK Sports Network (630 AM WLAP, locally).