Kentucky fell behind early and could not get its bats going Thursday in a 4-2 series-opening loss at Missouri.
The loss could be costly to the Wildcats (29-23, 10-18 SEC) who likely need to win the next two games in Columbia and two games in the SEC Tournament in order to earn an NCAA Tournament bid. The Cats must win one game at Mizzou to ensure a spot in the 12-team SEC field next week in Hoover, Ala.
Missouri got to UK starter A.J. Reed (2-8) for four runs on nine hits and two walks through 4.1 innings of work. The UK bullpen was strong from that point on, but the Cats could not string together enough offense to come back.
Kyle Barrett collected two of UK's five hits to extend his club-high hitting streak to 16 games, but that was the lone highlight at the plate for Gary Henderson's club. The Cats left nine runners stranded, five in scoring position.
Missouri (17-30, 9-19 SEC) starter Brett Graves (2-5) worked five innings, allowing three hits and two runs – one earned – walking five and striking out three. Keaton Steele took over to start the eighth inning, picking up his first save of the year with two shutout innings.
The series will resume on Friday at 7 p.m. ET at Taylor Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network and online at UKathletics.com.
On the heels of an important mid-week win over No. 15 Indiana, Kentucky hits the road for Missouri…