COLUMBIA, Mo. - Sean Hjelle pitched seven shutout innings, Riley Mahan homered and the defense turned in a tremendous effort as No. 14 Kentucky scored a series-opening 5-2 victory over Missouri on a beautiful Friday night in Middle America.
Hjelle, who moved to 5-2 on the season, turned in a brilliant effort, giving up just five hits and one walk while striking out eight on a career-high 121 pitches. The 6-foot-11 sophomore has been sensational on the road in his three Southeastern Conference starts, giving up just one run in 22.1 innings, good for a 0.41 ERA.
The Cats (23-11, 9-4 SEC) grinded out at bats throughout the night, posting single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings before tacking on two more in the sixth. Mahan hit his team-leading sixth home run of the season in the fourth and Tristan Pompey continued his hot streak, collecting at least three hits for the third time in four games to lead the offense.
Hjelle outdueled top pitching prospect Tanner Houck, the fourth time in five weeks he's helped UK win the opening game of a league series. Senior lefty Logan Salow came on to record the final two outs of the game after a pair of Missouri home runs sliced the lead to 5-2, earning his seventh save of the season in the process.
Top 3rd - Connor Heady walked. Tristan Pompey doubled to RF, moving Heady to third. Evan White walked. Zach Reks grounded into a double play with Heady scoring on the play. UK 1, Mizzou 0.
Top 4th - Riley Mahan homered to LCF. UK 2, Mizzou 0.
Top 5th - White lined a single to LF. Reks ripped a ball off the first baseman's glove just inside the line that was ruled an error, with White coming all the way around to score. UK 3, Mizzou 0.
Top 6th - Mahan reached second on a fielding error by the left fielder and moved to third on a balk. Luke Becker drove in Mahan with a SAC fly to CF. Marcus Carson and Heady were hit by pitches. Pompey scored Carson with a line single to RCF. UK 5, Mizzou 0.
Bottom 9th - Trey Harris homered to LF. Brett Bond homered to CF. UK 5, Mizzou 2.
• Junior 1B Evan White went 1-for-4 with a run and a walk.
o White now has 184 career hits, good for 18th place on UK's career hits list.
• Junior IF Riley Mahan was 2-for-4 with two runs and a solo home run.
o It was Mahan's team-leading sixth home run of the year and 12th of his career.
• Sophomore OF Tristan Pompey went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI.
o Pompey now has hit safely in 22 of his past 24 games.
o Pompey is 11-for-19 (.579) in his past four games.
• Freshman C T.J. Collett made his first collegiate start, hitting fourth as the Cats' DH.
• Senior OF Marcus Carson was hit by pitches in back-to-back at bats.
o Carson has been hit by a team-high 11 pitches this season.
o He has 18 HBPs in his career.
• Sophomore RHP Sean Hjelle worked 7.0 innings, giving up five hits, no runs, one walk and striking out eight.
o Hjelle earned his fifth win of the season, besting the four he had as a reliever in 2016.
o Hjelle threw a career-high 121 pitches.
o Hjelle is 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA in three starts on the road in SEC. He's given up one earned run in 22.1 innings.
• Senior LHP Logan Salow earned his seventh save of the season.
o Salow now has 11 career saves, moving him into a tie with three others for fifth on UK's all-time career saves list.
o Salow has 81 career appearances, moving into a tie for fifth on the UK all-time appearances list.
Kentucky will try to win the series on Saturday night, taking on Mizzou at 8 p.m. ET at Taylor Stadium. Fans can listen on the UK Sports Network via UKathletics.com and iHeart Radio, as well as on 630 AM WLAP, and watch on the SEC Network.