Kentucky's Jerad Grundy struck out ten Bulldogs in eight innings of work to help the Wildcats even their SEC-series with Mississippi State at one game apiece winning the early game of a Saturday doubleheader 3-2 at Cliff Hagan Field in Lexington.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when A.J. Reed, who finished 2 for 3, hit a two-run homer.
Bulldog starter, Kendall Graveman (2-2), settled down following a Max Kuhn double after Reed's dinger, retiring eight straight Wildcats and 12 of the next 13 before finding trouble in the sixth inning.
In the top of that inning, Mississippi State (21-5, 2-3) cut the Kentucky (17-5, 3-2) lead to 2-1 on Hunter Renfoe's sacrifice fly that scored Adam Frazier who reached on a one-out single. The Bulldogs had a chance to tie, but Grundy induced a groundout from Demarcus Henderson to strand two Bulldogs on base.
The Wildcats answered and chased Graveman with three-straight hits to open the sixth inning. Zac Zellers, who finished 2 for 3 with a walk, scored his second run after singling and scoring on Kuhn's RBI single.
Chad Girodo came in for one hitter, giving up a hit, before giving way to Ben Bracewell.
The Wildcats could have done more damage in the bottom of the sixth, but a base running mistake by Reed and a great throw-out at home by Mississippi State shortstop Frazier ended the Kentucky threat.
Bracewell, who pitched two innings, striking out four, issued back-to-back walks to open the Kentucky half of the eighth, but the Bulldogs avoided trouble with a double play and a strikeout.
Renfroe sparked ninth-inning hope in the Bulldogs' dugout with a leadoff homerun to left field to chase Grundy (5-1).
Henderson later reached base on an infield single, but Trevor Gott, who came in relief of Grundy, contained the threat and picked up his seventh save of the season.
Graveman, who took the loss for the Bulldogs, finished his day giving up three runs, all earned, on seven hits while fanning six Wildcats, including the side in the bottom of the third.
Zellers, Reed, and Kuhn, the Nos. 2-4 hitters for the Wildcats, each went 2-3. Their Mississippi State counterparts, C.T. Bradford and Wes Rea finished 1-4, while Renfroe finished 1-3, with a sacrifice fly and two RBIs.