HOOVER, Ala. – Kentucky's A.J. Reed showed that a starting pitcher can also handle a pretty good bat.
In the first game of the Southeastern Conference Tournament Tuesday, Reed got the win on the mound and added four hits with a home run to help the Wildcats defeat the Ole Miss Rebels 2-0 at Regions Park.
"Obviously an outstanding performance by (Reed), both on the mound and at the plate," Kentucky coach Gary Henderson said. "Good players show up late in the season. They show up when it's most important and that is what he did (Tuesday)."
With the win, the Wildcats improved to 42-15 and earned a bye, while the Rebels fell to 34-23 and play Arkansas at 9:30 a.m. today.
It was the fifth-straight loss for Ole Miss and head coach Mike Bianco called it another "disappointing" outing for his team.
"The story of the game was obviously our inability to score," Bianco said. "We get runners on, and once again, it's happened to us for the past few weeks where we've either had the same amount of hits or more and struggled to get that timely hit."
Kentucky did make the most of its hits with a solo home run from Reed in the fourth inning to take a 1-0 lead, then scored the final run of the game in the sixth.
Reed was the only multiple hitter for the Wildcats with four, while Matt Snyder matched that total for the Rebels, but all of his were singles.
Ole Miss came back with ace pitcher Bobby Wahl, who kept them in the game with the six innings he worked. He gave up both runs on six hits and walked two with six strikeouts.
"We got a great effort from Bobby on short rest," Bianco said. "I'm really proud of the way he competed out there. It's hard to believe that he didn't have his best stuff the way it looked because he was terrific, I thought, the whole game."
Reed (5-2) scattered five hits over 5.2 innings pitched for Kentucky to get the win. He walked one and struck out three. Taylor Rogers, the usual first game starter during conference weekends, finished up the game to earn his first save of the season.
"That might have been Taylor Rogers' first relief appearance in three years," Henderson said. "I really wanted him on the mound. I wanted to make a statement to our guys that we were putting our Friday night guy out there to win."