In the opener of a three-game series in Lexington, Kentucky, Missouri couldn't handle Kentucky, with the game ending in a 6½-inning 12-2 mercy-rule victory for the Wildcats.

At Kentucky Proud Park, No. 18 UK (23-3, 6-1 SEC) dominated at the plate from the start, scoring five runs in the first inning. Hunter Gilliam hit a two-run single to left field to give Kentucky a 2-1 lead. Ryan Waldschmidt followed with a three-run homer.

The Tigers (19-7, 3-4) continued to struggle defensively in the fifth inning. Emilien Pitre doubled to left center field. Gilliam took advantage of the momentum with a two-run homer to make it 7-2.

Kentucky extended its lead in the sixth and seventh innings to eventually end the game. Pitre hit a two-RBI single in the sixth, and Jase Felker hit a two-run double to center in the seventh, concluding the contest.

Missouri's two runs came in the first and fifth innings. Hank Zeisler got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the first, and Trevor Austin hit a sacrifice fly to score Luke Mann in the fifth.

Dalton Bargo had two hits, including a double, and Mann added a double for the Tigers.

Austin Troesser started on the mound for MU. The right-hander had a tough go of it, allowing five runs on three hits in less than an inning of work.

Missouri aims to bounce back Saturday as it again faces Kentucky, at 1 p.m. The game streams on SEC Network+.

Originally published on, part of the BLOX Digital Content Exchange.