Missouri beats Kentucky, 4-2

COLUMBIA — The Missouri Tigers kept their Southeastern Conference Tournament hopes alive with a 4-2 victory Thursday night in the first game of a pivotal series against the Kentucky Wildcats.

A total of 12 of the 14 conference schools qualify for the tournament — the Eastern and Western division winners as well as the next 10 schools via winning percentage in conference games.

Missouri (17-30 overall, 9-19 SEC) is currently 12th, just ahead of Tennessee and one game behind Kentucky (29-23, 10-18).

Brett Graves was the starter and winner for the Tigers. He worked the first five innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and five walks. He struck out three. Jake Walsh and Keaton Steele each pitched two innings of scoreless relief.

Missouri scored two runs in the third, one in the fourth and one in the fifth. Steele, Dylan Kelly and Shane Segovia had two hits each in a nine-hit Tiger attack.

The two teams will play again tonight and Saturday afternoon to close out the regular season.

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