MO State HS Sports

Pimental, Mayer Sparkle in Baseball’s Victory Over No. 21 Kentucky

Javyn Pimental

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Javyn Pimental stymied No. 21 Kentucky for six innings Saturday afternoon at Taylor Stadium, propelling University of Missouri baseball to a 2-1 victory that leveled the two clubs’ Southeastern Conference series at one game apiece.

Bolstered by a supporting cast that played error-free defense, Pimental (1-0) held UK to a single run on four hits, while striking out five Wildcats. He teamed up with fellow junior Bryce Mayer to make a two-run third inning stand, giving the Tigers (10-13, 1-4 SEC) their first SEC victory of the season.

With the win, Mizzou’s Kerrick Jackson became the first Black head coach to lead his club to victory in SEC play.

To accomplish that feat, Jackson’s Tigers had to rally from an early 1-0 deficit, after UK (19-4, 4-1 SEC) manufactured the game’s first run in the top of the third. Nolan McCarthy sparked the scoring opportunity with a leadoff double against Pimental, before the Wildcats employed some small ball to push the run across the plate with back-to-back sacrifice bunts by Ty Crittenberger and Grant Smith.

Mizzou responded with a rally in the home half, taking advantage of a one-out Jackson Lovich triple and Trevor Austin’s squeeze bunt to knot the score at 1-1. With two out, Jedier Hernandez lined a hot shot past Mitchell Daly at third, and a hard-charging Austin raced all the way home from first with the go-ahead run.

The Wildcats had an opportunity to answer in the fourth, putting three straight batters aboard after Pimental easily recorded the first two outs in the inning. A hit batsman, followed by singles from Ryan Nicholson and McCarthy loaded the bases, but Pimental kept UK off the board by inducing a rally-killing bouncer to shortstop.

After a 1-2-3 fifth inning, Pimental worked around a one-out, sixth-inning single and a stolen base that put the potential tying run in scoring position. Mayer picked up where the left-hander left off, retiring four straight UK hitters – two via strikeouts – to start his day, and stranding the tying run in the eighth. He closed out the victory and his first career save with a perfect ninth inning, stopping a string of eight consecutive losses to SEC foes by the Tigers.

Mayer allowed just one hit while fanning four batters over his 3.0 scoreless innings.

UK starter Dom Niman (4-2) struck out nine Tigers and allowed just two runs on five hits in a losing effort. McCarthy led the Wildcats at the plate with a 2-for-4 afternoon.


  • With its first win over the Wildcats since April 16, 2022, Mizzou improved to 14-19 all-time vs. Kentucky.
  • Pimental recorded five strikeouts for the fourth time in five appearances this season.
  • Lovich tripled for an SEC-leading third time this season to spark the Tigers’ third-inning rally.
  • Jeric Curtis saw his five-game hit streak end with and 0-for-3 afternoon.
  • Hernandez has now logged at least one hit in nine of his last 10 contests.
  • The victory gave Mizzou its first win over a Top 25 club since April 7, 2023, when it defeated No. 4 Vanderbilt, 5-4, at Taylor Stadium.
  • A victory in Sunday’s series finale with give the Tigers their first SEC series win since May 12-14, 2023, when they swept Georgia at home.
  • The Tigers played error-free baseball for the 10th time this season, but for just the second time in their five SEC contests.

The Tigers and Wildcats will wrap up the weekend with the rubber match of their series Sunday (March 24) with an 11 a.m. contest that will be televised live on the SEC Network.

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This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics