No. 8 Kentucky baseball drops series opener to No. 2 Arkansas in battle for SEC supremacy

Second-ranked Arkansas opened its baseball series at No. 8 Kentucky on Friday night with a statement win.

That statement was the Razorbacks securing sole possession of the best record in the Southeastern Conference this season, a title the Wildcats had claimed for weeks entering Kentucky Derby weekend at Kentucky Proud Park.

Arkansas ace Hagen Smith (9-0) struck out 14 Wildcats in six innings to lead the Razorbacks to a 10-3 victory in front of 4,742 fans in Lexington.

Arkansas broke a 1-1 deadlock with three runs in the sixth inning and another six in the seventh en route to its third straight win and 10th in its last 12 games.

The Razorbacks improved to 40-7 overall and 17-5 in SEC play.

The Wildcats, losers for the fifth time in six games, dropped to 33-10 overall and 16-6 in the league, still good enough for first place in the SEC East Division.

Kentucky scraped together only three hits against Smith and one each off relievers Will McEntire and Dylan Carter.

Devin Burkes led Kentucky with two hits and an RBI. Ryan Waldschmidt drove in a run with a double.

Trey Pooser (3-1) started and took the loss on the mound for UK, allowing three runs on four hits while striking out four and walking four in 5 1/3 innings.

UK and Arkansas were to continue their series with a 2 p.m. game Saturday and a 1 p.m. start Sunday at Kentucky Proud Park. Both games were to be streamed live on SEC Network Plus.