#2 Louisville stymied #8 Kentucky’s powerful offensive attack for the first eight innings of a 5-3 win on Tuesday night. A ninth inning rally was not enough for the BatCats to complete the comeback after falling behind 5-0 through three frames.
UK appeared to look a little tense early on. The Cats put runners in scoring position in the first three innings but never could get a big hit to bring them in. Louisville did not have that problem. With seven runners reaching base with two outs, Louisville hung four early runs on Kentucky starter Zack Thompson. The freshman starter retired the first two batters in both the first and second innings before Louisville got to him. Thompson struck out the first two batters of the game but an error forced him to remain on the mound in the first. Louisville capitalized on the unforced error and hung two quick runs on a Drew Ellis double. Devin Hairston drove in two more runs for the Cards in the second inning on a double to the wall.
Thompson allowed a fifth run in the third inning as Brad Schaenzer took over. Schaenzer shut down Louisville for 2.1 innings to keep Kentucky in the game. Following another productive performance by Schaenzer, Austin Keen, Colton Cleary, and Chris Machamer pitched an inning a piece to shut out Louisville over the final three frames.
Louisville used five different pitchers to shut out UK over the first eight innings. The Cats had plenty of opportunities to score in run-producing situations. Evan White doubled twice but was never brought home from second. It wasn’t until the ninth inning that UK found their clutch gene.
With one away in the ninth, Marcus Carson and Gunnar McNeill both singled and Connor Heady walked to load the bases. Tristan Pompey drove in UK’s first run with an infield single that reloaded the bases. Zach Reks collected his 21st and 22nd RBIs on a hard single past Brendan McKay at first base to get UK within two. With Storm Wilson up, Kentucky had the go-ahead run at the plate. UK decided to send Reks to second and he was caught stealing to end the game.
The Cats are now 21-9 after falling to Louisville 5-3. The going doesn’t get any easier as UK travels to Starkville to take on #22 Mississippi State this weekend.