Last weekend, Tristan Pompey tweeted that “I would say the bat cats are finally coming together… Perfect Timing.” Pompey must have known what was coming. #18 Kentucky (34-18, 13-14) won for the fourth time in five games tonight when they took down Murray State by a score of 14-2.
Pompey collected four hits including a grand slam and two doubles to lead the charge for the Cats. UK outscored the Racers 13-0 from the fifth inning on tonight. The win over MSU gave UK their 18th game of the season where their offense scored double-digit runs.
The Racers had UK’s number early. On the mound, MSU starter Peyton Hayes did a good job in the first three innings stranding runners and keeping the Cats off the scoreboard. UK left four men on base in the first three innings against Hayes. While UK was struggling to score runs, the Racers struck first blood in the third inning. Ryan Perkins singled to give MSU the 1-0 lead after three.
UK tied the game in the top of the fourth when Ben Aklinski hit his sixth home run of the season. Aklinski went 2/4 with three RBIs tonight. The JUCO product now has ten hits in the last five games.
Murray State would strike once again against UK starter Brad Schaenzer. Jaron Robinson drove in the Racers’ second run of the day to chase Schaenzer and take a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
The Racers gave a valiant effort early, but the BatCats woke up in the fifth inning. Kole Cottam continued to rake when he hit his 17th home run of the season to put UK in front 3-2. Cottam’s homer would start a 13-0 scoring run for the Cats. Pompey ripped a grand slam in the sixth inning to put the Cats in front 7-2. The junior outfielder now has multiple hits in six of his last seven games.
— KYwildcatsTV (@KYwildcatsTV) May 16, 2018
Troy Squires would drive in UK’s 8th run of the day before MSU could get out of the sixth inning. The bats would stay hot for the Cats late in the game as well. Luke Becker drove in a run in the top of the eighth before UK’s tenth run came home on wild pitch. The white-hot Aklinski drove in two runs on an RBI triple as UK extended their lead to ten. With UK in search of a run-rule victory, the 12-2 lead would have sufficed. But Trey Dawson decided the ten-run lead was not enough when he drove in two more runs to take a 14-2 lead.
Trailing big late in the game, Murray State struggled to find any success at the plate against the UK bullpen. Mason Hazelwood pitched two shutout innings in route to his first career win. The Cats’ bullpen did not allow a run in 4.1 innings tonight.
It appeared tonight that every piece of UK’s team was firing on all cylinders. The offense gave their pitching staff more than enough support as the arms quieted the Racers tonight. Pompey’s tweet may be coming true after all.
The Cats will continue their road trip this weekend against Vanderbilt in Nashville. The three-game series will start on Thursday and continue through Saturday.