The following are highlights of UK’s friday night series opening 4-2 win by KSR College’s David Mulloy:
Kentucky got on the board in the second on a two out double by Thomas McCarthy that scored Michael Williams and A.J. Reed. Alabama would respond and tie the game in the next half inning behind three hits, a walk, and a Wildcat error. The Cats would retake the lead in the third as the first two batters of the inning, Austin Cousino and Zac Zellers, reached base and were driven in on a fielder’s choice by Maile and a ground-out by Riddle to put UK back on top for good at 4-2. The Alabama bullpen pitched 5(1/3) shutout innings but the Cats had all the runs they needed with Rogers and Phillips on the mound.
Wildcat starter Taylor Rogers shook off a couple of rocky early innings to turn in one of his best starts in conference play. The junior left-hander allowed singles to the first two batters of the game but then induced a pop out and started a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning. Rogers only blemish came in the third inning when he allowed two runs to score on three hits and a walk. After that inning Rogers allowed one hit, a two out double in the sixth, and retired 15 of the 16 batters he faced. Rogers said after the game, “At the beginning of the game I didn’t have much body control and not much of a plan but I think moving on forward in the game it got better.” In all Rogers worked seven innings and allowed two runs on seven hits while fanning four in his sixth victory of the year. Alex Phillips pitched perfect eighth and ninth innings to secure the win for the Cats and notch his sixth save on the season.
Game 2 Recap:
Because of inclement weather predicted for Sunday, the Cats and Crimson Tide played a double-header this afternoon, which moved up Senior Day festivities originally scheduled for Sunday. UK honored Seniors Thomas McCarthy, Alex Phillips, and Michael Williams before the game. Also, would-be senior Alex Meyer, a 2011 1st-round draft pick for the Washington Nationals, threw out the first pitch to his old catcher, Michael Williams. Meyer was able to be in town on what would have been his own Senior Day because his Class-A Hagerstown Suns were in town to face the Legends this week. You can check out pictures of the Senior Day festivities by clicking right here.
The seniors got plenty of action on their big day. In Game 1, UK starting pitcher Jerad Grundy was removed from the game with a 1-0 lead in the 6th after being hit by a line drive ball hit back to the mound. The ball hit Grundy just below his left wrist, his throwing arm, and the seams of the ball left and impression on his skin. This brought up the opportunity for UK senior relief pitcher Alex Phillips to enter the game. The workhorse senior reliever leads UK’s bullpen in innings pitched this season. In today’s first game, he worked two innings, allowing five hits and five runs, but only one earned run, walking one and striking out two.
Alabama built up a 5-1 lead after 6 and a half innings due to a couple of costly UK errors and well placed hits, but in typical fashion of this year’s UK baseball team, they would come back in late innings. In the bottom of the 7th, UK fired back with 5 runs of their own to take a 6-5 lead. Alabama would tie up the game in the 8th, but UK would come back with another run of their own. Zac Zellers was walked for an SEC-leading 19th time this season to start the inning off. Alabama proceeded to walk the next two batters to load the bases up. Fittingly, it was Michael Williams on Senior Day who was walked in for what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the eighth. UK’s third senior, Thomas McCarthy also had a big game, going 2-for-4. In the 9th inning, Trevor Gott struck out 3 batters for his 10th save of the season and secured the series win.
Game 3 Recap:
Through the first 5 innings in the second game of today’s double-header, UK held a tight 2-1 lead in their attempt to sweep the Crimson Tide. The Cats added 2 runs in the 6th, 3 in the 7th, and 1 in the 8th to take an 8-1 lead to cruise to the victory and series sweep of Alabama. In their last 3 trips to the plate, UK smacked 3 home runs off the bats’ of senior Thomas McCarthy, UK football player Brian Adams, and freshman star Austin Cousino.
UK starting pitcher Corey Littrel picked up the win and is now a perfect 8-0 on the season. It was a breakout game for Adams, the 2-sport star, who had struggled getting his swing back following last football season. Adams is believed to have potential for a professional future in baseball, but has only made it into UK’s starting lineup 4 times this season. Two of Adams’ four starts on the season were this afternoon. All he did was record 4 hits, a double, a HR, and 3 RBI. He said after the game that his swing has never felt better and he declined to comment on his future with the football team.
After the Cats sweep of the Crimson Tide and South Carolina’s loss to Georgia, the Cats hold a half-game lead over South Carolina for first place in the SEC East. At worst, UK will be tied with the Gamecocks for first in the East after tomorrow’s USC-UGA game. With a USC loss tomorrow, UK will hold a 1-game lead heading into the final week of the season.