After a mid-afternoon scare, it’s time to exhale. Western Carolina (3-28) gave #9 Kentucky (23-10) all they wanted, but their upset bid fell short as the Cats won 7-5.
The Cats jumped out to a 4-0 lead before WCU battled back to tie the game in the sixth inning. After the Catamounts tied the game, Luke Becker put UK back in front for good with a solo home run in the seventh.
The go-ahead home run came after several dramatic innings. UK watched as their early 4-0 lead shrunk throughout the middle innings. Daniel Harper allowed two runs to score in the fourth inning before Brad Schaenzer allowed another run in the fifth as the Catamounts trimmed the lead to one.
The Cats got back on the board on an RBI groundout from Troy Squires, but WCU was still in attack mode. Caleb Robinson welcomed UK reliever Jimmy Ramsey with a solo home run in the sixth inning. The bleeding would not stop as the Catamounts tied the game on a Will Prater single later in the inning.
For UK, flashes of their early season loss to Northern Kentucky had to be going through their minds. The only difference between that game and tonight was the UK offense bounced to take the lead. Shortly after the Catamounts tied the game, Becker launched his fifth home run of the season to give UK a 6-5 lead. The Cats would score a second run in the seventh inning on a run-scoring double play that put them in front 7-5.
After some rough performances out of the pen in the middle innings, Carson Coleman and Chris Machamer shut down the final 3.2 innings with no issues. Coleman struck out four in 2.2 scoreless innings before handing the ball to Machamer for the ninth inning. Machamer allowed one man to reach in the ninth but stranded him at second as he picked up his fifth save of the season.
The upset was avoided today thanks to a loud performance by Alex Rodriguez. The JUCO transfer went 4-5 with three doubles and two RBIs to lead the charge in Tuesday’s win. Tuesday was Rodriguez’s first multi-hit and multi-RBI game of his UK career. Not bad for a dude that had five career hits entering the game.
Are you kidding me???!!@arodszn smokes a double to the wall in LCF, his third of the game. He’s 4-for-4 with three doubles, two runs, two RBI and a run-saving defensive play.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) April 11, 2018
The 7-5 win was another close call for the Cats in a midweek game. But in the RPI rankings, a win is a win. Kentucky will be back in action this weekend at Georgia for a three-game series starting at 7 ET on Friday.