Justin Lewis went seven inning of one-run ball to lead Kentucky to a series win over Ole Miss. After a 4-2 victory last night, the BatCats won 4-1 in today’s rubber match. UK now sits at 18-7 on the season after winning five of their first six SEC games.
It can’t be underestimated how important it is to have a great Sunday starter in the SEC. With so many series coming down to the final game, the Sunday start can be the deciding factor in whether or not a team wins a series. Lewis has been excellent on the final game of each series the last few weeks. UK’s offense got Lewis run support early when Tristan Pompey doubled and Zach Reks brought him home with an RBI single in the first. Lewis was in cruise control early as Ole Miss did not put a man in scoring position until the fourth inning.
Tyler Marshall flew out to center to score Riley Mahan to give UK a 2-0 lead through four innings. The Cats got to Ole Miss’ bullpen in the fourth as Will Ethridge exited after only three innings. Lewis set the tone through five as the Cats quieted the SEC’s lowest ranked offense. The Rebels lone run came in the sixth inning when Colby Bortles (brother of Jaguars QB Blake Bortles) singled home Ryan Olenek.
Lewis exited after the seventh inning with a line of seven innings, seven hits, one run, no walks, and eight strikeouts. UK got Lewis two more runs of support in the bottom of the seventh. Marshall doubled to lead off the inning and the Rebels booted the ball around enough to get Marshall home on a wild throw. Connor Heady reached second on the error and later scored on a wild pitch to give UK a 4-1 lead through seven.
Zach Pop entered in the eighth and shut down the Rebels in order. Logan Salow would follow suit in the ninth with two strikeouts to end a 4-1 win for the Cats.
Sweeps Texas A&M.
Takes 2 of 3 from Ole Miss.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) March 25, 2017
Logan Salow filling into the closer role- Salow has retired 24 consecutive hitters in relief. UK has searched for a reliable closer since Trevor Gott graduated in 2014, and it appears Salow may be the guy. Salow has not allowed an earned run in 19 innings this season.
Justin Lewis solid again- After picking up the win last Sunday at Texas A&M and a dominating Ole Miss, Lewis is now 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the SEC. Lewis has allowed only six runs in his last four starts this season.
UK is now 5-1 in the SEC- The Cats have won their first five SEC games against ranked teams from the West. For the time being, UK is #1 in the SEC and will at least be tied for the top spot headed into next weekend’s series against Vanderbilt.