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Big Blue Bombs Lead BatCats To Series Win Over South Carolina

UK Athletics


UK Athletics

The bats were hot today at Cliff Hagan Stadium. #9 Kentucky (22-10) hit four home runs to run away from an upset-minded South Carolina 10-5. The Sunday afternoon victory gave the BatCats their second SEC series win of the season and improved their conference record to 5-7.

After being beat 15-1 by the Gamecocks yesterday, today’s offensive performance was much closer to UK’s 14-1 win on Friday. The BatCats collected 13 hits and hit .500 with runners on base.

The offense attacked against South Carolina early and often in the series finale. Tristan Pompey and Troy Squires opened the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back home runs against USC starter Ridge Chapman. Pompey and Squires were two of the four different players that hit home runs for UK today.

The early bombs gave a good lift for Justin Lewis on the mound. Pitching with a 2-0 lead, Lewis allowed one hit through the first three innings. Unfortunately for Lewis, the one hit was a solo home run by Carlos Cortes that put the Gamecocks on the board in the third inning. Lewis’ luck would only get worse in the following inning. The Gamecocks manufactured a run on an error, a walk, a wild pitch, and an RBI groundout that tied the game at two.

After the hard-luck inning for Lewis, his offense picked him up once again in the bottom of the fourth. Much like USC did in the top half of the inning, the Cats manufactured runs in a variety of ways. Alex Rodriguez and Ben Aklinski reached base on a pair of free passes before Trey Dawson bunted them into scoring position. Moving up the runners would prove to be important as Aklinski would score on the first of three wild pitches by USC pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski. Pompey would drive in Rodriguez on an RBI single before scoring a run himself on a wild pitch to put the Cats ahead 5-2.

The small ball put the Cats in front, but it was the long ball that helped them pull away. Leading 5-3 in the sixth, UK got big-time production from their two Luke’s. With one out in the inning, Luke Heyer hit his SEC-leading 13th home run to drive in three runs. Not to be outdone, birthday-boy Luke Becker followed with a solo home run of his own to put the Cats in front 9-3 against the Carolina bullpen.

South Carolina made it interesting in the seventh inning. With Carson Coleman on the mound, the Gamecocks collected a pair of RBI singles from Matt Williams and Riley Hogan to cut UK’s lead to four. The Cats went to their closer Chris Machamer who would stop the bleeding when he retired Hunter Taylor to end the frame.

Machamer was unbelievable from the seventh inning on. In a game of high-powered offenses, Machamer was the silencer. The UK closer did not allow a hit in 2.1 scoreless innings to collect his third save of the season. Aklinski added a sacrifice fly in the eighth before Machamer slammed the door on a 10-5 win.

Sunday’s win showed how good this offense can be when they are clicking. All nine starters for UK reached base at least once and eight of the nine picked up at least one hit. The four-homer day boosted the Cats to their 22nd win on the season. The offensive onslaught could not have come at a better time. After the atrocious weekend at Alabama, UK went 3-1 this week with three wins against teams in the top 60 in RPI.

Article written by Trey Huntsman

The KSR Baseball guy. Follow me on Twitter @TreyHuntsmanSEC.

1 Comment for Big Blue Bombs Lead BatCats To Series Win Over South Carolina

  1. runningunnin.454
    7:21 am April 9, 2018 Permalink

    Nasty beanball…glad Rodriguez was o.k.