The #16 BatCats (20-7, 6-1) continued their streak of hot hitting with a 10-3 win over Vanderbilt (17-9, 3-3) on Friday night. Sean Hjelle did not allow an earned run in seven innings as Tristan Pompey went 3/4 with a three-run home run in the win. Kentucky has now won 12 of their last 13 games.
For years, Vanderbilt’s pitching has been their mainstay. This year is no different as the Dores brought a great rotation to Lexington. Patrick Raby came into the game with six earned runs allowed in over thirty innings this season. The Cats hung six earned runs and seven total in the first three innings against Raby. Kentucky’s offense attacked early in the second by loading the bases with a heavy left-handed lineup. Troy Squires got an RBI hit by pitch to give UK their first lead of the game. Marcus Carson and Evan White followed with RBI singles as Raby labored to get the second out of the inning. Zach Reks delivered a fielder’s choice ground out to score one as a second run jogged home on an error. The Cats lead 5-0 through two frames.
Kentucky added two more runs in the third on a pair of RBI sac bunts by Tyler Marshall and Connor Heady. The seven early runs were more than enough run support for Hjelle. The sophomore did not allow a hit until the sixth inning of tonight’s game. Hjelle tied his career high with nine strikeouts over seven innings. All three of his runs were unearned in his fourth win of the season.
Tristan Pompey made sure that Vanderbilt was buried late in the game. Pompey hit an absolute bomb over the left field wall in the sixth inning to give UK a 10-1 lead. It was an impressively long shot by Pompey, so much so that he stood in the batter’s box and admired the dinger. It was his third hit of the game and his third home run in 2017.
The Dores added two runs in the seventh on a Jason Delay home run off the left field foul pole. The seventh was Hjelle’s final inning as he handed the ball to Chris Machamer for the final two innings. The former Vanderbilt commit struck out three in two innings to close out a 10-3 win for the BatCats.
The offense is on another level now- Seven different players drove in runs in tonight’s win. The Cats did everything right at the plate and on the basepaths. Tonight’s six runs bumped Raby’s ERA up by a full point as he doubled his runs allowed in the loss.
Evan White is the glue of this team- Everything seems to flow a lot smoother when White is in the lineup. He made a couple of fantastic plays at first base to save errant throws. White also went 2/5 with an RBI as he is now batting .417 in 14 games.
The Cats are first in the East- With South Carolina falling to Auburn, UK (6-1) is in sole possession of first in the SEC East. Kentucky will look to add onto their lead tomorrow at 2 ET against Vandy. UK has not won a series against Vandy since 2009, so it could be a huge day for Coach Mingione and the Cats.
— KYwildcatsTV (@KYwildcatsTV) April 1, 2017