The BatCats kept the good times rolling on Tuesday after their series win over Auburn last weekend. #6 Kentucky (18-7) beat Miami (Ohio) 13-7 to open their week. Daniel Harper gave UK his best start of the season on the mound as he struck out six in six shutout innings in his second win of the season.
Harper came into the game with an ERA over eight, but he lowered that average by nearly two points in tonight’s win. The Cats’ offense gave Harper enough support that he could feel comfortable on the mound. The BatCats scored double digits on Tuesday for the 12th time this season. Ryan Johnson (4/5, 2 RBIs) led the charge for an offense tallied 14 hits in their 18th win of the season. Along with Johnson, Tristan Pompey, Ben Aklinski, and T.J Collett all collected multiple hits.
With Harper cruising on the mound, UK’s offense came to life in the third inning. Pompey and Luke Becker hit RBI doubles to give UK an early 3-0 lead. The BatCats would add single runs in the fourth and fifth before the wheels fell off for Miami’s pitchers. The Redhawks threw three wild pitches that scored three runs in the sixth inning as UK took a 10-0 lead.
Harper exited following the sixth inning. The freshman gave the Cats his best start of the season and proved that they have a talented arm for midweeks. The six-inning start was Harper’s career-high. The Redhawks managed only four baserunners against the freshman stud.
After Harper exited, though, the struggles began. UK’s relievers allowed seven runs with one out in the seventh. Miami used an error, walk, two doubles, and a hit by pitch to make UK sweat late. Carson Coleman came on as the fourth pitcher of the inning and recorded the final two outs of the frame. Coleman and Jimmy Ramsey would combine to strike out the final seven batters of the game to end Miami’s hopes of a late-inning rally.
Miami’s rally was enough to make UK worry for a moment, but the Cats’ offense came to life to score three runs in the bottom of the eight to win by a score of 13-7.
For the Cats, it was a relief to see that Harper can handle midweek starts with the amount of poise he showed tonight. He carried the team to their 18th win of the season on Tuesday.