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Kentucky Drops Game Three At #13 UNC

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

The BatCats came from behind but could not trump North Carolina’s offense early as the Tar Heels won 5-4 to sweep Kentucky. Logan Salow pitched five scoreless innings in relief and Riley Mahan clubbed a two-run home run, but North Carolina held off the Cats to complete the three game sweep.

Recap

Logan Warmoth got the offense started early for the Tar Heels. With one out in the first, Warmoth took Justin Lewis deep for the first home run of the series. Lewis struggled early and often in his first start of the season. The sophomore allowed a two-run bomb from Tyler Lynn in the second inning. Through two innings, UK was already trailing 3-0 to the #13 Tar Heels.

Much like yesterday, the Cats answered back. Connor Heady doubled home Troy Squires to get UK on the board in the top of the third. With two outs, Mahan pulled a fastball from Luca Dalatri into the trees in right field. Mahan’s seventh career home run tied the game at three.

Lewis came back out in the third and could not find a groove. Salow entered the game with no outs and two on after Lewis balked in a run. Salow allowed one inherited runner to score before shutting the door in the third. Lewis allowed five runs in two innings while allowing three walks and four hits.

Kentucky would get one of those runs back in the top of the fourth when Squires grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Marcus Carson. Salow would come back out and dominant for four more innings. The senior threw five shutout innings in relief, allowing only six baserunners and striking out two. UK struggled to find any offense with Salow on the mound. Dalatri settled down following the third and fourth innings. In his first career start, Dalatri went seven innings and struck out five. The Cats had reached base in every inning until the 7th when Daltri shut down UK for the first time.

Once again, UK had an opportunity to win in the 9th when trailing by one. Josh Hiatt picked up his third consecutive save as he shut down the Cats in order in the 9th. 

Game Notes

Kentucky’s bullpen was excellent this weekend. With no starter going further than five innings, the bullpen needed to have a big weekend. UNC scored a combined one earned run (three runs total) on UK relievers. Logan Salow had five scoreless innings today to keep UK in the game.

Tristan Pompey collected his first hits of the season. The athletic outfielder had several hard hit balls that fell into a shift in the first two games of the series. Pompey went 2/4 today with a pair of singles.

The Cats held close but couldn’t find a win. The three losses this weekend were by a combined four runs. In each game, UK had the tying run at the plate in the 9th inning but couldn’t put together a late rally. It’s a tough way to open the season, but there are positives from this weekend. The bullpen exceeded expectations and we saw that the offense doesn’t back down when they get behind.

The Cats are back at it on Wednesday. UK will play three games in Virginia starting with a 3 ET first pitch at Liberty.

 

Article written by Trey Huntsman

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