Kentucky dropped tonight’s regional game 5-4 to NC State. UK struggled with leaving runners on base early and could not respond to NC State’s three-run fifth inning.
Yesterday’s gritty approach at the plate carried over to the first inning on Saturday. Tristan Pompey singled and advanced to second on an error to start the game. Zach Reks and Luke Becker both walked to load the bases with one out. NC State went to their bullpen with only one out in the first for the second straight game as Sean Adler entered for the Pack. Adler allowed a sac fly from Mahan to score one but stranded the other two runners to end the first.
UK’s stranded runners would soon become the story of the game. After leaving two on in the first, NC State answered with back-to-back home runs to lead off the bottom of the inning. It was the first time UK had trailed in the regional as starter Justin Lewis struggled with command early.
Tristan Pompey tied the game in the third with a solo home run off the scoreboard. It was UK’s first home run since the first game of the SEC Tournament.
Lewis continued to have command issues into the fifth inning. Evan Mendoza tripled past the glove of Marcus Carson in center to score two runs with two outs. Andy Cosgrove singled home Mendoza to give the Pack a 5-2 lead heading into the sixth.
Zach Logue was dominant out of the bullpen but could not match what Adler did for NC State. Adler went 7.2 innings in relief, allowing two runs and striking out five. After Pompey’s homer in the third, the only run Adler allowed came on a Mahan RBI single in the 7th that cut NC State’s lead to two.
Logue held NC State at bay for the final three innings, but it was too little too late. UK’s offense left a lot of men on base early, and a last chance rally fell short. White hit a solo home run in the 9th to make it 5-4, but Austin Staley got Reks to ground out and Kole Cottam to pop out to end the game.
NC State will advance to tomorrow night’s championship, while UK will play tomorrow at 1 ET against Indiana.