Tonight was Northern Kentucky’s night. The Norse of NKU rode into Lexington and upset #6 Kentucky 8-6 in a midweek slate on Wednesday night. The loss ended the Cats’ eight-game winning streak and gave them their second midweek loss of the season.
The Norse may have only beaten UK once in school history, but they showed no fear of their in-state rival tonight. Chad Roberts got the offense rolling early with a solo home run in the second inning to give NKU a 1-0 lead.
UK has proven in 2018 that they can bounce back from an early deficit. Tonight was no different as Ryan Johnson drove in a run on a sac fly and Luke Heyer came around to score on a throwing error as UK took a 2-1 lead. But tonight, the Norse did not back away from the challenge.
The Norse loaded the bases against Brad Schaenzer in the fourth with Jake Richmond at the plate. He took a bad pitch by Schaenzer and drove it over the left-center wall for a grand slam. The Norse kept their foot on the gas following Schaenzer exited after the fourth inning. Against UK’s bullpen, Mike Moffatt, Roberts, and Cole Heavilin all drove in runs as NKU took an 8-2 in the fifth inning.
Sean Williams gave UK all they wanted in five innings of two-run ball tonight. UK worked through NKU’s bullpen after Williams’ exit and showed they had a late comeback in them. T.J Collett and Kole Cottam walked to start the fire in the eighth. NKU pitcher Nick Beard was greeted by Tristan Pompey, who delivered a line-drive three-run home run that cut NKU’s lead in half heading into the ninth.
The ninth inning looked like a repeat of last week’s comeback win against WKU. Troy Squires homered to leadoff the inning and Luke Becker singled to give the Cats a chance to tie the game. But the Norse ended this game the way they started. Joe Martin struck out Kole Cottam and Collett to wrap up an 8-6 upset win for the Norse.
NKU put it all together to upset the Cats for their third win of the season. For UK, they have a day to get past the loss before #3 Texas Tech comes to town this Friday for a three-game set.