It wasn’t pretty, but Kentucky took game one of the season series against Louisville on Tuesday night. The #9 BatCats (20-9) beat #24 Louisville (19-9) 8-5 in a sloppy game that consisted of eight combined errors by the two teams. UK used six hits, eight walks, five hit by pitches, and three UL errors to hand the Cards their second non-conference loss of the season.
Before the record-breaking crowd of 4,798 could settle in, Louisville had taken a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. The lead was short-lived as Luke Heyer would respond in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI double that scored a pair of runs against Louisville starter Riley Thompson.
Heyer’s double was just the beginning of the early back and forth scoring between these two clubs. Josh Stowers put the Cards back in front with a two-RBI single in the second inning. UL had taken their second lead of the game, but the Cats battled back again in the bottom half of the second.
The Cats loaded the bases in the second on a pair of walks and a hit by pitch. Tristan Pompey took advantage of the first good pitch to hit in the inning and served an RBI single to left to score two runs. A third run came across on a throwing error by Justin Lavey to give UK a 5-3 lead after two innings.
Lavey’s error was only a sign of things to come. The teams combined for eight errors and three unearned runs in Tuesday’s game. The Cats would add their second unearned run of the night in the fourth inning when Ben Aklinski reached second on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error before coming home on a single by Luke Becker.
Louisville’s pitching staff could not get out of their own way tonight. The Cards’ hit five batters and walked eight in the loss. The UK offense is built to take advantage of mistakes made by their opponent, and that is just what they did in tonight’s win. UL continued to struggle with control in the fifth inning. Michael Kirian plunked the first two batters of the inning and new pitcher Roban Martin entered and walked the first batter he faced to load the bases. Pompey walked to score a run before Squires singled in the Cats’ eighth run of the game.
RBI single by Squires makes it 8-4. pic.twitter.com/EQp3tlVrtq
— Trey Huntsman (@TreyHuntsmanKSR) April 3, 2018
The slopfest would continue in the top of the seventh with UK leading 8-4. Thanks to a pair of errors by UK, Louisville cut the Cats’ lead to three. Chris Machamer entered in the seventh and stranded three Cardinal baserunners.
Machamer stayed on the mound for the final two innings as Kentucky finished off an 8-5 win over their in-state rivals. It wasn’t the best performance by the BatCats, but they used good at-bats and a variety of mistakes by Louisville to take the first game of the season series.
Stay tuned for more from Nick Mingione after the game.