It was an up and down weekend for the BatCats (2-5) as they picked up their first two wins of the season behind some brilliant offensive performances. Kentucky outscored their opponents by 22 runs over the road trip, but still went 2-2. There were plenty of positives to look at over the weekend. Here’s a refresher on the four games in Virginia and much more in our first Call to the Bullpen of 2017.
Liberty 5 Kentucky 4- It was Kentucky’s third one run loss of the young season as the Flames scored three in the fifth inning to take a 5-3 lead and never looked back. Zack Thompson started the first game of his career, going 4.2 innings and allowing four runs and striking out eight. Kentucky dropped to 0-4 following the close loss.
Kentucky 16 St. Joseph’s 9- The first win of the Nick Mingione era came with an offensive outburst. Kentucky had ten walks and fourteen hits in a blowout win. Zach Pop was excellent and got the win for the Cats. For the full recap, click here.
Kentucky 19 Old Dominion 2- The BatCats exploded for double digit runs once again on Saturday. UK scored crooked numbers in five different innings to whoop ODU by 17. Marcus Carson and Tristan Pompey led the team with three hits a piece while Zach Logue allowed one run over six innings on the mound.
Delaware 4 Kentucky 3- This is the head-scratcher to start the season. Justin Lewis threw seven shutout innings for UK and left with a three-run lead in the eighth. UK’s defense faltered as four runs came across in the bottom of the eighth. Evan White returned from injury and had two hits and an RBI in the loss. Lewis allowed two hits and walked one in the best start of his career.
Notes from the week
Reks continues to rake- Zach Reks looks like a premier hitter early in the season. After a breakout season in 2016, the Air Force transfer hasn’t experienced any drop off in 2017. Reks is hitting .414 with an incredible .513 OBP. He has been as good of a leadoff hitter as Kentucky has had since Austin Cousino.
Marcus Carson leads the team in hits- Carson has to be the most improved player early in the season. The senior has 13 hits in 26 at bats with six RBIs and three stolen bases. Carson has a hit in each of the team’s seven games.
– Kevin Saal (@kevinsaal) February 25, 2017
Evan White back in the lineup- White missed five games with a leg injury before returning on Sunday. The All-American has two hits in each of his two starts this season. White went 2/2 with a double, RBI, and two walks on Sunday.
There was a large improvement in pitching this weekend- Justin Lewis pitched like an ace against Delaware with seven shutout innings. Zach Logue allowed one run in six innings against Old Dominion. Sean Hjelle still struggled on Friday when he allowed nine runs before being relieved by Zach Pop.
Young pitchers have dominated out of the pen- Between Pop, Thompson, and Chris Machamer, there is plenty to be excited about for the future. Pop and Machamer combined for 4.2 innings and six strikeouts to shutout St. Joe’s out of the pen. Thompson’s eight strikeouts were impressive in only 4.2 innings on Friday. All three players are prime prospects for the MLB Draft in the next few years.
Cats in the Pros
Joe Blanton still has not signed with a team for 2017. The veteran relief pitcher says he won’t sign for less than his 2016 salary. J.T Riddle is a favorite to be a utility player for the Marlins in 2017. Riddle is currently on the big league roster for Spring Training. Collin Cowgill signed with the Padres on a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Chandler Shepard was ranked as the 15th overall prospect in the Red Sox system.
The week ahead
Kentucky has five home games this week against non-conference opponents. After midweek games against EKU and WKU, the Cats host UC Santa Barbara this weekend. UCSB is a projected regional team that found themselves in Omaha last year. The preseason #23 team in the country is 4-3 and return several key players from 2016. The biggest name is Sam Cohen. Why? Because he eliminated Louisville last season with this swing.
This is real…
– NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 12, 2016
Our first baseball podcast is coming this week on iTunes. The show will be recorded on Tuesday with Trey Huntsman and Keith Madison. It will hit on every level of baseball and should be a great addition to our coverage. If you have questions or comments, send them to @TreyHuntsmanKSR for this week’s show.