Coming off a huge SEC series sweep at Auburn last weekend, the Kentucky baseball team returned to Lexington tonight to take on the in-state Bellarmine Knights.
The Knights found the scoreboard first. Clayton Mehlbauer took advantage of the wind with a solo home run to left field in the first inning giving Bellarmine a 1-0 lead.
Top 1 | ?? GOODBYE BASEBALL ??
Clayton Mehlbauer goes yard ???
UK 0, BU 1 pic.twitter.com/OyueLywGNC
— Bellarmine Knights Baseball (@BUKnightsBSB) March 30, 2021
The ‘Cats wouldn’t trail for long, though.
John Rhodes smashed a two RBI bomb in the bottom of the inning to give Kentucky a one-run lead. It was a big night for Rhodes, who went on to drive in a third run in the bottom of the second with a SAC fly to left field that just barely stayed in play. It was Rhodes’ sixth Big Blue Bomb of the season.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) March 30, 2021
The ‘Cats pushed another run through thanks to a Chase Estep triple in the bottom of the sixth. Ryan Ritter drove him home with a single, extending the Kentucky lead to 4-2.
The Wildcat pitching looked good tonight, as well. Alex Degen started on the mound. After giving up the homer in the first, Degen managed to settle down. He didn’t give up another hit and struck out three batters before heading to the dugout. Ramsey came in to close it down and get his first win of the season.
Kentucky’s first error gave Bellarmine a run in the top of the seventh, cutting the lead to one. The Knights couldn’t finish the job, though, and the ‘Cats took the game 4-3.
Though Kentucky was picked to finish near last in the SEC, the gritty ‘Cats have more than beat the odds thus far this season. Last weekend’s trio of wins was the first conference sweep for UK since 2017, only the second road sweep since 2008 and just the 13th sweep of an SEC series since 2000.
The Wildcats will face their biggest challenge of the season this weekend as they travel to Starkville to take on No. 7 Mississippi State, who dropped in the polls this week after being swept by No. 2 Arkansas. Though the ‘Cats did received votes, they did not make the USA Today Coaches Poll this week.
First pitch of the series is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday. The game can be watched on ESPNU or listened to on UK Sports Network.