Kentucky (23-16) picked up its fourth straight win at the expense of the Xavier Musketeers Tuesday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Led by starting pitcher Kyle Cody and left fielder Ka’ai Tom, the Cats cruised to a 6-1 victory in a game that was never really in doubt.
UK’s bats were alive as the Cats jumped out to a comfortable 6-0 lead in the first four innings, including a three-run fourth inning sparked by Zach Arnold’s leadoff double. After Connor Heady was hit by a pitch, Kyle Barrett singled up the middle to score Arnold. Tom then returned the favor with a single of his own to drive in Barrett. Later, Storm Wilson drew a walk with the bases loaded, bringing in Evan White for the final run of the game.
Xavier is just 10-30 this season, but here are some key takeaways:
1. It was great to see Kyle Cody perform well on the mound. Cody was relieved of his duties as a weekend starter in the series sweep of Tennessee as he has had a less-than-stellar season thus far. However, the Cats could really benefit from Cody’s intimidating presence against SEC opponents in the coming weeks, so regaining some confidence is important. In his third win of the year, Cody finished tonight’s game with three strikeouts and one walk on 51 pitches in four shutout innings.
2. Ka’ai Tom is a problem for opposing pitchers. Also, the sky is blue and grass is green. His two-out double in the first inning, leadoff single in the third, and RBI single in the fourth further proves that Tom is the catalyst for the Cats’ offense. Tom went 3-for-4 at the dish with one RBI, two runs scored, and a walk in the win and improved his season batting average to .386.
3. Now it gets real for Kentucky. The Cats desperately needed to build off the momentum of the Tennessee sweep with a convincing win over Xavier as they gear up for a stiff road trip to the Swamp to face No. 6 Florida (32-10, 12-6). The Gators have one of the deeper teams in America and are currently in first place in the SEC East standings. At 8-9 in SEC play, UK is only 3.5 games back from the division lead and could shake things up with a series win. But regardless of what happens in Gainesville, the Cats can’t blink as their postseason fate most likely hinges on how they perform against No. 13 Vanderbilt, Georgia, No. 14 Missouri, and a midweek matchup with No. 4 Louisville.
— KYwildcatsTV (@KYwildcatsTV) April 22, 2015