Cats shutout No. 18 Georgia to claim road series
ATHENS, Ga. – Facing the potential of an uphill battle over the second half of the conference schedule, No. 8 Kentucky held No. 18 Georgia scoreless over the final 13 innings of Saturday doubleheader, posting a 1-0 win in the nightcap to take the series.
It is the third series win of the season over a ranked opponent and the third on the road against a ranked SEC team in Nick Mingione’s two seasons as head coach. The Cats now have nine wins against ranked teams this season.
The winning rally was fitting for a three-game series that was filled with tension and momentum shifts. Tristan Pompey began the eighth inning with a single and moved to second on Troy Squires’ second sacrifice bunt of the game. After Luke Heyer was intentionally walked, Luke Becker made his first plate appearance of the season batting right-handed and battled his way to a deep fly ball to right field that moved Pompey to third. Kole Cottam connected on a swinging bunt halfway down the third base line that he legged out, allowing Pompey to score.
From there, relievers Jimmy Ramsey, Carson Coleman and Chris Machamer maneuvered around some baserunners to record the final six outs, sending the dugout streaming onto the field in celebration. Justin Lewis once again was lights out when the Cats needed him most, going six scoreless innings to keep Georgia off the board.
In the opener, Georgia used a seven-run third inning and then white-knuckled it over the final three innings to hold on for a 9-7 victory. The Bulldogs had eight straight hits to open the third inning to take a seven-run lead and then held on despite not getting a hit over the final five innings.
SCORING - GAME ONE
Top 1st – Troy Squires walked and scored on Luke Heyer’s double off the LCF wall. UK 1, UGA 0.
Bottom 1st – Tucker Bradley singled and moved to second on Aaron Schunk’s groundout. Michael Curry singled up the middle, scoring Bradley. UK 1, UGA 1.
Bottom 3rd – Bradley and Schunk both singled with two strikes. Keegan McGovern homered to LF. Curry singled up the middle, Cam Shepherd reached on a bunt single and Adam Sasser singled to RF. LJ Talley singled to LF, scoring Curry. Austin Biggar singled to LF, scoring Shepherd and Sasser. Talley scored on a wild pitch. UGA 8, UK 1.
Top 4th – Kole Cottam singled and T.J. Collett reached on an error. Ben Aklinski walked to load the bases. Ryan Johnson hit a SAC fly to RF, scoring Cottam. UGA 8, UK 2.
Bottom 4th – Shepherd homered to CF. UGA 9, UK 2.
Top 5th – Tristan Pompey, Squires and Heyer walked to load the bases. Collett walked, scoring Pompey. UGA 9, UK 3.
Top 7th – Luke Becker singled to RF and scored on Cottam’s home run to RF. Collett homered to RF. UGA 9, UK 6.
Top 8th – Trey Dawson walked and moved to second on Heyer’s single off the third baseman’s glove. Becker singled to CF, scoring Dawson. UGA 9, UK 7.
SCORING - GAME TWO
Top 8th – Tristan Pompey singled to LF and moved to second on Troy Squires’ SAC bunt. Luke Heyer was intentionally walked. Luke Becker flew out to RF, moving Pompey to third. Kole Cottam beat out an infield hit to 3B, scoring Pompey. UK 1, UGA 0.
· With the series win the Cats…
o Picked up third series win over a ranked team this season.
o Now have three road series wins over ranked SEC teams the past two seasons.
o Have nine wins over ranked opponents this season.
o Now have 25 wins this season.
· The pitching staff held Georgia scoreless over the final 13 innings of the series.
· Sophomore RHP Chris Machamer picked up a save in the second game.
o Machamer now has six saves this season and two this week.
o He has five saves and a win in the Cats’ nine April games.
o He has not allowed a run in those games.
· Several Cats extended impressive reached base safely streaks…
o Junior OF Tristan Pompey has reached in 64 of the past 67 games.
o Senior INF Luke Becker has reached in 35 of 36 games. His streak ended in the second game of the doubleheader.
o Senior C/1B Troy Squires has reached in 34 of 36 games this season.
o Junior OF Ben Aklinski has reached in 30 of the last 31 games, including 13 straight.
· Senior C/1B Troy Squires
o He now has 33 sacrifice bunts in his career, which ranks second on UK’s all-time list. He is eight behind Ryan Wilkes.
The Cats travel to Louisville on Tuesday night for a 6 p.m. ET first pitch. The game will air on 630 AM WLAP for radio and the ACC Network.