Trailing by four runs going into the eighth inning, the Kentucky baseball team rallied to tie the game, and pinch-hitter Thomas Bernal knocked in two runs with a single up the middle in the ninth to send the Cats to an 11-10 victory at University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C., on Monday afternoon.
UK (3-0 and ranked eighth in the country) had a 6-2 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning before the Spartans scored eight unanswered runs over the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to take a 10-6 lead.
Second baseman J.T. Riddle, who was 6-for-6 Sunday, got the Cats started in the eighth with a solo home run, his ninth hit in his last nine at bats.
Kentucky then loaded the bases before Max Kuhn scored on a wild pitch. Michael Thomas then drilled a grounder up the middle that was misplayed, and Lucas Witt and Matt Reida scored to tie it at 10-10.
"A lot of things to like today," UK Coach Gary Henderson said. "Being down four on the road and coming back and getting four in the eighth and one in the ninth is a really positive thing for the kids."
Riddle was 2 for 3 with two RBI and a walk and is hitting .786 (11-for-14) through three games. He has three doubles, one triple, one homer and six RBI.
"My mentality was just to stay with the things that I had been doing right," Riddle said about his thinking before he hit the homer. "I have been seeing the ball well. ..."
"Definitely a big win, especially early in the season to get a win like that under our belt," said Riddle, who was a star at Western Hills High in Frankfort. He described the victory as a "big confidence booster for us."
Former Tates Creek standout Trevor Gott pitched two shutout innings to get the victory. He allowed one hit and one walk.
"He pretty much dominated the strike zone," Henderson said about Gott. "It wasn't super clean, he had the one walk. ... He was a little amped up, obviously with the first outing of the year for him he was a little excited. He had a baserunner in both innings and kept his poise and did a good job."
"I was just trying to get three outs, because I knew that our team would come up and get a run for me to go out and close out the win," Gott said. "(I) just wanted to come out and get three outs to help the team win."