Kentucky rallied from an early three-run deficit and took the lead for good in the seventh inning Tuesday to post a 9-7 victory over Murray State in its final tune-up before Southeastern Conference play begins this weekend. It was the Wildcats’ 10th consecutive victory at Cliff Hagan Stadium, the longest home winning streak to start a season since 2012.
Junior infielder Tyler Marshall hit an opposite field two-run double down the left field line in the seventh to break a tie and keep the Cats’ perfect start at home intact. Senior left-hander Colton Cleary earned his first victory of the season and lowered his earned run average to 0.64 with 2.2 scoreless innings of relief work and senior lefty Logan Salow earned his second save of the season, striking out Davis Sims to end the game.
The Cats (12-6) have now won 12 of their last 14 games and enter SEC play with momentum, but it didn’t come easily on a sunny and cold day. Murray State used a two-run triple to jump out to a 3-0 lead on freshman left-handed starter Zack Thompson in the first inning, then tagged junior left Brad Schaenzer with his first runs allowed all season (19 innings) on a three-run home run by Brandon Gutzler that tied the game in the sixth inning.
But Marshall, who is drawing the majority of starts at first base with preseason All-American Evan White on the shelf with an injury, used his first extra-base hit of the season to give the Cats the victory.
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Kentucky next travels to Texas A&M for a three-game series at Blue Bell Park. First pitch on Friday is slated for 7 p.m.