On a cold Wednesday night in Lexington, the Norse prevailed.
Jake Richmond’s two-out grand slam gave Northern Kentucky University a 5-2 lead and the Norse held off a late rally to knock off the University of Kentucky 8-6 at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The win was NKU’s third of the season (3-9). The loss ended an eight-game win streak for sixth-ranked UK (12-2).
The Norse didn’t seem to be bothered by the chilly temperatures, which hovered in the mid-30s throughout the game. Chad Roberts got NKU on the board with a solo home run in the top of the second inning. The Cats took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the frame as Luke Heyer’s ground-rule double put runners on second and third and Ryan Johnson’s sacrifice fly to center scored Kole Cottam. Heyer tagged up and scored on a throwing error by the NKU center fielder, who tried to cut Heyer down at third base.
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The Norse’s big fourth inning got started with back-to-back singles. UK starter Brad Schaenzer then retired two straight before loading the bases with a walk, setting up Richmond’s bases-loaded bomb. NKU added three more runs in the fifth for an 8-2 lead. Three Norse batters doubled in the inning.
The Cats cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the eighth on Tristan Pompey’s three-run homer. Troy Squires led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo home run to get UK within two runs. Luke Becker slapped a one-out opposite-field single to bring the tying run to the plate, but NKU closer Joe Martin struck out Cottam and T.J. Collett swinging to end the rally.
UK has homered in all 14 games this season. Heyer currently has an eight-game hitting streak going, the longest of his career. The senior leads the Cats with a .478 batting average. Squires and Becker have reached base safely in all 14 games this year.
No. 3 Texas Tech at No. 6 Kentucky
What: Three-game series at Cliff Hagan Stadium
When: 4 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday