Sports

Kentucky baseball roars back in the bottom of the ninth for thrilling walk-off win

Its new home is just two games old and already the University of Kentucky baseball team has delivered a major milestone.

Trailing 4-1 and down to their last three outs, the Wildcats put together a four-run rally in the bottom of the ninth to top off a thrilling comeback with the first walk-off win in the history of Kentucky Proud Park on Wednesday, knocking off Northern Kentucky 5-4.

Junior-college transfer Dalton Reed sealed the victory with the biggest hit of his young UK career, lacing a bases-loaded, one-out single up the middle.

Reed homered on the first pitch he saw in Kentucky’s season-opening win over Austin Peay, but the junior from Oklahoma said this hit was a bit more meaningful.

“It’s pretty great,” he said after the game according to a UK press release. “Things like (the walk-off) make it even more special.”

On a spring-like afternoon in front of 3,096 fans, Kentucky surrendered a 1-0 lead when the Norse scored four runs in the top of the seventh, capped by a two-run double from Billy Marion.

Marshall Gei got UK’s rally going with a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth, and pinch runner Elliott Curtis scored on Breydon Daniel’s one-out single to cut the deficit to 4-2.

Ryan Shinn drew a walk to load the bases with one out then T.J. Collett tied the game with a single through the left side, finding the hole created by NKU’s infield shift.

After Jeron Shelby was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a potential double play, Reed came through with the game-winner.

Sophomore leftie Mason Hazelwood was brilliant in his second career start for the Wildcats. The 6-foot-5 Mercer County graduate allowed just one hit, no runs and and no walks while striking out 11 over six innings.

Kentucky (5-3) had 11 hits on the day, including five in the bottom of the ninth inning. Gei went 3-for-4, while Shelby and Reed had two hits apiece. Northern Kentucky (0-7) is still looking for its first win of the season.

KENTUCKY 5, NORTHERN KY. 4

NKU

000

000

400

4

5

0

Kentucky

100

000

004

5

11

1

Mercer, Arganbright (5), Richardson (6), Martin (7), Ross (9) and Wakeham, Hohman. Hazelwood, Burchett (7), Ayers (7), Daniels (7), Degen (8) and Gei. W—Degen (1-0). L—Ross (0-2). 2BNKU: Bacon (3), Marion 2 (2). UK: Shelby (3).

Records—Northern Ky. (0-7), Kentucky (5-3).

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Josh Sullivan has worked at the Herald-Leader for more than 10 years in multiple capacities, including as a news assistant, page designer, copy editor and sports reporter. He is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Lexington native.
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