Just when it looked like the Cincinnati Bearcats had Kentucky’s number, the Wildcats turned things in their favor.
Cincinnati stung visiting UK for a 2-1 baseball victory in 10 innings when the teams met March 8.
And the rematch in front of 2,150 at Cliff Hagan Stadium on Tuesday night went sideways quickly for Kentucky.
Cincinnati (12-12) erupted for four runs in the first inning but Kentucky, fueled by a seven-run fifth inning, ultimately took command and pulled out a 13-7 victory.
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Kentucky improved to 19-7 overall. The Wildcats, 5-1 in the Southeastern Conference, host Vanderbilt for three league games this weekend.
Cincinnati scored its four first-inning runs off UK starter Zack Thompson, three coming on a home run by Ryan Noda.
Kentucky got back in it with three runs in the second inning on the strength of doubles by Kole Cottam, Tristan Pompey and Jarod Yokam.
Noda’s second home run of the game exteneded Cincinnati’s lead to 6-3 in the third.
Kentucky inched closer with Luke Becker’s pinch-hit solo home run in the third, then broke on top with seven runs in the fifth.
Two runs scored on bases-loaded walks, one was forced home by a hit batsman, a fourth scored on an infield groundout and a fifth as part of a rundown. Evan White drove home a another pair with a single.
The result was an 11-6 advantage for Kentucky. The Cats added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth as Cincinnati’s pitching and fielding woes continued. Marcus Carson came home on a wild pitch, and White scored on a throwing error.
Brad Schaenzer (4-0) came on in relief of Thompson and picked up the win. Schaenzer allowed one run on two hits and struck out three in 4 1/3 innings.
Kentucky, ranked No. 16 by Baseball America and No. 19 in the USA Today coaches poll, improved to 13-1 at home this season.
Vanderbilt at Kentucky
What: Three-game SEC series
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday
Live video broadcast: SEC Network Plus (online only)
Radio: WLAP-AM 630
Records: Vanderbilt 17-9 (3-3), Kentucky 19-7 (5-1)