Kentucky’s offense returned to peak efficiency Friday night as the sixth-ranked Wildcats overcame an early three-run deficit and handed third-ranked Texas Tech its first loss of the season at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats, who struggled throughout a stunning 8-6 loss to Northern Kentucky in their previous outing Wednesday, bounced back for a 10-7 win over the Red Raiders, generating 10 runs on only seven hits.
The game was the first of three against Texas Tech, now 14-1, at The Cliff this weekend. The teams are scheduled to play at 1 p.m both Saturday and Sunday.
Texas Tech struck for three runs in the first inning off UK starter Sean Hjelle, sending eight batters to the plate, collecting three hits and taking advantage of a UK error.
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Hjelle (4-0) settled in thereafter, allowing only two more hits and striking out six before giving way to reliever Chris Machamer in the eighth. Machamer closed things out for his first save of the season.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats (13-2) pecked away at the Red Raiders, scoring two runs in the second, one in the third, three in the fifth, one in the sixth and three in the eighth.
Kole Cottam hit his fifth home run of the season and led the Wildcats with four runs batted in. Tristan Pompey, Luke Becker and Luke Heyer also drove in runs. Becker and Cottam had two hits each to lead Kentucky.
Cats no-hit at Florida
The 23rd-ranked UK softball team ran into a buzz saw at No. 2 Florida. Gators junior Kelly Barnhill pitched her fourth no-hitter of the season as Florida blanked Kentucky 6-0 on Friday night.
Florida scored all six of its runs in the first inning, taking advantage of four walks and an error.
Kentucky (15-4) will try again against the Gators (20-1) on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Fast start at NCAA indoors
UK’s Tim Duckworth was in first place after the first four events of the men’s heptathlon at the NCAA indoor championships in College Station, Texas.
Duckworth, who won silver at the 2017 NCAA indoors, used first-place finishes in the 60 meters and long jump, along with a second-place effort in the high jump, to post 3,601 points.
Wichita State’s Hunter Veith was in second with 3,432 while Louisville’s Joe Delgado ranked 13th with 3,140. Still to go Saturday are the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000 meter-run.
Cats leading rifle championships
Fourth-seeded Kentucky is in first place entering the final day of the NCAA rifle championships at Charleston, S.C.
The Wildcats scored 2,345 points in Friday’s smallbore competition. Top-ranked West Virginia is in second place at 2,327 followed by TCU (2,326), Murray State (2,324) and Air Force (2,319) in the eight-team field.
The NCAA championships conclude with the air rifle competition Saturday morning.
Two Wildcats earned individual medals in Friday’s smallbore segment. Hanna Carr took second place with 458.2 points, just 1.2 behind repeat champion Morgan Phillips of West Virginia. Henrik Larsen finished a spot behind Carr with a 446.8. UK’s Billy Azzinaro finished fifth at 419.1.