UK Baseball

Kentucky baseball falls to 0-2 in SEC after dropping pair at Arkansas

UK’s Kole Cottam homered against EKU in a win earlier this year. He homered again in Saturday’s loss to Arkansas.
UK’s Kole Cottam homered against EKU in a win earlier this year. He homered again in Saturday’s loss to Arkansas. cbertram@herald-leader.com

The Razorbacks’ red-hot bats took no mercy on the Wildcats on Saturday afternoon.

Behind five home runs and 19 hits, Arkansas hammered Kentucky 14-2 in Fayetteville in the first game of a doubleheader, dropping UK to 0-2 in the Southeastern Conference. The Razorbacks also won Friday’s series opener.

It was a rough outing Saturday for UK starter Justin Lewis. The junior right-hander fell to 3-2 on the year, allowing 13 hits and 11 earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. His ERA was 4.07 when he took the mound Saturday. When he exited, it was up to 6.91.

The Razorbacks scored four runs in the third inning on Dominic Fletcher’s RBI single and Heston Kjerstad’s three-run homer. They extended their lead to 9-1 with a five-run fifth inning that included another three-run home run by Jax Biggers.

Kole Cottam was responsible for both UK runs. He went 2-for-4, getting the Cats on the board with a solo homer in the top of the fifth before singling home Ryan Johnson in the top of the ninth. Johnson, Ben Aklinski and Marshall Gei each had one hit for the Cats, who left seven runners on base.

Friday’s game

A pair of homers and four RBI from catcher Grant Koch keyed the Arkansas offense as the Razorbacks knocked off Kentucky 9-5.

Koch drew a bases-loaded walk that extended the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the third inning. He connected for a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth, then blasted a solo shot to left field in the bottom of the seventh to put the Razorbacks ahead 7-2.

Arkansas had three hits in the bottom of the first, including a homer and a double, to take a 3-0 lead. Cottam cut the lead to 3-1 in the top of the second with his sixth home run of the season for UK. Luke Becker drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth to pull the Cats within 4-2, but they got no closer. Troy Squires and Tristan Pompey drove in the Cats’ final two runs in the top of the eighth.

Squires went 3-for-5 at the plate, turning in his sixth multi-hit game of the year.

UK ace Sean Hjelle had the shortest outing of his career, lasting just 3 1/3 innings in his first loss of the year (4-1). The junior right-hander walked five and hit a batter. Hjelle had walked just four batters all season before Friday.

Josh Sullivan: 859-231-3225, @sullyjosh

Next game

Kentucky at Xavier

3 p.m. Tuesday

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