During a season in which the University of Kentucky baseball team’s pitching staff has struggled, Wildcats ace Zack Thompson continues to deliver the goods.
The junior left-hander struck out 11 batters and accounted for all but the final two outs as Kentucky edged No. 5 Arkansas, 4-3, in the second game of a doubleheader at Kentucky Proud Park on Sunday. With the win, Kentucky salvaged the series finale with the Razorbacks and halted a three-game losing streak.
UK (23-24, 6-18 SEC) and Arkansas (37-12, 17-7 SEC) played a pair of seven-inning games on Sunday after Saturday’s matchup was rained out. Arkansas rolled in the first contest, 9-1.
In game two, Kentucky took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second on back-to-back homers from Coltyn Kessler and Ryan Shinn. UK added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth on a home run by Elliott Curtis and an RBI double by T.J. Collett.
Thompson worked out of trouble in the fifth and sixth innings, ending both threats by striking out Arkansas batters with a runner on second base.
Thompson struck out the first batter in the bottom of the seventh before giving up a double, a walk and an RBI single. UK Coach Nick Mingione then turned to Carson Coleman out of the bullpen, and the sophomore out of Lexington Catholic induced a double play on his first pitch to seal the win and earn his fourth save of the year.
Thompson moved into sixth on Kentucky’s all-time career strikeout list. He now has 251 career strikeouts, two behind Alex Meyer. Sunday marked the fifth time Thompson has reached double-digit strikeouts in a game.
Thompson now has a 1.79 ERA in SEC games this year and improved to 5-1 overall on the season. Four of those wins have been in league play.
Kentucky hosts No. 19 Indiana on Tuesday before traveling to South Carolina for a three-game series with the Gamecocks beginning Friday.
Indiana at Kentucky
7 p.m. Tuesday (SEC Network)