UK Baseball

Bat Cats ride early surge past Alabama in series opener

Kentucky jumped out to a two-run advantage after three innings and its pitchers made it stand up for a 4-2 victory over Alabama at Cliff Hagan Stadium Friday night.

The Cats (39-11) struck first with two runs in the bottom of the second. Senior designated hitter Michael Williams hit a two-out, 3-2 pitch up the middle for a single and first baseman A.J Reed drew a walk. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch.

Senior third baseman Thomas McCarthy broke an 0-for-17 slump with a line-drive double that cleared a stumbling Crimson Tide right fielder to knock in both runners.

"I've been struggling at the plate. It felt real good to come through with a knock and do something positive for my team," McCarthy said. "I felt good today and felt relaxed in the box. Seeing that double drop helps the psyche."

Alabama (18-31) answered quickly, scoring two runs in the top of the third inning against UK starter Taylor Rogers on three singles, a walk and a throwing error by second baseman J.T. Riddle.

A hit-by-pitch, a walk and a single to right field by Cameron Flynn loaded the bases with no outs for the Cats in the bottom of the third. They scratched out two runs on run-scoring groundouts by Luke Maile and Riddle to gain a 4-2 lead.

UK had several opportunities to tack on runs but failed to produce timely hits, leaving eight runners on base.

"We'll still not quite as efficient as we were three or four weeks ago," UK Coach Gary Henderson said. "We've got to do a better job bunting to put us in a position to drive runs in. All it takes is one or two of those guys to get hot."

Rogers kept the Crimson Tide bats in check, outside of their third-inning rally. Rogers scattered seven hits over seven innings.

"He was confident. His adjustments were quick. He looked like a guy that was on the attack," Henderson said. "He's been hearing the same message for three years. That was fun to watch."

Rogers walked one batter and struck out four, allowing just the two runs in the third. Rogers has six quality starts this season (six innings or more allowing three runs or fewer) and 17 for his career.

"I think as it went on, my command got better," Rogers said. "I have learned a lot through three years. It is a testament to Coach Henderson and what he has done for me."

Senior reliever Alex Phillips pitched two perfect innings to close out the game, earning his sixth save.

"Six up, six down. He threw three different pitches for strikes," Henderson said. "Kind of an outing we've come to expect out of him. Great job again by Alex Phillips."

The Cats feel like the season might have turned back in their favor with their series-finale victory over Florida last weekend.

"Now we're talking about winning three in a row. That's a long way from losing four in a row," Henderson said. "We're going to play two tomorrow and now we go into that with some confidence."

The Cats finish out the regular-season home schedule with a doubleheader Saturday against Alabama. The first game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start, with Jerad Grundy (4-2, 4.08 ERA) starting for the Cats against Jon Keller (1-5, 4.14 ERA).

The home finale will follow about 30 minutes after the first game ends with Correy Littrell (7-4, 2.30 ERA) taking the mound for UK against Charley Sullivan (2-2, 5.03 ERA).

The teams agreed to move Sunday's game because of forecast of rain. Senior Day ceremonies for the Cats will take place before the first game. Former Cat Alex Meyer will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

grasshoppers 9, legends 8

LEXINGTON GREENSBORO

ab r h bi ab r h bi

DeShields 2b4 2 3 1 Keys cf 4 2 2 0

Scott lf 4 2 3 1 Barnes 2b 5 1 1 1

Johnson 1b 5 1 2 3 Dayleg 1b 5 1 3 2

Duffy 3b 5 0 2 2 Smith lf 1 0 0 0

Kvasnicka dh4 0 0 0 Goetz ph-lf 3 1 0 0

King rf 4 0 0 0 Wooster rf 3 1 0 0

Gominsky cf4 0 0 0 Adams 3b 5 1 2 1

Todd ss 3 1 0 0 McIntyre dh 5 1 2 1

Hamblin c 3 2 1 1 Caldwell c 3 0 1 2

Lopez ss 3 1 0 0

Totals 36 8 11 8 Totals 37 9 11 7

Lexington 300 200 210—8

Greensboro 060 001 002—9

E—Duffy (2), DeShields 2 (2), Gominsky (1), Gouvea (1), Zuloaga (1), Omahen (1). DP—Lexington 3, Greensboro 2. 2B—Adams (1), Dayleg (2). HR—Johnson (1), Hamblin (1). SB—DeShields (2), Scott 3 (3), Duffy (1), McIntyre (1). SH—Goetz.

Lexington IP H R ER BB SO

Dufek 4 6 6 4 4 2

Gouvea 3 3 1 1 0 2

Zuloaga H, 1 L, 0-1 1 1 2 1 1 0 Chowning BS, 11/31 0 0 1 1

Greensboro

Lowell 4 6 5 5 4 3

Omahen 3 3 2 2 0 3

Cravey W, 1-0 2 2 1 1 0 0

Zuloaga pitched to 3 batters in the 9th

Umpires—Home, Dan Merzel; First, Andy Draper. T—2:44. A—3,749.

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