Kentucky scored seven runs in the first three innings and went on to beat Morehead State 10-5 Tuesday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (15-5) scored four runs in the first inning, one in the second and two in the third to take a 7-1 lead. The Wildcats then got a strong three-inning relief pitching outing from senior southpaw Dylan Dwyer to eat up the middle innings and help secure the win. It was Dwyer’s 10th career win and his second this season.
The Wildcats got 14 hits, including multi-hit games from Riley Mahan, Gunnar McNeill, Tristan Pompey, Zach Reks and Storm Wilson. With a 3-for-4 game, McNeill extended his hitting streak to 15 games and has reached base safely in all 20 of his UK games.
First baseman Evan White extended his hitting streak to 13 games. UK also got hits from Luke Becker and Zach Arnold, with Arnold driving in two runs.
It was the third straight in which UK got more 10 runs or more and 10 hits or more. The Cats beat Georgia 11-4 and 14-6 last weekend.
UK starter Zach Pop pitched only two innings, allowing a run on a walk and hit, striking out one. After allowing the first two runners to reach in the third, UK turned to Dwyer in relief. He escaped the third inning and worked three innings, allowing only two hits and an unearned run, issuing a walk and striking out two.
Lefty Brad Schaenzer pitched the sixth inning, allowing two runs. Junior Logan Salow ptiched the seventh inning, allowing an unearned run and sophomore Zach Logue pitched the eighth inning. Freshman Sean Hjelle threw a shutout ninth inning.
Morehead State (12-8) starter Matt Ellenbest (0-1) allowed four runs on six hits in the first inning. Morehead also used Curtis Wilson, Seth Boyle, Cable Wright and Jason Goe in relief.
UK will play host to No. 1 Florida in a three-game series this weekend, starting on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats got on the board in the first inning as Wilson led off with a single to right field. UK then executed a perfect hit-and-run with White chopping a single through the hole on the right side and Wilson motoring to third. After a strikeout and a White steal of second, Mahan smacked the first pitch of his at-bat through the right side to score the duo. UK then ran a second hit-and-run with Mahan taking third on a McNeill single up the middle. Becker followed and lined a 0-1 RBI single to right field to score Mahan and push McNeill to third base. Reks then laced a single up the middle, bouncing off the leg of Ellenbest, allowing McNeill to score.
Morehead State got on the board in the top of the second, as Reid Leonard singled with one out and Tyler Niemann singled off the glove of a diving Wilson in centerfield. Hunter Fain then singled into left-center, allowing Leonard to score from second.
In the bottom of the second inning, UK got a leadoff single from Pompey down the third-base line. After Troy Squires laid down a sacrifice bunt, Wilson hit a double down the right-field line to drive in Pompey.
Kentucky plated two runs in the bottom of the third inning, as McNeill dropped a single into shallow left field and after a line out, Reks drew a walk. Pompey then dropped a double into shallow right field, scoring the pair for a 7-1 UK lead.
Morehead State got a run in the fifth on a hit and a pair of errors. Ryan Kent doubled into left-center field with one out and Jesus Carrera reached on an error. Alex Stephens then brought home Kent on a fielder’s choice.
The Wildcats added a run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Reks got hit by a pitch, stole second and took third on a wild pitch. Arnold then came off the bench to hang a sacrifice fly to left to drive in Reks.
Morehead State got three runs in the seventh inning, as Jake Hammon led off with a single up the middle and Ryan Kent singled to left. Jesus Carrera was hit by the first pitch he saw to load the bases. Alex Stephens then singled into left to score Hammon. UK then induced a 4-6-3 double play to score Kent. Leonard then grounded up the middle, with the throw allowing him to reach on an error and Carrera to score.
Kentucky got a run back in the seventh inning, with Mahan singling with one out and stealing second base. McNeill then dropped a single down the rightfield line, scoring Mahan.
In the eighth inning UK got a leadoff double from Reks and an RBI single from Arnold into left-centerfield.
No. 1 Florida at Kentucky
6:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday