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UK baseball rallies to victory

SAN DIEGO — Kentucky tied an NCAA record with 10 hit batsmen Saturday. The last one gave the Cats an improbable 14-13 victory over Monmouth.

Trailing by six runs entering the bottom of the seventh inning, UK rallied with seven unanswered runs and posted a walk-off win.

UK began chipping away with a run in the seventh and four runs in the eighth. The Wildcats faced a one-run deficit entering the bottom of the ninth, when 5-foot-9, 160-pound infielder Neiko Johnson hit the game-tying home run, his first career homer.

The Wildcats then loaded the bases with no outs on three consecutive hit by pitches, and Braden Kapteyn became the fourth consecutive UK hitter to get hit by a pitch to force the walk-off run to the plate.

Only twice in NCAA history had a team got hit by 10 pitches in a game; St. Joseph's vs. Fordham in 2009 and Washington vs. Rice in 1998.

"Anytime you come back from six down it is a good thing for your club that you know they can fight, they can compete and they can play from behind," UK Coach Gary Henderson said.

Kentucky (9-1) got a clutch bullpen performance from junior right-hander Matt Little, who came on with UK trailing in the sixth inning and tossed the final four innings of the game, allowing only two hits and striking out a career-high nine batters, including seven of his first eight outs.

Little has a 0.82 ERA with a club-best three saves.

"Matt Little's performance out of the bullpen was outstanding," Henderson said. "It was obviously an outstanding performance and it gave us a chance to get back in the game. It gave our club a shot of adrenaline. It brought some energy to our dugout."

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