LEXINGTON, Ky. – The middle of order drove in nine runs and the offense scored in six consecutive innings to drive No. 8 Kentucky to a 17-6 victory over Oakland on a rainy Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Wildcats have scored 27 runs in the first two games of the weekend series against the Golden Grizzlies.
Sophomore designated hitter T.J. Collett became the first UK player to hit a home run in three consecutive games since his running mate Kole Cottam did so last April against LSU and Xavier. Collett drove in five runs on Saturday, while Cottam plated four more, including three on his own seventh inning blast. The “Big Blue Bash Bros” have a combined 23 RBI in the Cats’ first seven games this season.
While those two provided the thunder they were hardly the only hitters to tee off on Oakland’s pitching staff. Junior shortstop Trey Dawson went 2-for-2 with two walks, three runs scored and an RBI and has now reached base safely in nine consecutive plate appearances and 11 of 12 this week. Senior third baseman Luke Heyer connected on his third home run of the season and senior catcher/first baseman Troy Squires drove in three runs of his own in the win.
Sophomore left-hander Zack Thompson earned the win with 6.0 innings of work, allowing three home runs but nothing else. Freshman lefty Mason Hazelwood and senior right-hander Alec Maley took care of the final three innings to send the crowd of 2,508 home happy just before the skies opened up and the rain started coming down again.
The two teams will close the three-game series on Sunday afternoon with junior righty Justin Lewis looking to build on his sensational first start. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.
Bottom 2nd – Kole Cottam singled to RF and advanced to second when the ball squirted away from the fielder. Ryan Shinn singled up the middle to score Cottam. UK 1, Oakland 0.
Top 3rd – Ryan Fitzgerald homered to RF. UK 1, Oakland 1.
Bottom 3rd – Trey Dawson singled to LF. Troy Squires grounded into a fielder’s choice with Dawson reaching second when the second baseman failed to step on the base. Ben Aklinski moved both runners up with a SAC bunt and Luke Becker drove in Dawson with a SAC fly to LF. T.J. Collett homered to RF, scoring Squires. UK 4, Oakland 1.
Top 4th – Jordan Jackson homered to LF. UK 4, Oakland 2.
Bottom 4th – Ryan Johnson reached on a fielding error. Luke Heyer singled to LF with both runners taking an extra base on an error. Dawson singled to SS, scoring Johnson. Squires laid down a SAC bunt, scoring Heyer and moving Dawson to second. Aklinski lined a single up the middle to score Dawson. Becker doubled to RF. Collett singled to RF, scoring Aklinski and Becker. UK 9, Oakland 2.
Bottom 5th – Luke Heyer homered to RF. UK 10, Oakland 2.
Top 6th – Fitzgerald walked and scored on Ben Hart’s home run to CF. UK 10, Oakland 4.
Bottom 6th – Aklinski and Becker singled. Cottam grounded out to 2B, scoring Aklinski. UK 11, Oakland 4.
Bottom 7th – Shinn singled and Dawson walked. Squires doubled to LF, scoring Shinn and Dawson. Aklinski singled and Becker walked to load the bases. Collett grounded out, scoring Squires. Cottam homered to LF, scoring Aklinski and Becker. UK 17, Oakland 4.
Top 8th – Thomas Miller singled and scored on Hart’s double. Mario Camilletti singled to CF, scoring Hart. UK 17, Oakland 6.
- Kentucky moved to 22-2 in non-conference home games under coach Nick Mingione.
- The Cats are 23-0 when scoring 10 or more runs under Mingione.
- The offense has hit a home run in all seven games this season.
- UK played without All-American OF Tristan Pompey for the second straight game. He is out with an ankle injury.
- Sophomore C/1B T.J. Collett went 2-for-5 with a run and five RBI.
o Collett’s fourth home run of the year gives him five extra-base hits among his nine total hits.
o For his career, Collett now counts six of his 11 career hits as extra-base hits, including five home runs.
o Collett has homered in three straight games, the first player to do that since Kole Cottam did so against LSU and Xavier last April 21-26.
o Collett now has 14 RBI on the season in just seven games.
o The five RBI are a career-high for Collett.
- Senior C/1B Troy Squires went 1-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and three RBI.
o Squires has six RBI in the first two games of the series.
o Squires now has 22 career sacrifice bunts, moving him into eighth place alone on the UK charts. He sits just one behind Jeff Michael (1990-93) and Michael Bertram (2003-06) for seventh.
- Junior C/1B Kole Cottam went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBI.
o Cottam tied his career high of four RBI, first set against Miss. State on 4/8/17.
- Junior SS Trey Dawson went 2-for-2 with three runs scored, two walks and an RBI.
o Dawson has reached base safely nine consecutive times.
o In three games this week he has reached base safely 11 out of 12 times he has come to the plate.
Kentucky closes out its three-game series with Oakland on Sunday afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. Fans can listen on the UK Sports Network via UKathletics.com and iHeart Radio, as well as on 98.5 FM. The game will air on the SECN+.