LEXINGTON, Ky. – T.J. Collett homered for the fourth consecutive game to lead another offensive onslaught as No. 8 Kentucky closed out a weekend sweep of Oakland at Cliff Hagan Stadium with a 15-6 victory in front of 2,909 fans.
The Wildcats (7-1) scored double-digit runs in each of the three games, pounding out 13 hits to go along with a patient approach that kept the bases full throughout the weekend. Five Cats had a multiple-hit game on Sunday, led by junior first baseman Kole Cottam’s three hits and outfielder Ryan Johnson’s four RBI.
Collett did not take long to become the first UK player to homer in four consecutive games since All-American Sawyer Carroll did so in a four-game series against Butler in 2008. For the week the sophomore designated hitter drove in 11 runs and hit .400 as he unloaded on the baseball.
On Sunday, the Cats used a 13-hit, 14-walk attack that that gave the pitching staff more than enough production. Junior right-hander Justin Lewis got the win and set a new career-high for the second straight game with 11 strikeouts. For the season he’s walked just one hitter and struck out 20 in 12.0 innings of work.
Senior catcher/first baseman Troy Squires, who batted leadoff all weekend due to Tristan Pompey’s absence, drove in a pair of runs to give him all eight of his season RBI in the series. Senior third baseman/outfielder Luke Heyer mashed his fourth home run of the season in the fourth inning in a game where he reached base in five of six plate appearances.
Top 1st – Ben Hart walked and Tyler Trovinger was hit by a pitch. Jordan Jackson blooped a single to RF, scoring Hart. Thomas Miller singled to LF, scoring Trovinger. Oakland 1, UK 0.
Bottom 2nd – Luke Heyer and Alex Rodriguez walked to lead off the inning and each advanced a base on a wild pitch. Troy Squires singled to RF, scoring Heyer and Rodriguez. Squires advanced to second on a throwing error by the RF and to third on a wild pitch. Ben Aklinski hit a SAC fly to CF, scoring Squires. Luke Becker doubled to RF and scored on T.J. Collett’s HR to RF. Kole Cottam hit an infield single and scored on Ryan Johnson’s home run to RF. UK 7, Oakland 2.
Bottom 3rd – Squires and Aklinski walked. Collett singled up the middle, scoring Squires. UK 8, Oakland 2.
Bottom 4th – Johnson hit by a pitch. Heyer homered to LF, scoring Johnson. UK 10, Oakland 2.
Top 6th – Mario Camilletti singled to CF and scored on Trovinger’s homer off the LF pole. UK 10, Oakland 4.
Bottom 6th – Aklinski walked and scored on Becker’s double to RF. Collett walked. Cottam singled to RF, scoring Becker. Johnson doubled to CF, scoring Collett and Cottam. Heyer singled to RF, scoring Johnson. UK 15, Oakland 4.
Top 8th – Trovinger singled and Jackson walked. Miller singled to LF, scoring Trovinger. Jackson advanced to third on an error. Austin Tangney grounded out to 1B, scoring Jackson. UK 15, Oakland 6.
- Kentucky moved to 23-2 in non-conference home games under coach Nick Mingione.
- The Cats are 24-0 when scoring 10 or more runs under Mingione.
- The offense has hit a home run in all eight games this season.
- UK scored 42 runs in the three-game sweep of Oakland.
- UK played without All-American OF Tristan Pompey for the third straight game. He is out with an ankle injury.
- Junior RHP Justin Lewis pitched 6.0 IP, giving up five hits, four runs, one walk and striking out 11.
o The 11 strikeouts are a new career high, the second straight start he has set his career high in that category. He had nine vs. USC Upstate last week.
o The win is Lewis’ 10th career victory.
o In his first two starts Lewis has struck out 20 and walked just one batter.
- Sophomore C/1B T.J. Collett went 2-for-5 with two runs, three RBI and a walk.
o Collett is the first UK player to homer in four consecutive games since All-American Sawyer Carroll did so in a four-game series vs. Butler in early 2008.
o Collett hit .400 in four games this week, homering four times and driving in 11 runs.
o For his career, Collett now counts seven of his 13 career hits as extra-base hits, including six home runs.
o Collett now has 17 RBI on the season in just eight games.
o Collett is hitting .344 with an .844 slugging percentage this season.
- Senior C/1B Troy Squires went 1-for-3 with three walks, two runs and two RBI.
o Squires had eight RBI in the series.
- Junior C/1B Kole Cottam went 3-for-4 with two runs, a walk and an RBI.
o Cottam tied his career high of four RBI, first set against Miss. State on 4/8/17.
- Junior OF Ryan Johnson went 2-for-3 with a double, home run, two runs, walk, hit by pitch and four RBI.
o The home run was Johnson’s first career collegiate home run.
o The four RBI are a career-high.
o Six of his nine hits this season have been for extra bases (five doubles, one home run).
- Senior 3B/OF Luke Heyer went 2-3 with a home run, two walks, hit by pitch, two runs and three RBI.
o Heyer connected on his fourth home run of the season in just 24 at bats.
o Heyer’s .875 slugging percentage leads the team.
o He has homered in back-to-back games.
- Senior INF Luke Becker went 2-for-4 with two doubles, a walk, two runs scored and an RBI.
o Becker became the 50th player in school history to reach 100 career hits.
o He has team-high six doubles this season.