HOUSTON – Zack Thompson threw six shutout innings and Luke Heyer homered for the third time in two games to lead No. 7 Kentucky to a 7-2 victory over No. 20 Sam Houston State in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic at Minute Maid Park.
The Wildcats moved to 10-1 on the season, their best start since the 2013 club opened 11-1. Having beaten a pair of ranked opponents the first two days of the event the Cats will go for a weekend sweep vs. Louisiana on Sunday.
Thompson, a sophomore lefty from Selma, Ind., worked around a pair of bunt singles by Sam Houston leadoff hitter Mac Odom, spraying just two other hits while striking out seven and walking just one to earn his second win of the season. Freshman Jimmy Ramsey pitched a scoreless seventh and junior Zach Haake, making just his second appearance since returning from injury, struck out five over the final two innings.
Making a bid for the top player in the event, Heyer crushed a two-run home run off the bricks beyond the Crawford Boxes in left field in the second inning, giving him two game-winning RBI in as many days. His seventh home run of the season kept him one ahead of sophomore T.J. Collett for the team lead after Collett delivered a souvenir in the seventh inning.
That was more than enough offense for the Cats, who have outscored two ranked teams 21-4 in Houston and have now produced 67 runs in the past six games, all without All-American leadoff hitter Tristan Pompey having made just one pinch hit appearance due to an injury ankle.
Bottom 2nd – T.J. Collett singled to RCF and scored on Luke Heyer’s home run to LF. UK 2, Houston 0.
Bottom 5th – Trey Dawson walked and advanced to second on Troy Squires’ SAC bunt. Ben Aklinski singled to LF, scoring Dawson. UK 3, Sam Houston 0.
Bottom 7th – Aklinski singled to CF to start the inning, moved to second on Luke Becker’s SAC bunt and to third on Kole Cottam’s long flyout to RF. Collett homered to RF, scoring Aklinski. UK 5, Sam Houston 0.
Top 8th – Blake Chisolm led off with a pinch hit single to RF and moved to third on Trey Ochoa’s single to RF. Andrew Fregia hit a SAC fly to LF, scoring Chisolm. UK 5, Sam Houston 1.
Bottom 8th – Ryan Shinn singled to RF, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on Dawson’s SAC bunt. Squires laid down a safety squeeze, scoring Shinn. Aklinski walked and scored on Becker’s triple to CF. UK 7, Sam Houston 2.
Top 9th – Jack Rogers singled and advanced to second on Ben Haefner’s single to RF. Blake Chisolm doubled to LF, scoring Rogers. UK 7, Sam Houston 2.
- Kentucky’s 10-1 start to the season is the best for the program since the 2013 opened up 11-1.
- The offense has …
o Hit a home run in all 11 games this season.
o Scored 67 runs in the past six games.
o Recorded 55 extra base hits this season.
o Scored 21 runs on 23 hits in two games in Houston.
- Sophomore LHP Zack Thompson got the win by going 6.0 innings with four hits, no runs, one walk and seven strikeouts.
o Thompson is now 10-3 in his career for a .769 winning percentage, ranking fourth on UK’s career win-loss percentage list.
- Senior 3B/OF Luke Heyer went 2-for-2 with a run, two RBI, two walks and a two-run home run.
o Heyer leads the team with seven home runs.
o He has three home runs in two games in Houston.
o His seven homers in 34 official at bats is one in every 4.86 at bats on the season.
- Sophomore C/1B T.J. Collett went 2-for-3 with two runs, two RBI and a walk.
o Collett’s two-run HR gives him six on the season.
o Collett has a career-long 10-game hitting streak.
- Junior OF Tristan Pompey pinch hit in the seventh inning and drew a walk.
o The walk extended his reached base safely streak to 43 games.
- Junior OF Ben Aklinski went 2-for-3 with two runs, two walks and an RBI.
o Aklinski has five RBI in the past two games.
o He has five multi-hit games.
- Senior C/1B Troy Squires had a pair of SAC bunts, including a perfectly executed squeeze bunt to score a run.
o Squires now has 25 SAC bunts in his career, moving him from seventh to fourth place on the career SAC bunts list. He is currently tied with Justin Scutchfield (2003-06) and two behind Matt Reida (2011-14) for third.