CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Call it the Alex Rodriguez Show, with help from his friends in blue.
The junior infielder had a career day, rapping out three doubles as part of a four-hit effort that led the charge in No. 8 Kentucky’s 7-5 road win at Western Carolina on Wednesday. Rodriguez added two RBI, two runs scored and a crucial defensive play where he cut down a runner at home by charging a slow roller and firing to Kole Cottam in time.
The Cats had to work for their 23rd win, losing an early 4-0 lead before immediately responding when the Catamounts tied the game in the sixth inning. Senior infielder Luke Becker hammered an opposite field homer to lead off the seventh as he extended his reached base streak to all 33 games this season.
Although the Cats allowed 12 hits, the pitching staff came up big when it had to throughout the game. Senior lefty Brad Schaenzer entered with runners on the corners in the fourth and got two outs without any additional damage, freshman righty Jimmy Ramsey blew a fastball by a Catamount hitter to end another threat, and redshirt freshman righty Carson Coleman struck out four in 2.2 scoreless innings to earn his second win.
For the second consecutive game, all nine UK starters reached base and eight had hits. Senior catcher/infielder Troy Squires drove in three runs and had two sacrifice bunts, giving him 31 for his career, which ranks second on the school’s career list.
The Cats now head to Athens to face No. 18 Georgia in an important SEC East series that begins Friday night at Foley Field.
Top 3rd – Alex Rodriguez singled to LF and moved to third on Trey Dawson’s double into the LF corner. Troy Squires chopped a ball over 1B, scoring Rodriguez and Dawson. UK 2, WCU 0.
Top 4th – T.J. Collett singled to RF and moved to third on Ryan Shinn’s double inside the LF line. Rodriguez doubled over the RF’s head, scoring Collett and Shinn. UK 4, WCU 0.
Bottom 4th – Luke Robinson singled to RF and advanced to third on Justice Bigbie’s double to LCF. Caleb Robinson singled up the middle to score L. Robinson and Bigbie. UK 4, WCU 2.
Bottom 5th – Andrew Robinson singled up the middle, advance to second with stolen base on ball in the dirt and to third on wild pitch. Cameron Blaquiere chopped a single over 3B to score A. Robinson. UK 4, ECU 3.
Top 6th – Rodriguez doubled to LF. Dawson reached on an error by the third baseman, moving Rodriguez to third. Squires laid down a squeeze bunt, scoring Rodriguez. UK 5, WCU 3.
Bottom 6th – C. Robinson homered the LCF. Matthew Koehler reached on a fielder’s choice and took second on a wild pitch. Will Prater lined a single to CF, scoring Koehler. UK 5, WCU 5.
Top 7th – Luke Becker homered to LCF. Kole Cottam walked and moved to third on Collett’s single to RF. Ryan Johnson grounded into a double play, scoring Cottam. UK 7, WCU 5.
- The UK offense …
o Has homered in 29 of 33 games this season.
o All nine starters reached base safely and eight had hits.
- Several Cats extended impressive reached base safely streaks…
o Junior OF Tristan Pompey has reached in 61 of the past 64 games.
o Senior INF Luke Becker has reached in all 33 games.
o Senior C/1B Troy Squires has reached in 32 of 33 games this season.
o Junior OF Ben Aklinski has reached in 27 of the last 28 games.
- Senior C/1B Troy Squires went 1-for-3 with two SAC bunts and three RBI.
o Squires has two sacrifice bunts, giving him 31 for his career, which ranks second on UK’s all-time career list. He is nine behind Ryan Wilkes (2005-08).
o He has 11 multi-RBI games this season and 18 in his career.
- Junior INF Alex Rodriguez went 4-for-5 with three doubles, two runs and two RBI.
o Recorded his first multi-hit and first multi-RBI games of his career.
o Had the second and third doubles of his career.
- Senior INF Luke Becker went 1-for-4 with a walk and a solo home run.
o Becker homered for the second consecutive game and now has five for the season and 13 in his career.
o Becker has reached in all 33 games this season.
- Junior C/1B Kole Cottam went 2-for-4 with a run and a walk.
o Cottam now has a team-high 14 multi-hit games this season and 40 in his career.
- Redshirt Freshman RHP Carson Coleman earned the win.
o Coleman pitched 2.2 innings, allowing one hit, no runs, no walks and striking out four.
o Coleman now has two career wins, both coming in the past eight days.
- Sophomore RHP Chris Machamer earned the save with a scoreless ninth.
o Machamer now has five saves on the season and six for his career.
o He has four saves in seven April games this season.