LEXINGTON, Ky. – In front of a regular-season record crowd, No. 9 Kentucky took advantage of its opportunities and scored an 8-5 win over No. 21 Louisville, sending the 4,798 fans at Cliff Hagan Stadium home happy.
The record-breaking crowd marked the fifth time in the past two seasons UK has set a new attendance record: three times in the regular season and twice for postseason games. Tuesday’s attendance is the second-highest for any game at The Cliff, second only to the 2017 NCAA Regional championship game vs. NC State (5,005).
The win is the Cats’ 20th of the season, seven of which have come against ranked opponents. It’s also the second straight season UK has defeated the Cardinals in Lexington. The teams will meet again on April 17 in Louisville.
The record crowd had barely settled in before the Cats scored two runs in the first inning to take an early lead and then three more in the second to again erase a deficit. Junior All-American outfielder Tristan Pompey drove in three runs and senior Luke Heyer another pair as seven Cats had hits and eight reached base safely.
The Cardinals pulled within 5-4 in the fourth and had the bases loaded with one out when redshirt freshman right-hander Carson Coleman relieved starter Daniel Harper and extricated the Cats from the inning without any further damage. Coleman tossed 1.2 scoreless innings, earning his first collegiate win.
Knowing the importance of getting the current four-game homestand off to a strong start the UK coaching staff decided to bring in closer Chris Machamer with the bases loaded and a three-run lead in the seventh. The sophomore righty induced a harmless popup to end the inning and did not allow a hit over the final 2.1 innings to earn his third save of the season, closing the game emphatically with a 97 mph fastball for a swinging strike.
The Cats will return to the field on Friday night while opening a three-game weekend series against South Carolina. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on SECN+ with radio coverage on 630 AM WLAP.
Top 1st – Jake Snider walked and advanced to third on Devin Mann’s single to RF. Logan Wyatt grounded out to the pitcher, scoring Snider. UL 1, UK 0.
Bottom 1st – Troy Squires walked and Luke Becker was hit by a pitch. Luke Heyer doubled into RCF gap, scoring both Squires and Becker. UK 2, UL 1.
Top 2nd – Pat Rumoro walked, Justin Lavey reached on a fielding error and Tyler Fitzgerald was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Josh Stowers singled through the middle to score Rumoro and Lavey. UL 3, UK 2.
Bottom 2nd – Ryan Johnson and Alex Rodriguez walked. Trey Dawson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Tristan Pompey singled through the left side to score Johnson and Rodriguez. Squires reached on a fielder’s choice, with all runners safe due to a throwing error by the pitcher. Aklinski reached on a fielder’s choice with Dawson scoring from third on throwing error by 3B. UK 5, UL 3.
Top 4th – Lavey and Fitzgerald singled. Stowers dropped down a SAC bunt to move both runners up. Snider grounded out to SS, scoring Lavey. UK 5, UL 4.
Bottom 4th – Aklinski reached on a fielder’s choice, moved to second on a throwing error by the P and scored on Becker’s single to RF. UK 6, UL 4.
Bottom 5th – Kole Cottam and Johnson hit by pitches. Rodriguez walked to load the bases. Pompey walked to score Cottam. Squires flared a single to LF to score Johnson. UK 8, UL 4.
Top 7th – Wyatt reached on a fielding error, Drew Campbell singled and Danny Oriente walked to load the bases. Zach Britton pinch hit and reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Wyatt. UK 8, UL 5.
- The crowd of 4,798 set a new regular-season attendance record.
o The previous mark was set in the 2018 home opener vs. Xavier (4,118)
o It is the second-highest attendance for all games at The Cliff, behind only the 2017 NCAA Regional championship game vs NC State (5,005).
- Several Cats extended impressive reached base safely streaks…
o Junior OF Tristan Pompey has reached in 58 of the past 61 games.
o Senior INF Luke Becker has reached in all 29 games.
o Senior C/1B Troy Squires has reached in 28 of 29 games this season.
o Junior OF Ben Aklinski has reached in 23 of the last 24 games.
- The Cats were hit by five pitches in the game.
- Redshirt freshman RHP Carson Coleman earned his first collegiate victory.
o Coleman pitched 1.2 innings in relief, allowing just one hit, walking one and striking out two.
o Coleman lowered his season ERA to 1.46.
- Sophomore RHP Chris Machamer earned his third save of the season and fourth of his career.
o Machamer pitched the final 2.1 innings, not allowing a hit, walking one and striking out three.