BLOOMINGTON, In. – Luke Heyer continued his onslaught against opposing pitchers and Chris Machamer picked up his ninth save of the season as No. 17 Kentucky scored a 7-6 road victory over No. 19 Indiana in a game filled with potential postseason implications.
Heyer doubled and cranked his team-leading 17th home run of the season, a two-run shot as part of his three-RBI night that provided enough cushion to help the Wildcats hold off Indiana’s rally. He was backed by Kole Cottam (2-for-4, run), Ben Aklinski (3-for-4, RBI) and Tristan Pompey, whose ninth-inning solo home run gave the Cats an insurance run they’d need in the bottom of the inning.
It was an up and down night for the Cats’ youthful bullpen, but a pair of freshmen came up huge in tight spots, junior Aaron McGeorge threw one pitch to score a massive strikeout and Machamer went through the Hoosiers’ top hitters in his two innings of work.
Coming off a tough series loss at Tennessee over the weekend the Cats traveled north to Bloomington seeking a road win over a ranked team that would bolster their RPI with the postseason looming. They just out to a 4-0 lead and saw the lead sliced to 6-5 before the arms did just enough to slam the door.
Freshman righty Daniel Harper earned the win by getting out of a jam in the sixth but found himself with the go-ahead run on second in the seventh with one out. McGeorge came on after Harper threw eight pitches to Jeremy Houston and dropped a perfect slider to score the second out. Freshman lefty Mason Hazelwood then entered and coaxed an inning-ending groundout with the bases loaded to hold the lead and set it up for Machamer in the final two innings.
Top 1st – Tristan Pompey singled to CF, moved to second on Kole Cottam’s walk and third on a double play groundout. Luke Heyer doubled over the CF’s head, scoring Pompey. UK 1, IU 0.
Top 4th – Luke Heyer and Troy Squires walked. Ryan Shinn’s SAC bunt moved both runners up. Coltyn Kessler hit a SAC fly to deep RF, scoring Heyer and moving Squires to third. Ben Aklinski doubled over the CF head, scoring Squires. Trey Dawson singled to RF, scoring Aklinski. UK 4, IU 0.
Bottom 4th – Logan Sowers singled to RCF and moved to third on Luke Miller’s bloop double down the RF line. Drew Ashley hit a SAC fly to RF, scoring Sowers. Jeremy Houston beat out an infield hit, scoring Miller from second. UK 4, IU 2.
Top 5th – Cottam singled up the middle and scored on Heyer’s home run to LF. UK 6, IU 2.
Bottom 5th – Matt Lloyd drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Matt Gorski’s single up the middle. Ryan Fineman homered to LCF, scoring Gorski. UK 6, IU 5.
Top 9th – Pompey homered to LCF. UK 7, IU 5.
Bottom 9th – Ashley homered to LF. UK 7, IU 6.
- Kentucky has scored in 56 consecutive games and 132 of the past 133 dating to the 2016 season. The lone shutout came in a seven-inning game.
- Several Cats extended impressive reached base safely streaks …
o Junior C/1B Kole Cottam has reached safely in 18 straight games, has hits in 22 of the past 24 games and is riding a career-long 11-game hit streak.
o Junior INF Trey Dawson has now reached base safely in nine straight and 18 of his last 19 games.
o Senior INF/OF Luke Heyer has reached in 11 straight games and 16 of the last 17 games.
o Senior C/1B Troy Squires has reached base in nine straight games.
- Senior INF/OF Luke Heyer went 2-for-3 with two runs, a double, home run and three RBI.
o It was his team-leading 17th homer of the season.
- Junior C/1B Kole Cottam went 2-for-4 with a double and a run.
- Junior OF Ben Aklinski went 3-for-4 with a double, run and RBI.
- Junior OF Tristan Pompey went 2-for-5 with two runs and a solo home run.
- Sophomore RHP Chris Machamer pitched the final two innings to pick up his ninth save of the season.
Kentucky returns home for the final regular season weekend in Cliff Hagan Stadium’s 50-year history beginning Friday night. The three-game series with Mississippi State also becomes critically important in the race for SEC Tournament seeding as both teams enter 11-13.