UK infielders -- Tyler Marshall, left, and Connor Heady -- rejoiced after their team made a rare triple play on Tuesday, April 18 against U of L. (Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics)
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Playing in front of a record crowd, No. 10 Kentucky came out of the gates with a five-run first inning on the way to an 11-7 victory over No. 2 Louisville Tuesday night, April 18 in the first of four games against Top 10 opponents this week at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Cats (26-12, 10-5 SEC) blitzed their in-state rival for 11 runs in the first four innings, igniting the Cliff Hagan record crowd of 4,018 fans. Five consecutive RBI singles in the first inning and a four-run third capped by senior Connor Heady’s home run provided most of the damage at the plate but it was a defensive play that left everyone buzzing.
The Cardinals (31-5) put their first two hitters on base in the second inning before the Cats extricated themselves from the potential jam in the most exciting way possible. With runners on second and third, Colin Lyman lifted a fly ball to left that Zack Reks caught and fired home to nail Brendan McKay, who tagged up on the play, at the plate. UK catcher Troy Squires made the tag and quickly fired to third where Heady – the UK shortstop – had covered and gloved Drew Ellis before he reached the bag, executing a rare triple play.
The triple play is the only known one in school history.
UK did have to survive a Louisville rally in the middle innings, as the Cardinals scored two in the fifth and five in the seventh before righties Chris Machamer and Zach Pop threw water on the flames. Closer Logan Salow came in and recorded the final three outs to end a six-game losing streak in the series, including a 5-3 defeat at Louisville on April 4.
AT THE PLATE
The Wildcats pulled in 11 runs on 14 hits with just five strikeouts against the Louisville pitching staff. Tyler Marshall went 3-for-4 at the plate, with two RBI and a run while Troy Squires went 2-for-4 with three runs and one RBI. Kentucky started the game hot. Six Cats made it on base safely in the first inning, which opened up the floodgates for the five runs that started the game. UK added four more runs in the third inning, two to the credit of Connor Heady when he homered over the leftfield wall. UK plated two more runs on three hits in the fourth inning.
ON THE MOUND
Through his five innings of work and fourth win of his young career, Zack Thompson allowed just three hits and struck out seven – just one from his career-high of eight that he’s reached on three different occasions this season. The freshman didn’t give up a run until he already struck out two Cardinals swinging in the top of the fifth inning. Chris Machamer picked up a strikeout in his two innings pitched, while Zach Pop picked up two in his only inning. To no surprise, Logan Salow came on in the ninth and closed things out for the Cats.
The crowd of 4,018 was a new Cliff Hagan Stadium record, besting the 4,009 set against Louisville on April 8, 2008.
The Cats are now 17-2 at home this season.
The 11 runs scored are the most for the Cats against Louisville since scoring 12 in a 12-11 on March 30, 2005.
UK now leads the series with Louisville 70-42-1, including 34-16 in Lexington.
Junior 1B Evan White went 1-for-4 with a run scored.
White now has 190 career hits, good for 17th on UK’s all-time career hit list.
White has a hit in 14 of his last 15 games.
Sophomore OF Tristan Pompey went 1-for-5 with a double and a run.
Pompey now has hit safely in 25 of his past 27 games.
Pompey is 18-of-22 (.563) in his past eight games.
Junior IF Riley Mahan went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI.
Mahan now has 130 hits in his career, moving him into a tie with Brian Spear (2007-08) and Thomas Bernal (2012-15) for 33rd on UK’s all-time career hits list.
Connor Heady hit his sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third inning.
Tyler Marshall went 3-for-4 with a run and two RBI.
The Louisville native’s three hits tied his career high.
It was Marshall’s fifth multi-hit game this season and seventh of his career.
Senior LHP Logan Salow appeared in his 83rd career game.
The 83 career appearances moved him out of tie for fourth with Jon Hooker (1998-2001) and into third place alone on the UK all-time appearances list.
Kentucky opens a series with No. 8 LSU at Cliff Hagan Stadium on Friday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. Fans can listen on the UK Sports Network via UKathletics.com and iHeart Radio, as well as on 630 AM WLAP, and watch on the SEC Network Plus.