HOUSTON – The Kentucky offense continued to pulverize baseballs and a pair of true freshmen pitchers extricated the club from trouble late in the game, driving a 10-4 victory over University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic on Sunday, March 4 at Minute Maid Park.
The No. 7 Wildcats (11-1) feel mighty comfortable in the Lone Star State, sweeping through the weekend to make it six straight wins in the state, five of those against ranked teams. The relentless offense scored 31 runs on 39 hits over the weekend, capping the tour de force with another 10 runs on Sunday.
UK twice erased deficits by immediately responding in the bottom half of the inning after the Ragin’ Cajuns scored in the top half and poured it on late to head back to the Commonwealth with the best start to a season since the 2013 team also went 11-1.
T.J. Collett and Luke Heyer bashed baseballs like they had a vendetta against the cowhide all weekend, combing to hit .609 with 10 runs scored, 11 RBI, four doubles and five home runs. The two went 8-for-10 on Sunday with Collett hitting a pair of doubles and a tape-measure home run and Heyer a ground rule double and three other rockets.
Justin Lewis was strong for six innings before getting into a bit of trouble in the seventh when the Ragin Cajuns’ loaded the bases with one out trailing by three. Freshman lefty Mason Hazelwood entered and induced an RBI groundout and freshman right Jimmy Ramsey got a fly out to end the inning and Louisiana’s final scoring threat.
The Cats had a scary moment when junior outfielder tried to check his swing but was hit in the face by a pitch and exited the game. Johnson was tended to by team trainers, as well as the Astros’ medical staff, and received stitches in his lip but was otherwise unharmed.
Kentucky returns home for a six-game homestand that begins Tuesday, March 6 against Eastern Kentucky. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. and it will be aired on SEC Network Plus (online).
UK Athletics Photo by Tim Warner