TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – For the second straight weekend Justin Lewis came through with a clutch outing on the mound to score an important win for Kentucky, handcuffing Alabama in a 5-2 win on Easter Sunday, April 1 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Lewis (pictured) was touched up for a two-run home run in the first inning but didn’t allow anything else over his 7.1 innings as the No. 6 Wildcats rallied from the early deficit and pulled away late. In the past two starts, Lewis has a pair of wins, giving up just six hits and three runs in 12.1 innings.
The win was crucial for the Cats in the Southeastern Conference race, lifting their record to 19-9 overall and 3-6 in the league. Having not faced a division opponent from the East Division yet, the Cats still have their regular season goals in front of them with 21 conference games remaining.
UK coach Nick Mingione tweaked the lineup on Sunday, inserting junior Ryan Shinn as the designated hitter and junior Alex Rodriguez at third base, while shifting hard-hitting senior Luke Heyer to left field and junior Tristan Pompey to right. Both moves paid immediate dividends, as Shinn had two hits, including a game-tying RBI double, and Rodriguez made four sensational defensive plays.
Pompey, having been snake-bitten much of the weekend, laced a solo home run inside the left field pole to give the Cats the lead for good in the seventh to go along with Heyer and junior Kole Cottam’s three-hit days. Cottam got the Cats on the board early with a solo home run that hit his own face on the video board beyond the fence in left-centerfield.
Sophomore closer Chris Machamer replaced Lewis with one on in the eighth and shutdown the inning before a perfect ninth gave him his second save on the season and got the Cats out of town with a win.
The Wildcats begin an important week at home with rival Louisville coming to The Cliff on Tuesday evening and South Carolina arriving for a weekend series. The Louisville game will be streamed on SEC Network Plus (online) and Darren Headrick will have the radio call on 630 AM WLAP.
UK Athletics Photo