The UK baseball team fought back from a game-one loss to win the final two games and the series from No. 9 Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday.
The No. 1 Cats have won their first five conference series, the most of any SEC team.
“(Friday) was a really tough game,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said in a UK athletics news release. “But we’re resilient. We like to compete and we’re not going away.”
The Cats were mired in a back-and-forth game on Friday, but a four-run fourth inning, highlighted by a two-RBI double by freshman Austin Cousino, gave them a 6-4 lead.
The Razorbacks came back with a big inning of their own. Down two, Arkansas loaded the bases with two outs. Left fielder Derrick Bleeker tripled to clear the bases and give the home team an 8-7 lead — the eventual final score.
UK got multi-hit games from four players, but it wasn’t enough to out-slug the Razorbacks in game one.
Saturday featured a double-header in Fayetteville, and the Cats again found themselves in a close one in game two of the series.
Three first-inning errors by Arkansas led to three UK runs, but a two-run Razorback home run in the bottom of the first made the score 3-2 after one.
Two more in the second gave Arkansas a 4-3 lead, but RBI doubles by senior Thomas McCarthy and Cousino gave UK the lead right back.
From there, pitching took over. The Cats got 5.2 scoreless innings of relief from freshman Chandler Shepherd and junior Tim Peterson to hold on for a 5-4 win.
The final game of the series was a low-scoring, pitchers duel. UK starter, sophomore Corey Littrell, went 6.1 innings, giving up one earned run on eight hits.
A two-run home run in the fourth inning by junior Cameron Flynn was all the Cats would need, as the bullpen again shut down the final innings to hold a 2-1 win.
Littrell is now 6-0 on the season with a 1.95 ERA. He leads UK starters in nearly every statistical category.
“My arm felt really good today,” Littrell said. “For the most part, I was able to throw the fastball where I wanted to. But I love our defense. They give me the confidence that I don’t have to make batters swing and miss every time.”
The series win was UK’s first in Fayetteville since 2002 and its second there all-time. The weekend performance may have been enough to offset the Cats’ blowout loss to Louisville on Wednesday.
“We try not to think about all that stuff,” Flynn said. “This was a hard series in front of all those fans, but we’re just trying to take it one game at a time.”
The Cats (32-5, 11-4 SEC) return to the field Tuesday, hosting Cincinnati at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.