Powered by three home runs and a dominant starting pitching performance, the UK baseball team beat Cincinnati 7-0 Tuesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
UK (33-5, 11-4 SEC) beat the Bearcats for the second time this season.
The Cats’ freshman starting pitcher, Sam Mahar, gave up two hits and struck out five in six shutout innings. He didn’t allow a hit until the first batter of the fifth inning.
“I just wanted to keep pumping the strike zone and let my defense do the work,” Mahar said. “I had a lot of confidence to just put it in there knowing they were going to make plays.”
Freshman Austin Cousino, celebrating his 19th birthday, launched a home run into the parking lot over the right field fence to lead off the first inning.
Three batters later, junior Luke Maile went the other way, sending a line drive over the left field fence, his team high 10th of the year. The Cats led 2-0 after one inning.
Maile continued the hot hitting against his hometown team. In two games against UC this season, he is 5-6 with three home runs, three RBIs and four runs.
UK added a run in the third, then senior Thomas McCarthy singled in two more in the fourth to break the game open.
Another home run in the fifth by sophomore J.T. Riddle was the final run for either team. The Cats’ bullpen pitched four innings of a two hit, no run relief.
“I was very pleased with our effort tonight, especially on the mound,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “It was a good night for Sam Mahar. Six innings in his first start of the year — I’m very pleased with that.”
The Cats entered the game sixth in the country in home runs with 41. Six behind the nation’s leader, that will surely improve next week.
It was the 14th game this season that UK has won by five runs or more.
“The season has been great so far,” Cousino said. “But, we still have five more weeks in the SEC and a lot can change. We hope to be one of those teams to stay hot.”
The No. 2 Cats will return to the field Friday night when they host No. 1 LSU in the first game of a crucial three game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.