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Kentucky baseball earns series victory with mercy rule win

Kentucky Baseball (9-1) demolished the Lipscomb Bison (3-7) by a score of 16-1 to secure a series victory on Saturday,

“This was our best game of the year so far,” Kentucky head coach Nick Mingione said. “Just having us have quality at bats up and down all the way through the lineup.”

Ryan Waldschmidt started off the game for the Cats with a walk and came around to score on a double by Nick Lopez to put UK on the board.

Picking up where they left off in the first inning, Grant Smith and Lukas Schramm both walked with one out and were driven home by a double off the bat of Émilien Pitre to extend the lead to 3-0. Kentucky then plated one in the third from a Griffin Cameron sacrifice fly.

Pitre hit his second double of the game in the fourth inning to bring home Smith and Waldschmidt also scored on the play due to a throwing error. Pitre himself came back around to score on a wild pitch.

Patrick Herrera hit a double and came around to score after Lopez hit a double of his own. Lopez also eventually came home on a ground out from Ethan Hindle, which brought the score to 9-1 after the fourth.

Kentucky Ryan Waldschmidt bunts during the Kentucky vs Lipscomb baseball game on Friday, Mar. 1, 2024, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky, Kentucky won 7-4. Photo by Sydney Yonker | Staff (Sydney Yonker)

After being held scoreless in the fifth, Devin Burkes hit a bases-loaded single to bring home Pitre and Ryan Nicholson pinch hit for Hindle and hit a single up the middle to bring home Lopez and Herrera.

Also in the sixth, Waldschmidt hit a double to right field that allowed Kyuss Gargett and Schramm to score.

Then, in his second at bat in the inning, Pitre singled to bring home Waldschmidt and bring the score to 16-1.

“Whenever the offense could put up runs like that it helps give you a little bit of a sigh of relief on the mound,” pitcher Dominic Niman said.

On the mound, Niman started the game and struck out the first batter to earn his 200th career collegiate strikeout before proceeding to pitch three straight scoreless innings.

After striking out the lead-off hitter in the fourth, Niman gave up a single and was favoring his left calf.

Despite that, he stayed in the game after being looked at by the training staff and got the final two outs of the inning.

“I was just having a little cramp in my calf,” Niman said. “Richard (Wells) just had me get some Pedialyte and some Gatorade and it was fine.”

He returned to the mound in the fifth and pitched a three-up-three-down inning before allowing the lone run in the sixth inning.

“He just put us on his back and we just rolled,” Mingione said about the pitcher.

Robert Hogan relieved Niman in the seventh and pitched a three-up-three-down inning to secure the mercy rule win.

Kentucky will go for the sweep in game three against the Bison on Sunday Mar. 3, at 1 p.m. ET at Kentucky Proud Park.

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