Kentucky beats Bellarmine 12-0 ahead of third SEC road series


The Wildcats create a dance circle after the University of Kentucky vs. Bellarmine baseball game on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 12-0. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

John Cole

After ending the LSU series on a positive note, Kentucky hosted a slumping Bellarmine University for the second time this season. The Cats only defeated the Knights by one back on Mar. 30; today, they didn’t give up a single run, pitching their third shutout of the year in the 12-0 result.

The Wildcats set the tone early by tagging Bellarmine starter Nolan Pender with four runs off of three hits and a walk in the first inning. He only recorded one out before being replaced by Devin Ecklar. Jacob Plastiak made it 6-0 UK after hitting a three-run homer – his first of the season – to center field, capping a rousing start that had head coach Nick Mingione impressed.

“I thought our first inning was awesome,” he said postgame. “To be that focused and score six runs in the first inning, that’s not easy to do.”

After going through a down stretch, the Wildcat bullpen was dominant against their Atlantic Sun foe. Starting pitcher Zack Kammin logged three innings of scoreless baseball, punching out seven of the twelve batters he faced. Wyatt Hudepohl and Cole Daniels followed, each tossing two hitless frames and combining for five strikeouts. Alex Degen and Seth Logue pitched the final two innings, tacking on five more K’s to bring the Kentucky staff total to 17. The shutout was the team’s first since Mar. 6 (6-0 versus Ball State); the other came in a Feb. 26 meeting with Milwaukee that had a 10-0 margin.

“It’s hard to get shutouts in college baseball,” Mingione said. “We love them… any time we get them, I’m excited.”

The Cats showed great discipline at the plate, recording seven walks alongside their twelve hits to punish Bellarmine’s pitching. Eight different Kentucky players tallied at least one hit, while nine drove in a run. Austin Schultz continued his stellar campaign, going 3-4 with two stolen bases and a solo shot to lead off the second inning.

Now 21-9 on the season, Kentucky will spend Wednesday and Thursday preparing for another SEC road trip, a three-game weekend bout against the 21-11 Georgia Bulldogs. But unlike the LSU series the Cats just played, they’ll carry a good wave of momentum with them into Athens, according to first baseman T.J. Collett.

“Baseball is so mind heavy,” he said. “Just to know [you have] two wins under your belt going on an away trip is bigger than people realize.”

First pitch for Friday’s series opening game is set for 6:00 p.m. E.T. on SEC Network Plus.