Collett keys Kentucky’s 4-2 win for sweep of Georgia State


Kentucky Wildcat T.J. Collett (5) celebrates after scoring a two-run home run during the University of Kentucky vs. Georgia State game on Sunday, March 14, 2021, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 4-2. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Eric Decker

T.J. Collett, the elder statesmen of this year’s Kentucky team, is providing clear evidence as to what makes him so valuable, showcasing his talents throughout Kentucky’s sweep-sealing 4-2 victory over Georgia State on Sunday afternoon.

Collett impacted this game almost immediately. After seeing the Panthers take the lead two batters in, the Terre Haute, Ind. slugger ripped a two-run bomb over the right field bullpen in the latter half of the first frame to stake a 2-1 lead for the Cats.

“He helped us with a home run. He helped us with a single,” head coach Nick Mingione said postgame. “I thought he played a great first base… he just continues to do great things.”

Following Collett’s homer is where the offense stalled for a while; Kentucky couldn’t seem to convert scoring situations. The Cats were able to muster multiple men on base in scoring position multiple times, yet failed to convert.

“We gotta find a way to put balls in play right there,” Mingione said. “We gotta figure out a way to get that ball to the outfield.”

Known much more for his power, Collett simply took what was given to him to help win the game. With Oraj Anu on first, Collett ripped a ground ball the opposite way, besting the shift down the left field line. Anu raced around to score on the play, giving the Cats the lead for good in the seventh.

Despite only going four innings, Zack Lee navigated trouble for a successful outing overall. He worked his way through multiple situations with men on base, but only allowed the one run in the top of the first.

The bullpen after him was magnificent once again. Seth Logue did give up the game-tying home run in the sixth, but Dillon Marsh picked him up, striking out two in his inning’s worth of work. The combination of Holt Jones and Sean Harney then completed the final three and a third innings, maintaining their perfect ERA’s in the process..

“Those guys are experienced; they’ve played college baseball,” Mingione said of his late relievers. “They have energy, they’re competitive… they gave us some good innings for sure.”

Harney’s save was of the six-out variety. Austin Schultz added an insurance run in the eighth with an RBI single up the middle to give him breathing room, which he ultimately didn’t need.

Sitting at 11-2 now, the Wildcats have one more contest before they kick off conference play next weekend. Murray St. comes to Kentucky Proud Park on Tuesday for an afternoon matchup. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m. E.T. and is set to be televised on SEC Network Plus.