Kentucky baseball puts away Tennessee Tech in seven


Chase Estep and TJ Collett. UK beat Tennessee Tech 13-3. Photo By Barry Westerman | UK Athletics

Eric Decker

Sometimes you don’t need nine.

The Kentucky baseball team (5-3) stayed hot winning its fifth consecutive game with a 13-3 victory in seven innings over Tennessee Tech, but did get hit with another blow as they lost starting utility man Elliott Curtis in the process.

Curtis suffered a lower leg injury sliding into second while attempting to steal the base, and had to be carted off the field. UK athletics confirmed Curtis is ruled out indefinitely. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Cam Hill is also dealing with an injury, as it was announced before the game that he had suffered a broken wrist in Sunday’s game, and will also be out indefinitely.

Kentucky sent out freshman Cole Stupp to the mound for the first start of his career after he had previously entered in two relief appearances. The righty finished with a line of four innings pitched, giving up six hits and two earned runs in the process. Stupp also struck out seven in the limited action including a streak of five straight K’s at one point.

The Golden Eagles were able to get on the board in the first inning when a leadoff double by Brett Roberts allowed for Gavin Johns to bring him home with a single through the infield. Kentucky immediately responded by spotting three runs in the bottom of the frame. Austin Schultz increased his consecutive on-base streak to 21 games when a single up the middle brought Drew Grace home from second. Grace came on to run after the injury to Curtis.

Schultz swiped both second and third base before John Rhodes was able to bring in him and Oraj Anu with a two-run single to left field.

An error from TJ Collett in the second kept the inning going before Tennessee Tech was able to cut the lead down to 3-2 with a single to left field. Stupp was able to get out of the inning with a bases-loaded strikeout.

In the third, Collett was inches away from nabbing his second HR of the year as he pulled a ball that bounced off the top of the fence, resulting in a double. The team leader in RBI Schultz then stepped up and ripped himself a double that scored Collett.

The inning continued due in part to some blunders from the Golden Eagles defense. One including the shortstop throwing wide to third, allowing Schultz to score when he could have tossed the force out to first. 

The Cats capitalized when a Breydon Daniel sac fly to dead center that most likely would have been a home run anywhere else in the stadium brought home Rhodes, making it 6-2 at the time.

Freshman Chase Estep cranked his first collegiate HR in the seventh inning when he turned on a ball and sent it to the back of the opposing bullpen.

“It feels awesome, it’s one you just kinda get out of the way. Everybody is here, everybody is happy, it’s exciting to feel a part of it and add on to the game we already had.” Estep said after the game.

The Wildcats shut the door in the seventh with a six-run performance capped off by a Zeke Lewis three-run double that ended the game on the spot.

Kentucky got superb relief work from Trip Lockhart and Will Gambino as the two combined for three scoreless innings and only two hits.

“Trip came in and did his job, Will Gambino came in and got some huge outs for us.” Kentucky head coach Nick Mingione said.  “Will came in with those guys on and ended up getting us out so that was good.”

The Cats find themselves again at Kentucky Proud Park Wednesday afternoon as they see Eastern Kentucky come to Lexington with a 1 p.m. first pitch. The game will be televised on SEC Network+ and can be heard on the UK Sports Network.