Wildcats swallowed by No. 7 Cardinals at home


Kentucky senior Ryan Shinn is called safe as he rolls into third base during the season home opener against EKU on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky defeated EKU 7-3. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Hailey Peters

The Battle of the Bluegrass arrived at Kentucky Proud Park for the first time on Tuesday evening as the Kentucky Wildcats faced the No. 7 Louisville Cardinals at home. After dropping the first game of the season against the Cards on the road, 3-8, the Cats sought to settle the score with a win on their home turf. Although the Wildcats benefited from the largest home game attendance in regular season program history and began the night with early home runs, they still lost to their in-state rivals, 18-6.

The Wildcats began their night playing a strong game. Senior Ryan Shinn launched his ninth home run of the season in the first, a solo shot putting Kentucky up early on.

In the second, the Cards responded with a run of their own before starting pitcher Dillon Marsh struck out the final batter to send a fully-loaded diamond of Cardinals runners back to the bench. When Kentucky went up to bat, they dominated offensively to push their lead far past their opponents. Junior Breydon Daniel scored another home run for the Cats, this one adding two additional runs for Kentucky.

Senior Ryan Johnson touched home next after Louisville’s pitcher walked with fully loaded bases. This came after Johnson’s first career hit and an early pitching change from the Cardinals. Poor pitching from the Cards continued until the end of the inning when a wild pitch allowed the Wildcats to score their fourth run of the inning and fifth of the night.

The Cardinals gained more ground in the third by scoring two more runs of their own. Kentucky’s defense began to pick up at the end of their time on the field in the third by catching a runner stealing, but the pitching suffered to the point that a change was called early on.

Kentucky’s pitching pitfalls continued to grow as Louisville slid past Kentucky in the fourth by bringing in three hits and three runs, assisted by walks and fielder’s choices that handed the lead over to the visiting team. The fifth saw four more runs from the Cards off six more hits to give Louisville double the score of Kentucky late into the evening.

Louisville continued to dominate the Wildcats throughout the rest of the game, drawing the game out to the longest 9-inning game in Kentucky baseball history and scoring eight more runs before the conclusion of the game. Multiple runs were added in each inning from the sixth to the eighth to hold the Cats down. In the entirety of the game, Kentucky only got eight hits to Louisville’s 23.

The Wildcats will continue their home schedule on Thursday, April 18 when they open their weekend SEC series against the No. 22 Tennessee Volunteers. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.