Cats sweep Raiders in shutout, walk-off doubleheader


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

Continuing their weekend series against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders with a Sunday doubleheader, the Kentucky Wildcats baseball team rang in another sweep, 7-0 in the first game and 5-4 in the second.

In game one, Kentucky starter Grant Macciocchi led the Cats to a strong start, pitching for seven innings and striking out seven batters while only allowing one hit from the Raiders before being relieved.

After six innings of no runs being scored, Kentucky finally touched home six times in the seventh. With two walks and one Cat getting hit by a pitch, junior Breydon Daniel’s RBI gave the Cats the first run of the game. Senior Ryan Shinn followed immediately with his seventh RBI of the season. Junior Jaren Shelby’s double with fully-loaded bases allowed three additional runs, and junior Dalton Reed wrapped up the scoring frenzy with his own RBI.

In the eighth, MTSU brought in their second hit, but was soon shut down by a double play from Kentucky’s infield, who grounded out ten batters in the game to keep the Raiders down.

With two outs on the board, sophomore Cam Hill doubled far into right field and later scored Kentucky’s final run, unearned off Zeke Lewis’s second RBI.

Sophomore Daniel Harper pitched the final two innings of the game, and in both, he ran 3-up 3-out with the Raiders’ batters, cementing the shutout against Middle Tennessee.

The second game became the second walk-off win for UK baseball this season with Shinn’s 2-run homer at the bottom of the ninth.

Inning one gave the Cats the early lead with an RBI double from Shelby, but the Raiders quickly took over with two consecutive home runs right away in the second. Kentucky was quick to change pitchers to get themselves back on their feet.

Two hits for Kentucky in the bottom of the third, the latter of which was junior TJ Collett’s RBI helped the Cats tie the score, but Raiders pitcher was locked in and retired 18 batters in the first six innings, leading to many of Kentucky’s pitfalls and eventually putting them behind again.

Although the Cats already clinched the series, the Raiders fought to not get swept. MTSU netted two more runs from a single RBI in the sixth after fully loading their bases and having three successful hits, making the score 4-2 in favor of the visiting team.

Shelby touched home, unearned in the sixth off graduate student Marshall Gei’s bunt RBI, giving the Cats another run but still leaving them trailing by one until the ninth.

In three batters and two hits, Kentucky hit their second walk-off at their new stadium. Shinn came in clutch for the Cats on his second pitch and hit his third home run of the season and second in a home weekend series.

The Wildcats will return to Kentucky Proud Park on Tuesday, March 12 to face the Southern Illinois Salukis at 4 p.m.