Cats blow out Xavier 16-3 in first night game at Kentucky Proud Park


Kentucky junior Breydon Daniel blows a bubble with his gum as he waits on second base during the game against SIUE on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 6-4. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Hailey Peters

After getting swept in their SEC-opening road series, the Kentucky Wildcats returned home on Tuesday to play the Xavier Musketeers in their first night game at Kentucky Proud Park. The game crawled on late into the evening, eventually ending in a 16-3 Kentucky victory.

Xavier came out strong in the first inning, being the first to score a run off a fielding error by Kentucky sophomore center fielder Cam Hill. Musketeer pitching suffered in the bottom of the first, and Kentucky gained two consecutive runs off being walked and getting hit by a pitch with the bases fully loaded.

Kentucky pitching struggled to find its footing in the game, running through nine pitchers from the pen throughout the game. To balance out the shifty pitching, the Cats at bat rang in several more runs to crush the Musketeers.

In the third, Kentucky scored six runs off four hits and two errors. Junior Jaren Shelby netted the first RBI, soon followed by a second run due to sophomore Coltyn Kessler’s reaching first on a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded.

Junior Dalton Reed touched home next after Hill’s center field single to put the Cats up three runs in the third. To seal the inning with three more runs, senior shortstop Alex Rodriguez scored a three-run homer, propelling Kentucky to an 8-1 lead after only three innings of play.

The Musketeers responded in the fifth with two RBI, one of which was unearned after the batter was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Freshman Cole Ayers came in clutch with the bases still fully loaded and struck out the final two Musketeer batters.

Kentucky had another six-run inning in the fifth, four of which were attained through home runs. Junior T.J. Collett hit his seventh home run of the season and his third in a row against Xavier in his career. He touched home along with two of his teammates, immediately followed by the third home run of the night from Shelby.

The final runs of the night were in the bottoms of the seventh and eighth, the former of which was Kentucky’s fourth home run, brought in by junior Breydon Daniel. The final run occurred as a result from Xavier’s pitcher walking with the bases full.

The Cats return to the field on Friday, March 22, to open their home conference play against the Texas A&M Aggies at 6:30 p.m.