Cats sweep Canisius Golden Griffins in third-game comeback


Kentucky redshirt junior Zeke Lewis tosses the ball to his teammate during the game against Canisius College on Friday, Mar. 1, 2019, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Hailey Peters

Following their 12-3 win earlier Saturday, the Kentucky Wildcats continued their doubleheader with the third game of their weekend series against the Canisius College Golden Griffins at Kentucky Proud Park. Kentucky swept Canisius, extending their season record to 8-3.

“We just told ourselves we had to finish,” senior outfielder Ryan Shinn said. “That was our goal this weekend, obviously with a sweep. We just had to finish the whole day, we knew it would be long. Just getting through it was the key.”

The Cats scored in all but one inning in the first game of the doubleheader, but they stalled for the very beginning of the second game. Starting pitcher Jimmy Ramsey gave up six hits in five innings, and the Griffins were the first to appear on the scoreboard off 2 hits in the third. The Griffins were rolling until their final hitter struck out looking.

Kentucky junior Breydon Daniel was the first to bring the Cats a run, as he hit his first home run since the Cats’ opening game at Austin Peay State. His homer soared past the left field gate and sent he and freshman Austin Shultz home.

Canisius was quick to tie the score in the fourth with two gliding hits, the latter of which became an RBI as a Griffin runner touched home. In a close play that was originally determined as a double play from the Cats, the Griffins scored an additional RBI to regain the lead over UK.

Close to giving up additional runs in the fifth, Kentucky switched Cole Daniels in to pitch for the second time in the doubleheader, and he struck out the first three hitters he went up against. Continuing their improved pitching, next in line Hunter Rigsby retired all 6 hitters he faced.

“Daniels was just outstanding out of the bullpen,” head coach Nick Mingione said. “In those two games, he faced five hitters and got six outs. I’m just really happy with how our bullpen did. Rigsby is another freshman that did great today. So, obviously, long day, but we did a lot of really good things.”

Hungry for the series sweep, the Wildcats stole the lead back late in the fifth. A double flier by junior TJ Collett followed by a 2-run RBI from junior Jaren Shelby gave the Cats the edge over halfway through.

Although they did not score again in the game, the Cats’ defense sparkled through the remainder and kept them on top as they headed towards the sweep. Through the last five innings, the Griffins averaged 0.064. With a very close 4-3, the Cats pulled out the win.

“I told our team that we just needed to respond,” Mingione said. “And that’s exactly what we did. To get five wins in a week…I’m very pleased with this team.”

The Kentucky baseball team will no longer play on Sunday, March 3rd. They continue their homestand on Tuesday, March 5th against Wright State at 4 p.m.