UK baseball dominates in Houston, goes 11-1 for first time since 2013


UK baseball players celebrating during the baseball game between The University of Louisiana at Lafayette and The University of Kentucky at Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX on Sunday, March 4, 2018. Photo provided by Tim Warner.

Charlee Schaefer

The No. 7 UK baseball team is 11-1 for the first time since 2013, after an impressive showing at Minute Maid Park this weekend. The Cats won all three games of the weekend and outscored opponents 31-8. 

On Saturday, the Cats played Sam Houston State. Luke Heyer hit his third home run of the weekend and Tristan Pompey made his first appearance since rolling his ankle last week. Designated hitter T.J. Collett also hit his first home run of the weekend, while Luke Becker hit his second triple in as many days.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Zack Thompson had a much-improved performance from last week and recorded his second win of the season. He pitched six shutout innings in which he allowed only four hits, walked one and struck out seven batters.

Freshman right hander Jimmy Ramsey pitched an inning of relief before handing things off to junior right-hander Zach Haake in the eighth inning. Haake allowed his first run of the year after two singles and blew Thompson’s chance at a shutout. Haake battled and kept the damage at two runs and secured the win at 7-2 for Thompson.

On Sunday, veteran pitcher Justin Lewis took the mound and recorded seven strikeouts.

Ryan Shinn started things off for the Cats with a two-run triple in the second inning, answering the Ragin’ Cajuns’ run off a hit batter, sacrificial bunt and sacrificial fly.

The Cajuns scored a run in the sixth after a two-base error and wild pitch.

T.J. Collett answered in the bottom of the inning with a bomb into the upper deck in right field, quieting the Cajuns and extending his hitting streak to 11 games.

Lewis could have probably made it through another inning, but third baseman Alex Rodriguez hesitated too long on a routine ground out and let runners advance to all three bases. Freshman pitcher Mason Hazelwood came in with the bases loaded and faced one batter before passing the ball to Ramsey.

Ramsey made his second appearance of the weekend and got the big out for his team. The freshmen minimized the damage in what could have been a bad situation.

There was a scary moment in the top of the seventh when Ryan Johnson was hit by a pitch in the face. Zeke Lewis replaced him and hit a single to right field, adding another run. Medical services were called and UK and the Astros’ staff checked on him. Johnson received stitches.

Chris Machamer took over in the ninth inning in his best performance of the season. He struck out the three batters he faced and shut the door on the Cajuns in the 10-4 win.

Collett and Heyer both had a huge weekend. Collett had three singles, two doubles and two home runs and Heyer had three home runs, three singles and two doubles, with a .727 batting average.

“To Luke’s credit, he’s a senior and he wanted an opportunity,” head coach Nick Mingione said after the game. “He has just put himself in a position where he scored every single at-bat.”

Pompey had two big at-bats in Houston and extended his reached-base streak to 44 games.

The Cats head back to Lexington and will face Northern Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University before they play a big weekend series against Texas Tech.