Heyer’s grand slam propels the Cats’ win over EKU


Infielder Luke Heyer stands on second base during the game against WKU on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won the game 4-3. Photo by Hunter Mitchell.

Charlee Schaefer

On Tuesday, the UK baseball team won its eighth straight game with a 16-5 victory over EKU. 

With the win, the Cats are now 12-1 on the season, the best start the club has had since they won 22 games before losing a single game in 2012.

The Cats looked to produce early versus the Colonels. In the first inning, a balk was called on EKU’s starting pitcher, Logan Teague, a rare occurrence in college baseball. Although the Cats did not come up with a run in the first, they made up for it in the bottom of the second, when they scored five runs.

Designated hitter T.J. Collett started things out with a two-run home run to center field, bringing his home run count to eight so far this season, which is tied for the team-high.

Ryan Johnson and Troy Squires both hit doubles soon after and brought the score to 5-0.

The Colonels did not score until the top of the fifth but capitalized on the opportunity and scored three runs while freshman right-handed pitcher Daniel Harper seemed to lose command. Johnson also lost sight of the ball on a popup to right field, giving Cornell Nixon an extra-base hit and two RBI.

After five complete innings, freshman right-hander Jimmy Ramsey relieved Harper.

Kole Cottam hit the team’s second home run of the night in the bottom of the inning to extend their lead to 6-3. The Colonels scored what would be their final run of the evening on an errant throw from Luke Heyer in the next frame.

Zach Haake, Trip Lockhart and Crosby Bringhurst each pitched an inning out of the bullpen and showed how deep the pitching truly is this year for the Cats. Four of the five pitchers that UK used were freshman, including the starter. Harper recorded his first win.

Offensively, the Cats had another huge night. Squires went 4-4 with three doubles and Heyer went 3-4 with a grand slam in the eight-run seventh inning, bringing his home run total up to eight as well.

“I thought Troy Squires had awesome at-bats tonight, 4-4, perfect in his quality at-bats. I give a lot of credit to Kole Cottam. He and Coach Guilliams spent a lot of time on his swings,” head coach Nick Mingione said after the game.

The Cats will play in their second midweek game on Wednesday against the Northern Kentucky Norse at 4 p.m. This will be UK’s final preparation before hosting No. 3 Texas Tech this weekend.