Cats start baseball season strong in South Carolina


Kentucky outfielder Tristan Pompey throws the ball in during the game against Austin Peay on Mar. 2, 2016, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff

Charlee Schaefer

After the club’s fourth game of the weekend, No. 8 UK baseball is now 4-0 to start its season after Sunday’s 8-4 victory over Evansville. 

The Cats had the opposite record last year, when they started their season against the University of North Carolina and Liberty University, losing four games before coming up with a win.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Daniel Harper got the start in the beautiful sunny morning matchup and struck out eight batters through four complete innings.

Junior college transfer Aaron McGeorge replaced Harper and proved yet again that UK’s pitching should certainly be its strong suit in the months to come. McGeorge had a late start to the season and to fall ball due to a foot injury but has impressed the coaching staff in the bullpen the last few weeks.

While the pitching was good, UK was also an offensive powerhouse this weekend, scoring a total of 30 runs.

Tristan Pompey went 4-4 at the plate on Sunday with three doubles and a single. Pompey has also been working on his defense and made some impressive plays this weekend.

If he continues to be a force in left field, he will likely climb in the 2018 MLB Draft.

“Offensively, to be perfect in his quality at-bats, to have three doubles and a single, I think that’s obviously what he’s capable of doing. To his credit, he made an adjustment this morning in the batting cages and it obviously paid off,” head coach Nick Mingione said post-game.

Although the Cats had a big weekend from behind the plate, they need to focus on capitalizing with runners in scoring position. They stranded over 30 runners through the four games they played.

Mingione said he’s extremely proud of his team and the players stepping up in big RBI situations.

Ben Akslinski, Ryan Johnson and McGeorge are among many JUCO transfers who had an impressive weekend and are expected to make a significant impact to this year’s squad. 

The Cats head back to Lexington to play the Xavier Musketeers on Wednesday for their last-first home game of the season at Cliff Hagan Stadium. First pitch is at 4 p.m.

** UPDATE **

UK’s home opener against Xavier has now been pushed up to Tuesday at 6 p.m. due to a rainy forecast on Wednesday.