Cats beat Bobcats, move within two wins of super regionals


Kentucky Wildcats pitcher Sean Hjelle delivers a pitch during the first inning of the first round game of the Lexington Regional at Cliff Hagan Stadium on Friday, June 2, 2017 in Lexington, KY. Photo by Addison Coffey | Staff.

Charlee Schaefer

After a 6-4 victory over the Ohio University Bobcats on Friday, the No. 1 regionally seeded UK baseball team advanced to the second round of the Lexington Regional and face No. 3 North Carolina State on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. 

The Cats’ defense was outstanding today and recorded no errors. 

“I’ve been talking all year about pitching and defense and that is what wins championships and that is what won us the game again today, because of the way these guys defended,” head coach Nick Mingione said. 

The starting pitcher, right-handed sophomore Sean Hjelle, walked three batters and allowed eight hits in seven innings. UK took the early lead in the bottom of the first with a two-out run that scored two runs, starting with a double from Zach Reks.

“Our offense was relentless,” Mingione said. “We are never out of the game. We will never stop competing and they are going to do everything we can to give us a chance to win.”

Hjelle had a quality outing until the 8th inning where he allowed two singles and a home run and was replaced by freshman right-hander Chris Machamer, who gave up no hits and recorded one strikeout. Machamer has continued to prove his potential and skill as a relief pitcher out of the bullpen. 

Senior closer Logan Salow relieved Machamer in the 9th inning and gave up one run after a leadoff walk and a single by Ohio’s second baseman, Ty Black.

Defensively, the Cats had an impressive game after struggling throughout the season and being ranked 10th in the SEC in fielding. Neither team recorded an error. 

The Cats had strong performances by Riley Mahan who went 3-5 with two singles, a double and two RBIs, Luke Becker who went 2-5 with a single, double and an RBI and Evan White who went 2-5 with a single and a double. 

With their second first-game regional win in the history of UK baseball, the Cats are looking for two more wins to advance to the super regionals next weekend.