UK climbs atop SEC standings with series victory over Ole Miss


Junior Evan White watches his ht during a game against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Carter Gossett | Staff

By Chris Angolia

If anyone thought that No. 19 UK baseball was going to be slowed down when it hosted No. 14 Ole Miss this weekend, they were mistaken. The Cats took the final two games of the series this weekend after dropping game one to the Rebels on Thursday night.

On Thursday, the Rebels grabbed a 1-0 series lead with a 9-6 victory that ended UK’s season-opening 10-game winning streak.

The Cats found themselves down 9-1 in the game but as they have done all year, they showed a lot of fight to get back into the game thanks to a surprising yet helpful boost from freshman T.J. Collett. Collett was unable to play in the team’s first 19 games as he recovered from an injury that many believed would keep him out for a longer period, but that was not the case.

A grand slam in his first ever collegiate at-bat brought the Cats to within three, but the deficit proved to be too much for UK. And despite the loss in game one, the presence of Collett will be a nice addition to the lineup.

In game two of the series on Friday, the Cats bounced back with a 4-1 victory behind another strong outing from junior Zach Logue who fired seven innings of two-run ball including a career-high seven strikeouts in route to picking up his fourth victory of the season.

Just as it did in game one, UK received another boost to its offense from an injured player, as All-American first baseman Evan White returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous nine games. White went 3-4 in his return on Friday with one of the teams four RBI.

The rubber game of the series on Saturday was a tough act for the Cats to follow as the basketball team took down UCLA in the Sweet 16 the night before, but the baseball team made its own headlines.

Justin Lewis one-upped Logue allowing just one run over seven innings of work, and tied a career high with eight strikeouts in the team’s 4-1 win. The offense was the beneficiary of a couple Rebels errors that allowed UK to score two unearned runs and that was all that Lewis and the bullpen needed.

The main arm out of the bullpen for the Cats this year has been Logan Salow who has not allowed an earned run in 19 innings of work and has not allowed a hit or a walk to 24 consecutive batters. Salow leads the team with six saves and has done a good job of closing the door on UK’s opponents.

Now 18-7 and 5-1 in the conference, the Cats are atop of the SEC standings and are continuing to prove to everyone across the country that UK is trending upwards in 2017.