Cats can’t complete comeback againts Cards

Chris Angolia

No. 18 UK baseball (22-10) dropped the first of two games that it will play against in-state rival No. 9 Louisville (26-7) this year, by a final score of 9-6 on Wednesday. 

The Cards jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after Devin Mann was walked with two outs and Brendan McKay doubled, scoring Mann. 

In the third, the Cats hurt themselves after a pair of errors on potential double play balls resulted in the bases being loaded with one out. After starting pitcher Zach Logue got a strikeout for the second out, he hit a batter and then Drew Ellis singled for the Cards increasing the Louisville lead to four runs. 

The Cards would go on to add three more runs in the fifth after Ellis stepped in with the bases loaded and one out, and roped a bases-clearing double. Ellis finished the game with a career-high five runs batted in. 

However, UK would fight back by adding a pair of runs in the bottom half, courtesy of a throwing error which scored Luke Becker and a RBI single by Storm Wilson later scored Tristan Pompey. The Cats trimmed the lead once more in the sixth when they loaded the bases with two outs, and Zach Reks came in to score on a wild pitch to make the score 7-3.

Becker had a nice day at the plate for UK, going 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Along with Becker, Riley Mahan added a pair of singles as well. Mahan’s average is now up to .321 on the year, up nearly .100 points from 2015.   

In the eighth, the Cats cut deeper into the deficit with three runs, two coming off a pinch-hit opposite field home run by Dorian Hairston. The homer was Hairston’s third of the year and this one will be a little more special because Dorian’s brother, Devin, is the shortstop for the Cardinals. Devin had a solid game himself, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored. 

Heading to the ninth, UK had the score at 7-6 and was trailing by just one run. Unfortunately for the Cats, the Cards added two runs of insurance in the ninth, which was all junior right-hander Zack Burdi needed, cementing the 9-6 win for the Cards.

“It wasn’t clean on either side,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “They did a really nice job of taking advantage of some gifts we gave them, but they did a good job. When they needed key hits they got them. They got a few more of them then we did, but it wasn’t a clean game.”

UK looks to bounce back from the loss this weekend when it travels to No. 5 Vanderbilt, where the Cats put their 5-0 record in SEC series play on the line beginning Friday night in Nashville.