Kentucky conquers Murray State 9-1 behind strong starting pitching


Kentucky Wildcats pitcher Seth Logue (25) throws the ball during the UK vs. Bellarmine baseball game on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 3-2. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Cole Parke

Kentucky (11-2) defeated Murray State (8-4) 9-1 on Monday, with the path to victory being paved by its starting pitching.

The Wildcats started sophomore Seth Logue, who entered the game 1-1 after having led the team to victory against Bellarmine and its first loss of the season against Western Kentucky, both notably mid-week games.

Though starting pitching had been a weak point for Kentucky entering the game, Logue put up a strong performance, pitching seven innings, a career-high for the righty.

Logue notched eight strikeouts while only allowing two hits and a walk.

Murray’s lone run was scored in the top of the first inning, putting the Racers ahead early, as Logue walked Lexington-native Bryson Bloomer early in the inning.

Redshirt-junior outfielder Brennan McCullough hit a single to deep right field with Kentucky’s Adam Fogel unable to bring it in. 

Bloomer bolted around the bases, and though shortstop Ryan Ritter tried to get him out at home plate, he was unable to make the throw accurate, which also allowed McCullough to move to second base, though he would be stranded there by a Logue strikeout.

The Racers maintained their lead until the bottom of the third inning, when Kentucky was able to load the bases on Murray State relief pitcher Malik Pogue.

With Murray having been planning to have a bullpen day entering the game, with its starter Alex Jarrell only pitching two innings, the Racers opted to make another change on the mound, bringing out redshirt-sophomore Allen Roulette.

Roulette escaped the inning mostly unscathed, but not before allowing Kentucky junior Chase Estep to hit a sacrifice fly to left field to drive home Alonzo Rubalcaba for the tying run.

Logue and Roulette would engage in a contentious pitching duel in the following innings, with Logue not allowing another hit since McCullough’s single until the sixth inning, where he gave up a single to center field.

Kentucky would also struggle against Roulette, only notching one hit, a double from Ritter, until the top of the seventh inning when he would be replaced by Alec Whaley after two runners reached base from a single and an unsuccessful fielder’s choice.

With Whaley on the mound, Kentucky blew the doors open for another signature big inning, scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh.

The first run was scored courtesy of Rubalcaba, who hit a single up the middle that scored pinch runner Michael Dallas.

The runs continued for the Cats, as Estep hit a single to right field, driving home both Rubalcaba and Daniel Harris IV.

Murray had an opportunity to end the inning with Fogel up to bat, but the right fielder reached base on a throwing error that also permitted John Thrasher to score.

Before the inning could be concluded, Estep stole third base, easily getting there with time to spare, but the Racers attempted the throw anyway, with the ball sailing into left field from the miscue, allowing Estep to then take home plate.

In the top of the eighth inning, the Wildcats relieved Logue, keeping his successful performance intact, opting to bring in graduate student Mason Hazelwood, who made his triumphant return from injury in Kentucky’s win over Evansville in the week prior.

Hazelwood completed the inning, recording one strikeout and walking one batter before forcing Murray State to ground into a double play that would end his night on the mound.

Kentucky added to its lead in the eighth inning with Harris hitting a single to right field, eventually reaching home on a passed ball.

Ritter and Estep got on base after, but it looked to be for not as senior infielder Jacob Plastiak hit what appeared to be a standard pop-out to right field.

Fate had other plans, however, as the Racers lost sight of the ball, allowing it to hit the grass just a few feet away from right fielder Seth Gardner. Both Ritter and Estep made it home in the confusion, scoring two final Wildcat runs.

Junior right-handed pitcher Tyler Guilfoil was given the call to close the game for the Wildcats, striking out all three batters faced to clinch the victory.

Kentucky looks to pick up where it left off on Tuesday, March 9, against the Ohio Bobcats. That game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. EST at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington.