Big bats propel Kentucky to 13-11 win in game one against No. 8 TCU


Kentucky Wildcats infielder Ryan Ritter (47) jogs to first base 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

Samantha Money

Kentucky defeated No. 8 TCU 13-11 in game one of a three-game series on Friday at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington. 

Both teams started out strong in the first inning, with the Cats beginning in the field. Cole Stupp  took the mound as the starting pitcher for UK while Austin Krob started for the Frogs.  

Stupp threw three strikeouts while also giving up three runs at the top of the first. While going down early, Kentucky would rid themselves of the deficit in the bottom of the first. 

The Cats showed out at the plate with Hunter Jump, Adam Fogel, Daniel Harris, Ryan Ritter and  Jacob Plastiak all scoring. The highlight of the inning was Plastiak hitting a two-run home run.  

This exciting first inning ended with the Cats up 5-3. 

The top of the second inning saw no runs from TCU after Ryan Hagenow took over pitching for Stupp. In the bottom of the second, Jump and Harris added to the Cats’ lead with two runs. 

The score remained 7-3 through the third and fourth innings with both pitching staffs attempting to settle in. 

The Frogs made a comeback at the top of the fifth, scoring five runs against the Cats. 

After two pivotal runs by TCU’s Elijah Nunez and Luke Boyners, Kentucky sent in Daniel  Harper to relieve Hagenow, who had four strikeouts for the night.  

With TCU now in the lead 8-7, the Cats took to the plate and fought back. 

A strong single to right field by Chase Estep allowed Nolan McCarthy to score, while John Thrasher and Alonzo Rubalcaba advanced on the base paths.

With the bases loaded, Plastiak stepped up to the plate. He hit a grounder that brought Rubalcaba home, which would then be followed up by a Fogel double that brought in two more runs for the Bat Cats.

The inning concluded with UK back in the lead with a score of 11-8. 

With TCU up at bat, Kentucky made another pitcher change, this time with Sean Harney taking  over for Harper. 

Refusing to back down, the Frogs tied up the game with more crucial runs from Boyers, Nunez  and Brayden Taylor. In the bottom of the sixth, TCU did not allow any action from Kentucky and quickly made three outs.

The top of the ninth inning saw Kentucky end TCU’s hopes for more runs with three quick outs,  ending the game 13-11 in favor of the blue and white.

Coach Nick Mingione gave a lot of credit to the pitchers after the win.

“I thought Ryan Hagenow came out of the bullpen and immediately just changed the tone of the game. And then Harper came in and got us three outs and then Sean Harney – I thought he was great,” Mingione said.

Kentucky takes on TCU again on Saturday, March 4, at Kentucky Proud Park at 1 p.m. EST.