Kentucky sweeps doubleheader against High Point


Kentucky Wildcats infielder Chase Estep (12) throws the ball 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

Ian Alvano

Kentucky found its form again after beating High Point in both games of a doubleheader at Kentucky Proud Park on Friday, March 11.  

The Wildcats were able to bounce back after their mid-week defeat to Ohio. Kentucky now moves to 13-3 on the year, with the last game of the series against High Point slated for Sunday, March 13.  

Junior Cole Stupp was on the mound for UK in the first game of the doubleheader, and starting for the Panthers was Sophomore Teddy Merritt.  

Stupp was dominant in the first game, going six innings with six strikeouts. The only runs he allowed were three in the top of the seventh.  

Ryan Ritter could not have started Kentucky’s at bats any better, as he hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first. Ritter would go on and do the exact same thing in the second game of the doubleheader. He had not hit one out this year before Friday.  

Ritter talked about how well he was seeing the ball: 


Yeah I was just trying to be early; I was trying to get my swing off. I know I’ve been a kind of late and passive on my swing. So, I just wanted to change it up and be more aggressive early in the count,” he said.   

Adam Fogel followed with a sacrifice fly that made it 2-0 UK after one.  

In the next inning, following John Thrasher’s RBI single, Chase Estep continued his hot hitting.  

His two-run shot made it 5-0 Kentucky. Estep extended his hitting streak to 13 games with his sixth home run of the season. He was batting .481 to begin the game.  

UK kept its foot on the gas, adding three more in the third thanks to Alonzo Rubalcaba’s base clearing double and Ryan Ritter’s RBI double.  

Kirk Liebert took over in the middle of the game for Kentucky.  

He crashed into the left field wall in the top of the fourth, catching a fly ball on the run with two on and two out.  

Then on a 3-1 pitch in the bottom of the fifth, Liebert blasted a long drive to left center field for a grand slam. Liebert’s first home run of the year put the Wildcats up 13-0.  

Kentucky added one more in the bottom of the sixth and went on to win 14-3 in seven innings.  

Magdiel Cotto was UK’s starter for the second game of the doubleheader.  

After Ritter’s leadoff homer, Jacob Plastiak scored on a wild pitch and the Wildcats led 2-0 after the first.  

Kentucky tripled its lead in the bottom of the second after Ritter’s RBI triple scored two and Plastiak hit a two-run bomb. Estep extendedhis hitting streak to 14 games and UK added another in the bottom of the fourth to make it 7-0.  

Cotto’s day was done after the Panthers got two back in the fifth.  


Darren Williams entered the game, replacing Cotto. Williams gave up two singles to Adam Stuart and Sam Zayicek, which scored three for High Point. Williams got out of the inning with the Wildcats up 7-5.  

Estep’s leadoff shot in the bottom of the sixth gave Kentucky a much-needed insurance run.  

Adam Fogel’s RBI double in the bottom of the eighth put Kentucky up 9-5, and that was enough for the Wildcats to get the win.  

Ritter and Estep’s impressive performances propelled Kentucky to a doubleheader sweep. Coach Nick Mingione talked about what changed after the defeat to Ohio on Wednesday.  

“Our guys don’t like to lose, they want to win, and you know obviously we needed to get off to a better start and Stupp did that in the first and Mag (Magdiel) gave us a great start there,” Mingione said. 

The Wildcats end the series on Sunday against the Panthers, and the rigorous SEC schedule begins next weekend when Kentucky goes to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas.