Kentucky baseball defeats Western Michigan 16-5, sweeping home series


Kentucky Wildcats infielder Daniel Harris IV (1) drops a fly 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 baseball (7-0) defeated Western Michigan (1-5) 16-5 on Sunday, sweeping its first home series of the season.

With the win, UK remained undefeated on the year, sweeping both its first home and road series as well as defeating Bellarmine in its home opener.

Starting on the mound for Kentucky, graduate student Tyler Bosma pitched five innings, allowing all five of WMU’s runs off of seven hits and two walks.

While not his best day on the bump overall, Bosma also recorded eight strikeouts during his tenure, tying what the Broncos were able to do with all five of their arms combined.

Unlike previous games UK has played this season, the scoring started early on Sunday, with WMU’s Gavin Doyle reaching home plate off a fielding error in the top of the first to give the Broncos an early lead.

The lead would ultimately be short lived however, as junior infielder Ryan Ritter reached home from a wild pitch by WMU’s Nick Crandell, tying the game at one.

Kentucky would take the lead in the second inning, scoring two more runs on Crandell courtesy of a Daniel Harris IV double and a sacrifice fly by John Thrasher.

The Broncos refused to go down easily early, tying the game in the third inning, as WMU redshirt sophomore Will Morrison doubled to center field and Doyle grounded out, allowing Connor Charping to score.

Continuing the trend, Kentucky added two more runs in the next two innings as junior infielder Chase Estep hit a home run to right field in the third and Alonzo Rubalcaba hit a double down the line to score Harris in the fourth inning.

For the final time, Western Michigan fought back, tying the game at five in the fifth inning, with Morrison scoring Charping with a single and Doyle scoring Justin Mcintyre with an outfield single.

The inning would be the last one pitched for Bosma, who was pulled heading into the sixth inning in favor of graduate student Darren Williams.

Williams pitched three innings, with the game concluding in the eighth, allowing three hits but shutting the door on WMU in the runs department.

Western Michigan also opted for a change on the mound after the fifth inning, pulling Crandell from the game.

Both teams would remain deadlocked until the eighth and final inning in which Kentucky would once again open the floodgates, scoring 11 runs to secure the win.

With WMU redshirt freshman Dylan Nevar on the mound, Kentucky graduate student Oraj Anu started the run for Kentucky, recording an RBI single to score outfielder Nolan McCarthy.

Rubalcaba then reached base on an error, with Kirk Liebert making it to home plate for an unearned run.

Disaster continued to strike for Nevar, allowing a two-RBI single to Thrasher, scoring both Harris and freshman infielder Michael Dallas.

Nevar would allow one final run, striking Estep with a pitch to score Rubalcaba, before being pulled from the game.

In his relief, WMU brought out Bobby Dearing, who didn’t fare much better than Nevar.

Dearing allowed three more runs to Kentucky, all coming from walks, with Thrasher, Ritter and Estep all strolling home, with Estep in particular making it all the way from the batter’s box back to home plate without any effort.

With the writing on the wall, Dearing was also pulled by the Broncos, instead putting redshirt freshman Luke Thelen on the mound.

Thelen allowed sophomore infielder Reuben Church to double to center field, scoring Liebert, McCarthy and Jacob Plastiak for three RBI, ending the game with a mercy rule due to the Cats having gone ahead 10 runs past the seventh inning.

With the win, Kentucky improves to 7-0 for the first time since 2012, with head coach Nick Mingione winning his 150th career game.

Following the sweep, Kentucky is scheduled to host Western Kentucky for a one game set on Tuesday, March 1, inside Kentucky Proud Park, with that game currently scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. EST.