UK baseball plates 8 in win over Marshall

By Nick Gray | @KYKernelGray

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UK baseball’s offense sprung to life in the middle three innings en route to an 8-2 victory over Marshall Wednesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

The Cats exploded for two runs in innings four and five, then plated three runs in the sixth inning to blow open what was a 2-0 Marshall lead through three innings.

Junior shortstop Matt Reida hit 2-for-3 with two runs batted in and two runs scored. Freshman catcher Greg Fettes went 2-for-2 with a double, two runs scored and two walks and is now hitting .571 this year in 14 at-bats. Reida and Fettes composed the eighth and ninth spots in the UK lineup.

Senior outfielder Zac Zellers went 1-for-4 with two runs batted in and has reached safely in eight of the last nine games.

Sophomore right handed pitcher Chandler Shepherd pitched three innings, giving up two runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

The Cats’ freshman bullpen group of right handed pitcher Kyle Cody, left-handed pitcher Dylan Dwyer, left-handed pitcher Ryne Combs and right-handed pitcher Zack Strecker pitched five scoreless innings, allowing five hits and a walk combined. Senior right-handed pitcher Walter Wijas pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

UK made up the two-run deficit in the bottom of the fourth inning with two RBI singles, one from sophomore infielder Thomas Bernal and another by Reida. The singles were the first two hits by the Cats in the game.

“Once you get on the board, it relieves some tension,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “Scoreless through three and not very competitive at-bats is pretty disappointing. When you get on and end up tying it up and you haven’t been playing very well and it’s tied going into the top of the fifth, you feel good about it.”

UK took the lead for good in the fifth inning. Sophomore centerfielder Austin Cousino doubled, moving Fettes from first to third. Fettes scored on a wild pitch, and Zellers brought Cousino home on a sacrifice fly.

The Cats extended the lead in the sixth inning after a bizarre play. Bernal walked, and the fourth ball in the at-bat was a wild pitch that rolled to the backstop. The home plate umpire inadvertently called timeout, forcing freshman outfielder Kyle Barrett, who was at third and running towards the plate, to trot back to third.

Reida executed a squeeze bunt in front of the pitcher on the next pitch that scored Barrett. Reida was safe at first and scored eventually on a single by Zellers. Fettes would also score again on a wild pitch.

UK would tack on another run (by Reida) in the eighth on an error by the Marshall left fielder after a Fettes double.

UK plays host to a three-game series against Georgia this weekend. First pitch Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m.