Baseball sweeps Bowling Green with 10-4 victory


The UK Baseball team plays Bowling Green at Cliff Hagan Field on Friday, Feb. 26, 2010. Photo by Adam Wolffbrandt

Familiar and fresh faces powered UK to a victory on Sunday.

Junior second baseman Chris Bisson, a stalwart in the lineup, and catchers Michael Williams and Luke Maile, making their first appearances behind the plate, powered the offense as UK (6-0, 0-0 Southeastern Conference) finished off a sweep of Bowling Green with a 10-4 victory on Sunday.

With UK down by one in the sixth inning, Bisson bombed a three-run home run to give UK the lead.  He finished with four RBI on the day.

“I’m definitely not the home run hitting guy,” Bisson said. “Every time I go up to the plate, I’m always thinking that I want to be the toughest out this team’s ever had to make, ever. I love the other team saying they hate facing me.”

Bowling Green had brought in a left-handed pitcher to face the left-handed hitting Bisson. 0-for-3 up to that point, Bisson changed his fortunes, and his team’s, with one swing.

“I was mad that they brought in a lefty,” Bisson said.  “I hate it when teams do that, when they think you can’t hit that.  I kind of took it personally.”

Two innings later, Bisson, a third-team All-American, padded the lead he had provided earlier with an RBI triple off the wall.

“If you’re going to have a good team, guys have got to show up and they got to come through when it matters,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “And that clearly changes the game.  Clearly.”

The backup catchers also brought their bats with them. With senior catcher Marcus Nidiffer out of the lineup, UK didn’t lose any productivity. Williams went 2-for-2, including a double during a crucial second inning in which UK closed within one run.

“I was really happy about that,” Henderson said. “I thought he did a nice job at the plate, and he did a nice job blocking pitches in the dirt.”

Williams’ day ended after he got drilled in the head by a fastball in the sixth inning. His status wasn’t immediately known after the game. Freshman Luke Maile replaced him and had a dream-like start to the season and his career. In his first college at-bat, Maile launched a home run over the left field wall.

“It was surreal,” Maile said. “I didn’t even realize what happened until I was in the dugout for about five minutes. It was a special moment.”

The Cats demonstrated their penchant for having an answer to a deficit. UK fell behind by four after Bowling Green’s first two times at-bat.  It was the third time in the series that Bowling Green scored first. It was also the third time UK was able to bounce back and get the win.

“That just goes for our nine guys,” Bisson said. “They had momentum, but we have a strong personality and everybody picked each other up.”

Henderson said he liked that the team was able to come back, but saw some concern in the sloppy starts.

“It’s good and bad,” Henderson said. “Clearly we have to get it figured out how we start out better offensively or a little cleaner on the mound. The ability to come back, it speaks well of our guys.”

Bowling Green’s early lead came after a shaky start for UK junior pitcher Logan Darnell. He was peppered for six hits and four runs in the first two innings.

“I was really disappointed with how long Logan took to make an adjustment,” Henderson said. “In the second inning clearly it was all about effort.”

Darnell was able to recover from the slow start, blanking Bowling Green for the rest of his start. He finished with seven hits and seven strikeouts in six innings.

“Logan had a bit of a rough outing at the beginning,” Bisson said. “But you can tell by all the zeroes at the end, it’s his toughness.  He’s not going to let anybody beat him down.”