Kentucky baseball disappoints on opening day, suffers two-run loss against Elon


Kentucky Wildcats pitcher Seth Logue (25) pitches during the UK vs. Morehead State baseball game on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 7-5. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Aaron Benjamin, Reporter

Kentucky Baseball was defeated by Elon in its opening matchup on Friday afternoon.

The final score was 2-0 in the contest that went through all nine innings and lasted 2 hours and 19 minutes. The game was held at Latham Park in Elon, North Carolina.

The Cats elected to start senior pitcher Logan Martin, his first game in the blue and white after playing three seasons at the division-three level.

The home team would put Shea Sprague on the mound to start. 

Both teams would remain scoreless after the first inning of play.

The Phoenix would ultimately strike first with a Tanner Holliman homer to left center field off of Martin in the second inning, and a 1-2-3 inning for the Cats would bring Elon back up to hit.

This time, in the bottom of the third, two singles and a hit batter would result in another run crossing.

The top of the fourth would see James McCoy record his first ever hit in a Kentucky uniform before a Devin Burkes flyout and an Émilien Pitre double-play ball would end the inning for the Cats. 

The bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth would not see any significant scoring action, though redshirt senior infielder Hunter Gilliam would join the list of players to get their first hit as a Kentucky Wildcat. 

In the top of the sixth newcomer Grant Smith would become the third UK player of the night to record their first hit with the team, though like those before him, no scoring threat would come of it.

The bottom of the sixth would bring a pitching change for Kentucky and the return of Darren Williams in his seventh year of college baseball.

Last year Williams suffered an elbow injury in early April which forced him to undergo Tommy John surgery.

He handled a scoring chance for Elon in the sixth and then in the seventh, striking out the side. 

The eighth inning wouldn’t see any runs scored with only Nolan McCarthy reaching base on a throwing error for the Cats.

In the top of the ninth, relief pitcher Ben Simon would come on to close the game and he would do just that in impressive fashion, forcing three UK batters to strike out swinging in a row to end the game. 

The game saw Kentucky fall to 0-1 to start the year, suffering just its fifteenth loss to a non-power five school. 

The team recorded just four hits on the day, with a runner reaching second only twice, one of which was on a throwing error and the other one on a bunt.  

This start was far from what the group expected to have, with the loss coming against a team that went 27-28 last year. 

Kentucky will try to regroup and get its first victory of the season 2023 in the second game of the series. The game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. ET.