Kentucky punctuated a perfect six-game home stand in style, pummeling Wright State 15-1 on a rainy and cool evening at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Wildcats outscored their opponents 61-7 in the six games behind a relentless offensive attack and stingy pitching and defense.
The Cats (8-5) have now won six straight and eight of nine.
“In order to score that many runs you need to have some things go your way, it can’t be just hitting,” UK coach Nick Mingione said. “We’ve been able to take our walks, HBPs, stolen bases…all the things that allow you to score runs.”
Reliever turned weekday starter Brad Schaenzer (2-0) continued to put up zeroes, going six scoreless innings, allowing just hits three hits and one walk and striking out a career-high eight. The junior lefty has now pitched 15.2 consecutive scoreless innings to start the season with only seven hits allowed and 18 strikeouts. Going back to last season he’s riding a 16.2 scoreless inning streak.
The Cats blew the game open after a 12-minute rain delay in the bottom of the sixth. Senior outfielder Marcus Carson smoked a two-run double over the centerfielder’s head as part of his career-high four hits to make it 6-0. The Raiders intentionally walked White to re-load the bases and then relievers Bear Bellomy and Mitch Gremling walked four batters with the bases loaded to force in runs and extend the lead.
The win was a quality one, as Wright State opened the season taking a series at No. 10 Clemson and following up with a win at No. 4 South Carolina.
The Cats travel to Cincinnati on Wednesday before returning home to host Miami (Ohio) in their final non-conference weekend series before Southeastern Conference play begins.
AT THE PLATE
The Cats once again swarmed their opponent, putting up four runs in the first two innings and piling on the bullpen late with a six-run sixth inning and five-run seventh. Eight players recorded RBIs in the game and 10 scored a run, producing a balanced attack in conditions not conducive to big offensive numbers. UK also drew 11 walks and now have 71 free passes on the season.
ON THE MOUND
Junior left-hander Brad Schaenzer had a brilliant start for the second-consecutive Tuesday, tossing a career-high six scoreless innings to earn his second win of the season. Schaenzer, who has not given up a run in 15.2 innings, allowed three hits, walked one and struck out a career-high eight. Senior lefty Colton Cleary relieved Schaenzer and allowed his first run of the season after five appearances and 6.2 innings. Mark Doerries and Josh Smith closed out the final two innings.
Bottom 1st – Marcus Carson singled through the left side of the infield, stole second base, moved to third on Evan White’s line single to LCF and scored on Zach Reks’ fielder’s choice. UK 1, Wright St. 0.
Bottom 2nd – Luke Becker drew a walk to start the inning and advanced to second on Troy Squires’ sacrifice bunt. Carson singled up the middle to drive Becker home and scored on White’s double down the LF line. White then came home on Reks’ single to CF. UK 4, Wright St. 0.
Bottom 6th – Becker drew a walk, Squires singled back up the middle and Connor Heady walked to load the bases. After a short rain delay Carson greeted new pitcher Bear Bellomy with a two-run double over the CF’s head. The Raiders intentionally walked White before Reks, Kole Cottam, Tristan Pompey and pinch-hitter Tyler Marshall each drew RBI walks to score Heady, Carson, White and Reks. UK 10, Wright St. 0.
Top 7th – Adrian Marquez reached on an infield single, Kevin Whatley walked and Brandon Giltrow blooped a single to shallow CF to load the bases in front of Matt Morrow, who was hit by a pitch to force in a run. UK 10, Wright St. 1.
Bottom 7th – Heady began the inning with a solo home run off the scoreboard in LCF. Carson doubled into the RF corner and White walked before Reks doubled off the LCF wall to score both of them. After Reks advanced on a wild pitch, Cottam lined out to CF to score Reks and earn on a SAC fly. Pompey singled and came around to score on Marshall Gei’s first career hit and RBI. UK 15, Wright St. 1.
· Junior left-hander Brad Schaenzer tied his career high with 6.0 innings pitched and set a new high-water mark with eight strikeouts, blowing away his previous high of five set two other times.
o Schaenzer is 2-0 in two starts, going 11.0 innings with seven hits, 0 runs, five walks and 13 strikeouts.
o Schaenzer is currently riding a 16.2 scoreless inning streak.
o Schaenzer has 15.2 scoreless innings to start the season.
· Senior outfielder Marcus Carson went 4-of-6 with four runs scored, three RBI and two doubles.
o The four hits and four runs scored each set new career-high marks.
o Carson now counts eight extra-base hits among his 21 total hits.
· Senior infielder Connor Heady hit his second home run of the season, tying his previous season-high set in 2015.
· Junior first baseman Evan White went 2-of-3 with a double, two runs, two walks and an RBI.
o White now has 167 career hits and needs just six to enter UK’s Top 20 for career hits.
· Senior outfielder Zach Reks drove in a career-high five runs, shattering his previous high of two.
· The Cats have outhit their opponent in 10 of 13 games.
· Kentucky outscored opponents 61-1 on its six-game home stand. (2/28 – 3/7).
o The Wildcats’ 15 runs marked the fifth time that they’ve posted double digit runs this season.
UK travels to Cincinnati on Wednesday to face the Bearcats at Marge Schott Stadium. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m. Fans can listen on the UK Sports Network via UKathletics.com and iHeart Radio or 98.5 FM in the Lexington area. The game also can be found at GoBearcats.com.
Follow along with the Cats on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and on the web at UKathletics.com.
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