June 4, 2017
Kentucky Staves Off Elimination Behind Offensive Barrage
Wildcats’ offense explodes for 14 runs, Thompson pitches seven strong innings in win
By Matt May
UK Media Relations
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Behind the arm of Zack Thompson and a powerful offensive display, top-seeded Kentucky defeated No. 2 seed Indiana 14-9 to advance to the Lexington Regional final Sunday night.
The Cats (41-21) struck early with a run in the first inning, but Indiana immediately answered in their half of the inning so there was more work to be done. Marcus Carson and Connor Heady picked up four hits, three runs, and two RBI combined, including a home run from Carson that broke the tie in the top of the second inning. Sophomore catcher Kole Cottam added a solo shot of his own in the fourth inning that sparked a walk and pair of singles that plated one more before the inning was over.
UK scored in five different innings, including a monster sixth inning that saw six runs come across on four hits.
Riley Mahan made sure there weren’t going to be any Cats left on base in the top of the sixth inning when he blasted his second grand slam of the season over the right-field wall, which busted the game wide open and gave UK a 10-1 lead. The junior infielder finished the game with five RBI, a new career high, and 4-of-6 at the plate.
In a career-long outing of seven innings, Thompson gave up a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning, but cruised in the middle innings while retiring 16-of-17 hitters up to the seventh inning. The freshman lefty finished just three strikeouts shy of his career-high (10), which he set in the regular season meeting with the Hoosiers, and walked one less batter than he did when the two teams met on May 9.
Top 1st – Evan White and Zach Reks singled. Riley Mahan singled through the right side of the infield, scoring White from second base. UK 1, IU 0.
Bot 1st – Tony Butler homered to left field. UK 1, IU 1.
Top 2nd – Marcus Carson homered to right field. UK 2, IU 1.
Top 4th – Kole Cottam homered to center field. Tyler Marshall walked and moved to third base when Carson singled. Connor Heady singled to left field, scoring Marshall from third. UK 4, IU 1.
Top 6th – Carson was hit by a pitch and advanced to third base when Heady doubled to left field. Tristan Pompey doubled down the left-field line and plated Carson and Heady. White walked and Reks singled, which loaded the bases for UK. Mahan stepped in with a grand slam to RF. UK 10, IU 1.
Bot 7th – Logan Sowers homered to right field. Alex Krupa was hit by a pitch, and Austin Cangelosi homered to center field. UK 10, IU 4.
Top 8th – White and Reks singled. Luke Heyer singled to left center, scoring white from second base. Mahan singled through the right side of the infield, which loaded the bases. Cottam score Reks and Heyer when he singled through the left side. Marshall was hit by a pitch, and Storm Wilson flew out to RF but scored Mahan on the sac fly. UK 14, IU 4.
Bot 9th – Laren Eustace walked, and Butler was hit by a pitch. Christopher Lowe singled, scoring Eustace. Luke Miller singled, scoring Butler. Criag Dedelow homered to right-center field. UK 14, IU 9.
· The Cats are now 16-17 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
· Kentucky now has 41 wins on the season, the sixth time in school history the Cats have reached 40 wins and first since the 2012 team won 45.
o The 41 victories tie the 1991 team (41-20) for fourth most in school history.
· Kentucky struck out eight Indiana hitters in the game, extending its single-season record to 547 total strikeouts.
· UK is now 28-6 at Cliff Hagan Stadium, marking just the fifth time in UK history the Cats have won at least 25 games at home.
o The 28 wins tie the 2008 team for third most in a season at Cliff Hagan Stadium, three shy of the record 31 the 2006 team posted.
o The Cats are 18-1 at home vs. non-SEC foes.
· Freshman LHP Zack Thompson went 7.0 IP, giving up four runs on six hits and striking out seven.
o Thompson is now 8-2 on the season.
o His eight wins rank tied for ninth on UK’s single-season wins list.
o The wins are a UK freshman record.
o Thompson’s 8-2 record gives him a .800 winning percentage this season, tied for 8th in UK single-season history.
o The 7.0 innings are a career-high.
· Sophomore OF Tristan Pompey
o He extended his reached base safely streak to 33 straight games.
o Pompey now has hit safely in 46 of his past 51 games.
o Pompey has 25 multi-hit games this season and 32 for his career.
o Pompey’s 91 hits this season are the 5th most for a UK player in a single season.
· Junior 1B Evan White
o White now has 227 career hits, moving him into 7th on UK’s all-time list.
o White has a hit in 33 of his last 39 games.
o Extended reached base safely streak to 26 of last 29 games.
o White now has 28 multi-hit games this season and 72 for his career.
· Senior OF Zach Reks
o Reks has reached base safely in 31 of the last 32 games.
o Has a hit in 16 of the past 18 games.
o Reks has 25 multi-hit games this season and 36 for his career.
· Sophomore C Kole Cottam
o Cottam is 14-for-28 (.500) in the last eight games, including six extra-base hits.
o Cottam is riding a career-long eight game hit streak.
o The home run is Cottam’s seventh of the season.
· Junior IF Riley Mahan
o Mahan’s grand slam was the second of his career.
o Mahan now has 17 multi-RBI games this season and 24 in his career.
o Mahan has eight RBI in the regional.
o Mahan now has 65 RBI on the season, moving him into 7th on UK’s single-season list.
o Mahan has 25 multi-hit games this season and 42 in his career.
· Senior OF Marcus Carson
o It was Carson’s sixth home run of the season.
o Carson now has 18 multi-hit games this season and 25 for his career.
o Carson was hit by his 20th pitch of the season, moving him into a tie for 4th on the UK single-season list with Antone DeJesus (2007) and Taylor Black (2010).
· Senior SS Connor Heady
o Heady logged his 13th multi-hit game of the season and 19th of his career.
· Senior OF Storm Wilson had a pinch hit SAC fly.
o Wilson now ranks tied for 5th on the UK career list with 11 SAC flies.