The Bat Cats pull off a victory today against the USC-Upstate Spartans in Spartanburg, South Carolina 11-10. This gets the Wildcats off to a 3-0 baseball start. UK is ranked as high as 8th in the early season polls.
This was a game of offense, where both teams were hitting the cover off the ball. Kentucky continues the Gary Henderson philosophy of extreme aggression on the basepaths, scoring 11 runs on only 12 hits. J.T. Riddle hit a towering solo blast in the top of the 8th inning to begin an amazing 4-run comeback to get the Wildcats back to even. Ace reliever Trevor Gott, getting off to a good start in his quest to reprise his outstanding 2012, pitched 2 scoreless innings to secure the win.
Starter Corey Littrell got the hook in the 4th after the Spartans exploded for 5 runs, all earned by Littrell after USC-Upstate right fielder Tyler Miller blasted a two-run shot to left, followed by 3 hits with yet another run scored and 2 runners left. Littrell gave way to freshman southpaw Ryne Combs, who closed out the inning but surrendered two more runs, both unearned, and aided by an error by UK 3rd basemen Paul McConkey.
USC-Upstate would pick up 3 more runs, 1 in the 5th and 2 in the 6th, to take a 10-6 lead into the top of the 8th, where the Wildcats got even. In the 9th, Kyle Barrett was subbed in as a pinch runner for A.J. Reed after Reed was walked. Barrett advanced to second on a wild pitch by Spartan pitcher Paul Jeanot. Sophomore Thomas Bernal then singled up the middle to bring home Barrett for the winning RBI. Gott retired side, 3 up and 3 down, to close out the victory for the Wildcats.
Big win for the Bat Cats against a tough USC-Upstate team that is highly thought of, and received votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll. Next up is Elon, followed by Coastal Carolina and Kansas State, all played at the home of Coastal Carolina, Myrtle Beach.