One day after having their bats silenced by North Carolina ace J.B. Bukauskas, the Bat Cats finally started making some thunder in the valley. However, a five run deficit late in the game proved to be too much for UK to overcome as they dropped the second game of the series with the Tar Heels 6 to 5.
Kentucky stuck first in the top half of the opening inning. Kole Cottam doubled to left-center field and sent lead off man Zach Reks home in what proved to be UK’s only score for the next six innings.
In the bottom of the 2nd, Carolina drew even. Zack Gahagan swatted UK starting pitcher Zach Logue’s (0-1) first offering of the frame to left field for extra bases. After a walk and a SAC but, the Tar Heels had runners on second and third. Kyle Datres single up the middle evened the game up at 1.
Logue worked his way out the jam and then another in the 3rd. His luck ran out in the bottom of the 4th. Logue retired the first two UNC batters, but he gave up a single and then walked another batter to extend the host’s time at bat. Brian Miller put the Heels in front, 2-1, with an RBI single.
Another single and walk combination in the bottom of the 5th was enough for Logue to get the hook. After reliever Alec Maley failed to close the inning out, Logue ended up with three earned runs in 4 ⅓ innings of work. He gave up six hits, walked four batters, and struck out
Things did not pick up with Maley on the hill. The JUCO transfer from Texas hit two batters, gave up a run, and saw his defense yield two others thanks to errors, and after the 6th Kentucky trailed 6-1.
The combination of Mark Doerries, Austin Keen, Brad Schaenzer, Zach Pop, and Logan Salow held the Tar Heels at bay for the rest of the game, continuing the solid performance by UK’s bullpen.
Cottam came through for UK again in the top of the 7th. With runners on, he belted a two RBI double to center. The next batter, Marcus Carson, drove Cottam home with a double and with that the Cats were within two runs, 6 to 4.
An inning later, Riley Mahan grounded out to first, allowing Storm WIlson to score. However, the Cats were not able to hang anymore on the board and puttered out in the 9th.
Reks continued his hot start by going 4-for-4 and scoring two runs. Cottam finished 3-of-5 with a trio of runs batted in.
The final game of the series will commence Sunday afternoon.