The Bat Cats traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia on Wednesday afternoon with high hopes of ending their three-game skid to start the season and get the first win of skipper Nick Mingione’s tenure. However, a win was not in the cards for Kentucky as a no-good, terrible, very bad 5th inning relegated the Cats to their fourth loss of the season.
Kentucky struck first in the opening inning. With two outs and Zeks on third courtesy of a stolen base, Kole Cottam hit a single and recorded his fourth RBI of the campaign.
Liberty lapped the Cats in the bottom of the 2nd inning courtesy of Eric Grabowski’s two-run homer to center field.
In the top of the 3rd, Marcus Carson’s double sent Tristan Pompey across the plate to tie the game at two all.
Kentucky’s starting pitcher, Zack Thompson (0-1), settled down after giving up the dinger. He retired six of the next seven batters he faced, striking out five of them.
Riley Mahan’s second round tripper of the year pushed Kentucky back into the lead, 3-2 in the top of the 5th.
Thompson started the bottom of the inning out with a K and then walked a batter. A fielder’s choice and a double put runners on the corners for Liberty. That was enough to send Thompson to the dugout and Alec Malley in from the bullpen.
On Maley’s third pitch of the day on an event count, Will Sheperd singled to center field and drove in two runs thanks to a UK fielding error. After a walk by Maley, Colton Cleary came on to try and stop the bleeding. However, Cleary gave up a RBI single to Liberty’s Sammy Taormina. The inning ended a batter later with Liberty back in front, 5-3.
Connor Heady gave UK new life in the top of the 6th with a two-out homer to draw the Cats to within one, 5-4.
Brad Schanezer relieved Cleary and pitched two and ⅓ sterling innings. He did not surrender a hit and struck out four.
Unfortunately, a late rally failed to materialize, and Kentucky hung a trio of goose eggs on the board in the final innings.
No Wildcat managed to record more than one hit. Overall, Thompson completed four ⅔ innings in which allowed four hits, four runs, walked a batter, and K’ed eight.