For the University of Kentucky baseball program to once again find steady ground, they need to re-establish dominance over smaller in-state foes.
The Bat Cats avenged last season's embarrassing loss to EKU on Tuesday. Yesterday evening at The Cliff saw Nick Mingione's squad take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. Another hot start and a dazzling game from the starter, Zack Thompson, saw UK improve their record to 4-5 thanks to a 17-2 win.
Riley Mahan started the scoring for UK in the bottom of the 1st inning. With the bases juiced, Mahan ripped a single to right field and drove in two runs. Luke Heyer extended the rally with another RBI single. Mahan scored on the same play after a throwing error from the Tops outfield. Heyer trotted home a batter later after a throwing error by WKU's catcher to put the Cats up 5-0.
Marcus Carson continued the avalanche in the bottom of the 2nd by clobbering a home run straight to right field. Tristan Pompey's RBI double added two more runs later in the frame. Pompey came home thanks to a left field homer by Heyer.
After two innings, Kentucky had a 10-0 advantage over the visitors from Bowling Green.
White swatted UK's third dinger of the contest to begin the 3rd inning. Kole Cottam's triple set up a lovely RBI single by Zach Reks.
Mahan drove two more home with a double in the bottom of the 5th. Storm Wilson added a sac fly in the 6th, and the Cats added two more runs in the 8th inning.
Zack Thompson improved his record to 1-1 in six solid innings of work. He allowed five hits, one earned run, walked two, and fanned seven WKU hitters. Colton Cleary, Zack Pop, and Logan Salow combined to toss three two-hit shutout innings to close things out.
The Cats had 21 hits as a team, the majority of which came from Evan White and Marcus Carson. Both finished a hit shy of the cycle. Carson finished 3-of-5 with a double and triple to go with his earlier home run. White needed only a triple, but his 3-of-4 performance kept his season average at an incredible .714.