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Bat Cats blank Xavier: Recap and highlights

The Cats remain hot as they move closer towards earning a top-8 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

UK Athletics

Firmly entrenched in the top ten and with a titanic showdown with South Carolina waiting in the wings, the No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats could ill afford to overlook the visiting Xavier Musketeers.

Spoiler Alert: They did not.

A rock-solid game by freshman starter Zack Thompson and a late offensive explosion helped Nick Mingione's team improve their record to 29-13 on the season courtesy of a 6-0 win, the team's 20th of the season at the Cliff.

The game was scoreless through the majority of the first five innings thanks to a brief pitcher's duel between Thompson and Xavier's Brad Kirchner.

In four innings of work, Kirchner held UK's powerful lineup in check. He did not allow a run, gave up only three hits, and walked three.

Thompson (5-2) proved to be a stubborn nut to crack for Xavier during the six innings he dominated on the hill. The Indiana native allowed only one hit and did allow a batter to get past second. He struck out five and walked only three batters.

The Cats finally gave Thompson some help in the bottom of the fifth inning. With the bases juiced, Evan White strode to the plate, on his birthday, and grounded out to second base. However, that was more than enough to bring Connor Heady home to give Kentucky a 1-0 lead.

White struck again in the bottom of the seventh. After Marcus Carson was hit by a pitch, Tristan Pompey inadvertently beaned one of the umpires, giving him a dead ball single, White clobbered a base clearing double. Zach Reks then singled to score White. Cole Kottam ended the rally with a two-run deep shot to left field, his fourth of the season.

Five Kentucky pitchers came out of the pen to protect the shutout, and as a collective, they gave up only two hits with no earned runs.

By going 2-of-4 at the plate with three RBI, White extended his hitting streak to nine games. He has hit safely in 18 of 19 and is batting a scorching .402 on the year.

Cottam finished 2-of-4 as well, raising his average to .305. He is currently in the midst of a three-game streak with at least one homer, the first Wildcat to do so since AJ Reed's phenomenal season in 2014.