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3 Things to Know From UK Baseball’s NCAA Tournament Win Over Ohio Bobcats

The Cats hold off the Bobcats to move on to Saturday night’s action.

UK Athletics

On a gorgeous Friday Afternoon, host Kentucky (40-20) rode a hot start, a 3-of-5 two-RBI day from slugger Riley Mahan, and a stupendous outing from SEC Pitcher of the Year Sean Hjelle to capture a 6-4 win over the Ohio Bobcats in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

The win in the first round of action was the first by a UK baseball team since the 1988 squad did the same almost thirty years ago.

Kentucky looks to advance in the winner's bracket later tonight against the North Carolina State Wolfpack, who defeated Indiana 7-6 in extra innings during the nightcap at the Cliff.

Hjelle Rebounded Against the Bobcats

UK ace Sean Hjelle had a night to forget when he surrendered double-digit runs in the 10-0 loss to LSU in the SEC Tournament last week in Hoover, Alabama.

Back in the friendly confines of Cliff Hagan Stadium, however, Hjelle was back in the form that made him the Wildcats' Friday starter all season.

Hjelle threw seven shutout innings against Ohio and did not face runners in a threatening situation until the top of the fifth. The only inning he faltered in was the eighth, after throwing well over 100 pitches. Hjelle gave up a pair of singles to open the inning and then gave up a three-run jack to the Bobcat's Rudy Rott.

The lanky right-hander gave up eight hits against three walks and three strikeouts while also giving UK's middle relievers the afternoon off by going late into the game.

Chris Machamer Managed the Mound

North Canton, Ohio native, and freshman reliever, Chris Machamer opened his 21st appearance of the season by walking the first batter he faced with no outs and Ohio's momentum surging.

The flame-throwing righty then fell behind in the count against the next two batters up. However, Machamer forced consecutive fly outs to put the Bobcats back on the defensive.

He got the next hitter to go down swinging to retire the final out and complete successful shut down of the Bobcats brief rally.

Early Runs Got UK Going

All regular season long Kentucky used explosions in the first few innings to swing the flow of the game in their favor.

The Cats got started in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Zach Reks got on base with a double. Luke Becker drove him home with a single. Becker scored after Riley Mahan ripped his own RBI single to right field.

Mahan struck again in the bottom of the fourth inning with another single that brought Evan White across the plate from second base.

Trista Pompey collected the team's fourth RBI single in the bottom of the next innings after his hit up the left side of the field scored Troy Marshall.

Kentucky added two insurance runs one inning later when Marshall and Connor Heady both drew walks with the bases loaded.

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