The Kentucky Wildcats Baseball team, who has played the toughest schedule the nation so far this season, faced another difficult task this weekend as they hosted the No. 5 Arkansas Razorbacks for a three-game set.
While Kentucky would lose the series, they were able to steal the final game as they avoided the sweep.
Here’s a recap of all the action at Kentucky Proud Park from this weekend.
Game 1: ARK 5, UK 2
Game one of this weekend series got off to a rough start for the Wildcats as the Razorbacks touched up Kentucky starter Jimmy Ramsey.
The Hogs struck for four runs in the first inning as Dominic Fletcher hit a two-run single, Matt Goodheart scored on a passed ball, and Jacob Nesbit drove in a run on a fielders choice.
Arkansas would add to their lead in the top of the second as Casey Martin sprinted around the bases for an inside the park home run ending Ramsey’s day after just 1.1 innings.
However, Kentucky would take a big step forward in this game as their young bullpen which has struggled all season shut-down the No. 5 Hogs.
The combination of Trip Lockhart, Braxton Cottongame, Cole Ayers and Cole Daniels combined to throw 7.2 innings of scoreless baseball while combining for 10 strikeouts.
Unfortunately Kentucky’s offense could not do enough to give the bullpen a chance to win the game as the Cats only plated two runs in the with one in the fourth thanks to a Coltyn Kessler triple and after an Arkansas error in the eighth.
Game 2: ARK 9, UK 1
After Saturday’s game was rained out the two-clubs played a doubleheader consisting of a pair of seven inning games Sunday.
Sunday’s opening game began as a pitcher duel as Kentucky’s Dillon Marsh and Arkansas’s Patrick Wicklander both put up zeros in the games first three innings.
In the fourth inning, it was Kentucky to push across the games first run as Coltyn Kessler drove in Elliot Curtis to give the Cats a 1-0 lead.
The lead would not last for long, however, as in the top of the sixth, Dominic Fletcher hit a two-run home run to put the Hogs up 2-1. Later that inning, Casey Opitz hit an RBI single, Jacob Nesbit scored on a wild pitch, and Trevor Ezell hit a two-run single as Arkansas broke things open taking a 6-1 lead.
Arkansas would add three more runs on one swing in the top of the seventh as Christian Franklin hit a three-run bomb as the Hogs put the game away clinching a series win.
Game 3: UK 4, ARK 3
Looking to avoid the sweep, Kentucky sent their ace Zack Thompson to the mound in the final game of the series.
Thompson would not disappoint, as he tossed 6.1 innings of three-run ball while striking out 11.
Offensively, the Cats provided Thompson with run support with the long ball. In the second inning, as both Coltyn Kessler and Ryan Shinn hit solo homers to put Kentucky up 2-0 a lead they would never give up.
In the fourth with the score 2-1, Elliot Curtis provided a solo shot to add insurance. Later in the inning, T.J. Collett delivered an RBI double as Kentucky took a three-run lead.
With Thompson’s day done and the lead down to one Nick Mingione called Carson Coleman to get the games final two outs. The Redshirt Sophomore would deliver as he got Dominic Fletcher to ground into a double play to end the game.
Kentucky (23-24) will resume play Tuesday as they host No. 19 Indiana for one game before traveling to South Carolina to take on a Gamecocks team the Cats are battling with at the bottom of the SEC to preserve a spot in the SEC tournament.
All games can be watched on SEC Network plus and can be listened to on the UK Sports Network.