LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky belted four home runs as part of a season-best offensive output in defeating Xavier, 16-3, in its return to Kentucky Proud Park. The Wildcats scored six runs in an inning twice and saw eight starters record hits in the feel-good win.
The offensive outburst was a welcome sight after tough sledding on the road against LSU over the weekend in the club’s opening series of Southeastern Conference play. Couple with the 15 runs scored against Western Kentucky last week the Cats (14-7) now have scored 31 runs in their last two home games.
The four home runs are the most since the Cats blasted four in the season opener at Austin Peay and put the game on ice early. Senior infielder Alex Rodriguez clubbed his first career home run, a prodigious three-run blast that traveled an estimated 419-feet to left-centerfield. Junior T.J. Collett followed with his seventh of the season and second in as many games then saw junior Jaren Shelby go back-to-back with a shot into the left field bullpen. Junior Breydon Daniel’s solo shot in the eighth capped the scoring on the night.
The win provided some history as well. The Cats now have scored in 85 consecutive games and 161 of the past 162 dating to the 2016 season, the fifth-longest such streak in program history. It ties a stretch that lasted from 1903-08.
Sophomore right-hander Trip Lockhart picked up his first career victory with 1.1 scoreless innings of work. He entered the game with the bases loaded in the third inning and froze a Xavier hitter with a fastball down the middle for strike three.
The Cats will return to the field on Friday evening when No. 13 Texas A&M comes to town to open a three-game series. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.
Top 1st – Conor Grammes doubled into the RF corner and scored on Jake Shepski’s soft single to RF. Xavier 1, UK 0.
Bottom 1st – Breydon Daniel walked, Ryan Shinn singled to CF and T.J. Collett was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Dalton Reed walked, scoring Daniel. Coltyn Kessler was hit by a pitch, scoring Shinn. UK 2, Xavier 1.
Bottom 3rd – Shinn doubled to LCF and advanced to third on an error by the LF. Collett walked. Jaren Shelby singled to CF, scoring Shinn. Dalton Reed reached on a fielder’s choice, moving Collett to third. Kessler reached on a fielder’s choice with Collett scored on a throwing error by the 1B. Cam Hill singled to CF, scoring Reed. Alex Rodriguez homered to LCF, scoring Kessler and Hill. UK 8, Xavier 1.
Top 5th – Ryan Altenberger was hit by a pitch. Grammes doubled into the LF corner, scoring Altenberger with Grammes moving to third on the throw home. Shepski and Matt Warkentin walked to load the bases. Jack Housinger was hit by a pitch, scoring Grammes. UK 8, Xavier 3.
Bottom 5th – Kessler singled through the right side and Austin Schultz walked. Both runners advanced on a passed ball. Kessler scored on a passed ball, Schultz to third. Hill was hit by a pitch. Daniel singled to LF, scoring Schultz. Collett homered to RF, scoring Hill and Daniel. Shelby homered to LF. UK 14, Xavier 3.
Bottom 7th – Breydon Daniel homered to RF. UK 15, Xavier 3.
Bottom 8th – Shelby and Reed singled. Hill walked to load the bases. Rodriguez walked, scoring Shelby. UK 16, Xavier 3.
- Kentucky has scored in 85 consecutive games and 161 of the past 162 dating to the 2016 season. The lone shutout came in a seven-inning game. The current streak now is tied for the fifth-longest in school history with a stretch that lasted from 1903-08.
- The Cats are 41-5 in non-conference home games under coach Nick Mingione.
- UK now is 11-1 at Kentucky Proud Park.
- The Cats hit four home runs for the second time this season. They also did so in the opening game of the season.
- Eight Wildcats in the starting lineup recorded a hit.
- Senior INF Alex Rodriguez homered and drove in four runs.
o It was his first career home run.
o The four RBI are a career high and first multi-RBI game of the season.
- Senior OF Ryan Shinn had his eighth multi-hit game of the season and 11th career.
o Shinn hit his 11th double of the season. He ranks in the top 10 nationally in total doubles this season.
- Junior 1B/DH T.J. Collett has reached base in 11 straight games.
o Collett blasted his seventh home run of the season.
o He now has homered in back-to-back games, including Sunday at LSU.
o He has played in three games against Xavier and homered in all three.
o Collett has eight multi-RBI games this season and 20 in his career.
- Sophomore C/INF Coltyn Kessler extended his reached base safely streak to 16 games.
- Freshman IF Austin Schultz extended his reached base safely streak to 11 games.
- Sophomore RHP Trip Lockhart earned his first career win.
o Lockhart pitched 1.1 innings and stranded the bases loaded after entering in the third inning.
Kentucky opens its first SEC home series on Friday when No. 13 Texas A&M comes to town for the first time since 2015. The series will run Friday-Sunday with all three gamesaired on SEC Network Plus. Audio coverage can be found via UKathletics.com.