The Wildcats come from behind twice, including deciding 7th inning outburst
LEXINGTON, Ky. – March 3, 2021
Freshman Reuben Church smacked a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh inning as Kentucky twice rallied from deficits to defeat Evansville, 8-5, at Kentucky Proud Park on Wednesday. The win moved the Wildcats to 6-0, continuing their best start in nine years.
Showing a grittiness it hadn’t needed thus far, UK found a way to win despite not playing its sharpest game of the young season. The Cats fell behind 2-0 just three batters into the game and later saw the Aces take a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh without getting a hit in the inning but responded immediately both times.
The winning rally started with Austin Schultz dropping a single into left field and John Rhodes taking a pitch off the elbow. Oraj Anu patiently worked a walk to load the bases before Church ambushed the first pitch he saw for a double into left-centerfield, scoring Schultz and Rhodes for a 6-5 lead. Pinch hitter Trae Harmon added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly and the Cats’ bullpen took it from there with Sean Harney earning his third save and second in as many nights.
Church, who finished 2-for-3 with two runs, three RBI, a walk and the decisive double, now has seven extra-base hits in five games. He leads the Cats in hits, RBI and doubles despite not playing in the season opener.
Top 1st – Borgstrom hit a leadoff home run to RF. Beilsmith doubled down the LF line and scored on Craig’s single to LF. Evansville 2, UK 0.
Bottom 1st – John Rhodes doubled to RF, advanced to third on a balk and scored on Oraj Anu’s single to RF. Evansville 2, UK 1.
Top 3rd – Craig hit by a pitch, advanced to third on a single by Shallenberger and scored on Shepherd’s groundout. Evansville 3, UK 1.
Bottom 4th – Reuben Church and Cam Hill walked. Coltyn Kessler singled to LF to load the bases. Ryan Ritter walked, scoring Church. Zeke Lewis hit SAC fly to CF, scoring Hill. Kessler and Ritter each moved up. UK 3, Evansville 3.
Bottom 5th – Anu tripled to LCF and scored on Church’s single to CF. UK 4, Evansville 3.
Top 7th – Brinkley reached on an error. Borgstrom reached on a fielder’s choice, Brinkley to second on an error. Beilsmith hit by pitch to load the bases. Craig walked, scoring Brinkley. Shallenberger hit a SAC fly to CF, Borgstrom scored. Evansville 5, UK 4.
Bottom 7th – Austin Schultz singled, Rhodes was hit by a pitch and Anu walked to load the bases. Church doubled to LCF, scoring Schultz and Rhodes, Anu to third. Trae Harmon hit a pinch hit SAC fly to score Anu. UK 7, Evansville 5.
Bottom 8th – Ritter hit a lead off triple to RF and scored on a balk. UK 8, Evansville 5.
- The 6-0 start is UK’s best since the 2012 team opened the season with 22 consecutive wins.
- UK is 80-26 vs. non-conference opponents under head coach Nick Mingione.
- The Cats are 69-8 vs. non-Power Five conference opponents.
- The Cats are 61-9 in non-conference home games.
- UK currently has a 12-game winning streak dating to the 2020 season.
- The UK pitching staff has 20 consecutive games with seven or more strikeouts, including 17 with 10 or more.
- Kentucky has five triples on the season, including four in the past two games.
- The UK pitching staff has struck out 66 batters and walked just 10 this season.
- Sophomore OF John Rhodes went 1-for-4 with two runs and a double.
- Rhodes now has six extra-base hits in six games (4 doubles, 2 home runs)
- Rhodes has 14 career doubles in just 23 games played, making him the fastest player to collect 14 doubles since at least 1988.
- Senior OF Oraj Anu went 2-for3 with two runs, an RBI, a triple and a walk.
- Anu logged his third multi-hit game of the season.
- Freshman IF Reuben Church went 2-for-3 with a run, three RBI and a walk.
- Church smoked the game-winning, two-run double in the 7th inning.
- He now has seven extra-base hits among his nine hits on the season.
- He has a team-high four multi-hit games.
- R-Junior OF Cam Hill has a 13-game reached base safely streak.
The Cats return to Kentucky Proud Park on Friday afternoon to open a weekend series vs. Ball State. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. ET. The game will be aired on SECN+. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network.