Oraj Anu and T.J. Collett each hit two home runs in 12-4 blowout victory
LEXINGTON, Ky. – March 3, 2020
Oraj Anu and T.J. Collett put their prodigious raw power on display Tuesday, each homering twice to push Kentucky to a 12-4 victory over Cincinnati at Kentucky Proud Park. It was the first time a pair of Wildcats have each hit two home runs in nearly two years.
The win ended a three-game losing streak and was the sixth on the current 14-game homestand. The Cats (6-6) return to the diamond on Wednesday when Murray State comes arrives in town.
Anu and Collett, both known for their ability to crush baseballs, gave fans a taste of it against the Bearcats. Anu smoked a two-run home run in the first inning – the third straight game he’s had a hit in the opening frame – then watched as Collett connected on a soaring solo shot in the sixth inning. In the eighth inning, the pair went back-to-back, capped by Anu’s 448-foot blast to left-centerfield that disappeared into the night. Anu also became the first UK player to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game since Ryan Wilkes against Wright State on May 6, 2008.
The evening didn’t totally belong to the Cats’ newest Bash Bros though. Freshman John Rhodes continued to put his talent on display, reaching base all five times he came to the plate and driving in a career-best three runs. Sophomore Austin Schultz notched another multi-hit game and both junior Matt Golda and freshman Chase Estep drove in runs at the bottom of the order.
On the mound, sophomore left-hander Dillon Marsh twirled a career-high 6.0 innings, striking out a career-best eight while allowing just three runs in picking up his first win of the season.
Bottom 1st – Jaren Shelby walked. Oraj Anu homered to RF. UK 2, Cincy 0.
Top 2nd – Paul Komistek and Jeremy Johnson both singled with two outs. Jace Mercer singled to RF, scoring Komistek. UK 2, Cincy 1.
Top 3rd – Griffin Merritt homered to LCF. UK 2, Cincy 2.
Bottom 3rd – Austin Schultz reached on an infield single. T.J. Collett singled to CF. John Rhodes doubled down the RF line, scoring Shultz and Collett. UK 4, Cincy 2.
Top 4th – Komistek blooped a double to RF, advanced to third on Johnson’s SAC bunt and scored on Mercer’s infield single. UK 4, Cincy 3.
Bottom 4th – Zeke Lewis hit a leadoff single to RF, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Matt Golda singled to RF, scoring Lewis. Golda stole second and scored on Chase Estep’s single up the middle. Shelby was hit by a pitch and Schultz reached on an infield hit. Rhodes was hit by a pitch, forcing Estep home. Coltyn Kessler drew a bases loaded walk, scoring Shelby. UK 8, Cincy 3.
Bottom 6th – Collett homered to RF. UK 9, Cincy 3.
Bottom 8th – Schultz walked and scored on Collett’s second home run of the game. Anu homered for the second time in the game. UK 12, Cincy 3.
Top 9th – Dondrae Bremner walked and Ryan Nicholson singled. Nate Meyer doubled to LF, scoring Bremner. UK 12, Cincinnati 4.
- This is the second consecutive game UK has had players hit back-to-back home runs. T.J. Collett and Oraj Anu did so in the eighth inning. On Sunday vs. UNC Wilmington, Austin Schultz and Collett did it in the third inning.
- This is the ninth consecutive game the UK pitching staff has struck out 10 or more opposing batters.
- UK was hit by six pitches in the game and stole four bases.
- Senior 1B T.J. Collett went 3-for-5 with three runs, three RBI and two home runs.
- He now has homered in back-to-back games and has three total in the past two games.
- He is the first Wildcat to homer in consecutive at bats since Ryan Johnson last season vs. Western Kentucky (April 23, 2019).
- He has homered in back-to-back games eight times in his career.
- He now has 25 home runs in his career.
- He now has 97 hits, needing just three more to join UK’s career 100-hit club.
- The three runs scored tied his career-high.
- Junior outfielder Oraj Anu went 2-for-5 with two runs, three RBI and two home runs.
- Anu joined Collett in hitting two home runs, his first two-homer game as a Wildcat.
- Anu became the first UK player to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game since Ryan Wilkes vs. Wright State on May 6, 2008.
- The three RBI are a new career-high.
- Freshman INF/OF John Rhodes went 2-for-2 with three RBI and two HBP.
- He reached base all five times he came to the plate.
- He set a new career-high in RBI.
- Sophomore LHP Dillon Marsh picked up the win by going 6.0 innings, allowing nine hits, three runs and striking out eight.
- He set new career highs in innings, strikeouts and pitches (103).
- It was his first win of the season.
The Cats return to Kentucky Proud Park on Wednesday, Mar. 4 at 4 p.m. ET vs. Murray State. The game will be aired on SECN+. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network.