The Wildcats erase a four-run deficit, defeat Eastern Kentucky with eighth inning rally
LEXINGTON, Ky. – April 27, 2021
Needing a spark to launch another comeback, Coltyn Kessler and Ryan Ritter delivered as Kentucky erased a four-run deficit and claimed a 7-6 victory over Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday night. It was the Wildcats’ third consecutive win.
Kessler became the second UK player to hit a home run in three straight games this season, driving a towering two-run shot to centerfield in the fifth inning to draw the Cats even. After the Cats (25-13) fell behind again an inning later, Ritter sent a jolt through Kentucky Proud Park with a game-winning two-run, opposite field double into the right field corner.
The Cats’ winning rally started with John Rhodes wearing a pitch for the second time in the game – he has been hit 12 times this season – and Trae Harmon working a six-pitch walk as a pinch hitter. UK coach Nick Mingione continued to pull the right strings, pinch running for Harmon with the speedy Drew Grace, who raced around the bases and slid home headfirst just ahead of the tag for the winning run.
Senior right-hander Jimmy Ramsey came through with his best effort of the season, closing the game with two perfect innings to get the win on the mound. Despite a rocky fourth inning that saw Eastern Kentucky (13-26) score four runs, the UK bullpen allowed just one run over the final five frames to give its offense enough room for a comeback.
UK now will have a quick turnaround as it travels to No. 4 Tennessee for a series that opens Thursday night in Knoxville and opens the final month of the season.
Bottom 1st – T.J. Collett doubled to RF and Oraj Anu singled to CF. Collett scored on Coltyn Kessler’s single to LF. UK 1, EKU 0.
Top 3rd – King doubled to LF and Thomas reached on an error. Ridley was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Ewell reached on a fielder’s choice, King scored. UK 1, EKU 1.
Top 4th – Harris IV singled and advanced to second on a groundout. Ludwick singled to CF, Harris IV scored. Peralta walked. Williams doubled to RF, scoring Ludwick and Peralta. King singled, Williams scored. EKU 5, UK 1.
Bottom 5th – Chase Estep beat out an infield hit and Austin Schultz singled to CF. Collett singled to RF, scoring Estep, Schultz to third. Schultz scored on Anu’s groundout. Kessler homered to CF. UK 5, EKU 5.
Top 6th – Thomason singled and Ridley was hit by a pitch. Ewell singled through the left side, Thomason scored. EKU 6, UK 5.
Bottom 8th – John Rhodes was hit by a pitch and Trae Harmon drew a pinch hit walk. Drew Grace pinch ran for Harmon. Ryan Ritter doubled into the RF corner, Rhodes and Grace scored. UK 7, EKU 6.
- UK is 25-13 overall, 9-9 in SEC play.
- The Cats are 20-8 at home this season.
- UK is 90-30 vs. non-conference opponents under head coach Nick Mingione.
- The Cats are 70-13 in non-conference home games.
- The Cats are 78-11 vs. non-Power Five conference opponents.
- The Cats went 2-0 vs. Eastern Kentucky this season.
- Senior 1B T.J. Collett went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI.
- Collett has 143 career RBI, 10th on UK’s all-time list.
- Collett now has 148 career hits, moving him into a tie with Luke Becker (2016-18) and Ka’ai Tom (2014-15) for 33rd on the all-time list.
- Collett has 14 home runs and 46 RBI on the 2021 season.
- Junior IF/OF Austin Schultz went 2-for-5 with a run and a stolen base.
- Schultz has reached base safely in 89 of 96 career games with a plate appearance.
- Schultz has 19 multi-hit efforts in 38 games this season.
- Schultz now is 16-for-18 on stolen bases this season.
- Senior C Coltyn Kessler went 2-for-4 with a run, three RBI and a home run.
- Kessler has reached safely in 24 of his past 26 games.
- Kessler registered his third straight multi-hit game, 13th of the season and has 25 in his career.
- Kessler homered for the third straight game, the second Wildcat to do that this season. T.J. Collett did so against Georgia State (Mar. 13-14) and Murray State (Mar. 16).
- Sophomore OF John Rhodes was hit by a pair of pitches and scored the game-tying run.
- Rhodes has been hit by a team-high 12 pitches this season and 17 in his career.
- Senior RHP Jimmy Ramsey earned the win. He pitched two perfect innings to close the game, striking out two.
Kentucky travels to No. 4 Tennessee in a quick turnaround for a Thursday night series opener. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network.