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Late Night With the Wildcats: No. 22 Kentucky Wins 16th Straight Game

photo by Danny Pendleton - Bluegrass Sports Nation

The Wildcats defeat No. 25 Alabama, 4-3, in 12 innings to extend streak

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – March 24, 2023

Grant Smith raced home on a wild pitch to score the game-winning run and life No. 22 Kentucky to a 4-3 victory over No. 25 Alabama in 12 innings on Friday night at a windy Sewell-Thomas Stadium. It was UK’s 16th consecutive victory, extending the nation’s longest active streak.

The Wildcats (20-2, 4-0 SEC) never trailed and did not fold after giving up a two-run lead in the ninth inning. Smith drew a hit by pitch in the 12th and advanced to third on outfielder Jackson Gray’s perfectly executed hit-and-run. Smith then dove headfirst into home on a wild pitch to put the Cats back in front. Ryan Hagenow shut the door with a perfect 12th and gave UK its third-straight Friday night extra-inning win.

UK jumped out to a 3-0 lead through four innings and led 3-1 going into the ninth but the Crimson Tide (18-5, 1-3) rallied, with the aid of a throwing error and wild pitch, to tie the score with one out in the ninth. Reliever Seth Chavez composed himself and struck out a pair to leave the bases loaded and extend the game.

Kentucky will go for a series victory on Saturday afternoon.


  • Kentucky has won 16 consecutive games, currently the longest active win streak in DI.
    • It is the Cats’ longest win streak since starting the 2012 season 22-0.
      • UK’s 20-1 start to the season also is its best since 2012.
  • Kentucky is 27-5 over its last 32 games dating to last season.
    • UK is 13-6 in its last 18 games vs. SEC opponents.
  • UK Coach Nick Mingione is in his seventh season at the helm and now owns a 196-131 career record.
    • UK is 82-33 in the month of March under Coach Mingione.
    • UK is undefeated this March (14-0).
    • Mingione now is 4-3 vs. Alabama.
  • UK is 3-0 in extra innings this season, each coming on the last three Friday nights.
  • UK pitchers had 12 strikeouts and have struck out 215 through 22 games.
  • UK pitchers have limited opponents to three or fewer runs in 17 of 22 games.
  • UK has scored in 321 of 327 games under Coach Mingione.
  • The Cats stole two bases and now are 39-of-50 on the season.
  • First Baseman Hunter Gilliam had an RBI single that ran his hit streak to 15 games and he now has reached safely in all 21 games in which he’s played.
  • Catcher Devin Burkes went 2-for-6 with a run.
    • Burkes logged his eighth multi-hit game of the season.
  • Infielder Grant Smith has started all 138 games of his collegiate career.
    • With a double Smith extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
    • Smith scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch.
  • Infielder Emilien Pitre has reached base safely in 20 consecutive games.
  • Outfielder Jackson Gray was hit by a pitch for the 13th times this season, which ranks top 10 nationally.
  • Infielder Ryder Giles executed a sacrifice bunt in his first plate appearance of the season.
    • He is the Division I active leader with 35 career SAC bunts.
  • Pitcher Logan Martin returned to his Friday night starter role and tossed two hitless innings, striking out two.
  • Pitcher Darren Williams threw 5.0 masterful innings of relief, yielding one run on three hits and striking out four, all looking.
  • Outfielder Jackson Gray was hit by a pitch for the 13th times this season, which ranks top 10 nationally.
  • Pitcher Zach Hise earned his first victory in a UK uniform with two spotless innings.
  • Pitcher Ryan Hagenow picked up his first save of the season.


Kentucky go for win no. 17 straight on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET at Alabama. The game will be streamed on the SEC Network+. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network (630 AM WLAP, locally).

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