10th Inning Walk-off Completes Eight-Run Comeback
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Zach Arnold’s two-out, two-strike single in the bottom of the 10th inning forced home the walk-off run and brought Kentucky back from an eight-run deficit to a 9-8 win over Buffalo to sweep the series, on a sunny Sunday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (7-3) fell behind in a eight-run hole before taking its swings in the bottom of the third inning, as the Bulls plated eight runs on seven hits, four walks and two errors in the early innings. UK rallied with three runs in the third before a five-run rally in the fifth inning evened up the game at 8-8.
The Wildcats rallied in the 10th inning with two outs, as Luke Becker doubled into the gap and freshman slugger Tristan Pompey was intentionally walked. Arnold, a senior catcher out of Frankfort, Ky., fell in a 0-2 hole to Buffalo closer Mike Kaelin, before working the count to 2-2. He smashed the 2-2 pitch through the hole on the left side, with Becker motoring around to score the walk-off run.
Arnold’s hit completed a career day for the backstop, as he tied his career high with three hits and drove in his third career game-winning RBI. Kentucky got a three-RBI day from Evan White, who went 2-for-3 with a walk and two stolen bases. UK also got the third home run of the year from preseason All-America third baseman JaVon Shelby and two-hit games rom Becker and Zach Reks. Storm Wilson drew a pair of walks at the top of the order, stealing two bases, Gunnar McNeill had a two-RBI double and Marcus Carson added a run scored on a walk.
UK starter Kyle Cody made his 31st career start, allowing eight runs in over two innings, walking three and striking out seven, surrendering seven hits.
That is where the Kentucky bullpen took over, with lefty Logan Salow and righty Justin Lewis (1-0) combining to work eight shutout innings, allowing just two singles and two walks, striking out 12.
Salow took over for Cody in the third inning, working 4.2 shutout, one-hit innings, issuing just one walk and striking out a career-high nine. Salow has inherited 52 runners in his career, allowing only 11 to score.
With the go-ahead run on second and two outs in the seventh, UK turned to Lewis in relief of Salow, with Lewis throwing four pitches for the strikeout. A native of Suwanee, Ga., Lewis – a 19th round pick out of high school in 2014’s MLB Draft – worked a career-high 3.1 innings, allowing just a two-out single and a walk, striking out three for his first career win. A 6-foot-6 righty, Lewis has a 1.29 ERA in his first seven collegiate innings, including a save in his NCAA debut.
Buffalo (3-5) starter Charlie Sobieraski worked 4.2 innings, allowing seven hits and eight runs, walking five and striking out two. Kaelin (0-1) suffered the loss despite a strong relief outing, allowing the run in 3.2 innings, with three hits and one walk.
Kentucky will return to action on Tuesday, hosting Cincinnati at 4 p.m. ET, before welcoming Murray State at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
Buffalo opened the scoring in the top of the first inning, loading the bases with no outs. The Bulls would score five runs on four hits, two walks and an error in the inning.
The Bulls scored three in the third to chase Cody from the game, with the first four hitters reaching, and UB scoring on three hits, a walk, a hit batter and an error.
Kentucky began its comeback in the bottom of the third inning, as Carson drew a leadoff walk and Arnold dropped a single down the rightfield line, taking second base as Carson sped to third. Wilson then grounded out to the right side, scoring Carson for UK’s first run of the game. White then hung his first sac fly of the year into centerfield to score Arnold for an 8-2 hole. Shelby then smashed his third homer of the year over the leftfield fence.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Kentucky mounted a five-run rally to even the game at 8-8. Arnold reached on a one-out single and Wilson drew a walk. White then scored the pair with a two-RBI single up the middle, before stealing second. Shelby then drew a walk and McNeill forced home two with a two-RBI double to rightfield. Reks then smashed a two-strike single to rightfield, scoring McNeill with the tying run.