Beggs, Offense Leads to Series-Clinching Win

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Gunnar McNeill and Evan White each had four hits and Dustin Beggs allowed only two hits through seven innings, leading Kentucky to a 14-3 win over Buffalo to clinch the three-game series, on Saturday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky (6-3) scored in all eight innings to post the commanding series-clinching win. UK plated two runs in the first, third and fourth innings, scoring four runs in the second and single runs in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Buffalo broke up the no-hit bid with a two-out homer in the fourth inning and plated single runs in the seventh and eighth.

UK starter Dustin Beggs (3-0) won his third consecutive start to open the season, allowing only two hits and a run, walking one and striking out eight through seven innings. A native of Roswell, Ga., Beggs threw first-pitch strikes to 16 of the 23 hitters he faced. He allowed a two-out, solo homer in the fourth, retiring 10 of his final 11 hitters to end his outing and recorded outs vs. 20 of his 23 hitters faced. On the year, Beggs has a 1.29 ERA in 21 innings of work.

McNeill and White led the offensive charge for the Wildcats with 4-for-4 games. White had a triple and a career-best four RBI, with McNeill setting new career highs with his four knocks. White finished with a pair of walks and has reached base safely in 9 of 11 trips to the plate.

Tristan Pompey had a pair of hits, including his team-leading fourth homer of the year. Storm Wilson had three doubles, getting hit by a pair of pitches, with Dorian Hairston also collecting two hits. Zach Arnold, Connor Heady and Kole Cottam also added hits with shortstop Riley Mahan going 2-for-4 with his second homer of the year.

UK turned to freshman righty Justin Lewis to protect its 11-run lead in the eighth, with freshman lefty Daniel Tillo working the ninth. 

Buffalo (3-5) starter Brandon Mumaw (1-2) suffered the loss, working 3.2 innings, allowing 13 hits and 10 runs.

The series will conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

In the bottom of the first inning, UK got on the board for a 2-0 lead. Wilson was hit by the first pitch of the inning and White followed with a bunt single to the right side. The duo then stole second base, with Shelby hanging a sacrifice fly to score Wilson. After the second out, McNeill poked a two-out RBI single into rightfield, scoring White.

Kentucky added to its lead in the second inning, as Heady led off with a bunt single, with Cottam replacing him at first on a fielder’s choice. Wilson was then hit by a pitch, with White scoring a pair with a triple into the right-centerfield gap. Shelby was then hit by a pitch and stole second base, with Pompey delivering a two-RBI single through the left side.

In the third inning, UK mounted a one-out rally, as Wilson doubled to rightfield, scoring on White’s RBI single into right-centerfield. After a balk and groundout moved White to third, a wild pitch allowed him to score for an 8-0 lead.

Vinny Mallaro got Buffalo on the board with a two-out, solo homer over the leftfield fence, his second of the year.

Kentucky plated two runs in the fourth inning, as McNeill led off with a single and Heady reached on a fielder’s choice. Cottam then chopped a bad-hop single up the middle, allowing the pair to score for a 10-1 lead.

Pompey gave UK a 11-1 lead in the fifth inning, belting his fourth homer of the year over the rightfield fence.

UK scored again in the sixth, as Wilson doubled for the third time, with pinch runner Marcus Carson scoring on a RBI single from White.

Buffalo scored in the seventh on an RBI doble from Mike Abrunzo.

In the seventh, UK plated a run on Mahan’s second homer of the year.

In the eighth, Billy Hartford greeted Lewis with a solo homer to leftfield.

Mahan forced home a run in the eighth on an RBI groundout, scoring Josh Smith.