Bernal, Tom Pace Baseball to 10-1 Win Over Richmond
WILMINGTON, N.C. -- Thomas Bernal and Ka'ai Tom each charted three-RBI games and Kyle Cody fired four shutout frames in his season debut, pacing Kentucky to a 10-1 win over Richmond in the finale of opening weekend, on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Brooks Field on the campus of UNC Wilmington.
Kentucky (2-0) jumped out to an early lead for the second consecutive game to open the year, plating three runs in the first inning. UK added three-run innings in the third and fourth innings, and added a run in the sixth. Richmond had a chance to score in the seventh inning but Tom gunned out the runner at the plate to end the frame. UK finished with 10 runs on 11 hits, drawing three walks, getting hit by four pitches and stealing six bags.
UK was led at the plate by Bernal and Tom, with Bernal going 2-for-4 with three RBI and Tom charting a 2-for-2 game with three RBI. UK also got a career-high two-hit game from shortstop Connor Heady and two hits from freshman first baseman Evan White.
Sophomore rightfielder Storm Wilson scored four runs for the Wildcats, stealing a career-high four bases. Wilson is the first UK player to steal four bases in a game since Chris Bisson at Auburn in 2010.
A third-team preseason All-America selection by Baseball America, Cody worked four shutout innings in his season debut, allowing four hits and one walk, striking out six. Cody struck out four consecutive hitters from the second to third inning, working around three innings with a runner in scoring position.
Senior righty Andrew Nelson took over to start the fifth inning as Cody reached his pitch count. Nelson worked two shutout innings, striking out four and allowing just two hits. Sophomore Zack Brown took over to start the seventh inning, working a perfect frame, and Dylan Dwyer fired a perfect eighth inning. Junior Zach Strecker got an out in the ninth inning and Spencer Jack came on to finish off the game.
Richmond (0-2) starter Zak Sterling worked three innings, allowing six runs. The Spiders used Joey Vecchione, Robbie Baker, Ray Harron and James Lively in relief.
Kentucky will return to action on Thursday, traveling to face Southern California for a one-game set in Los Angeles. First pitch is slated for 9 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast live on the UK Radio Network, with Dick Gabriel voicing the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the game live on Fox Sports 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
The Wildcats jumped on the board in the bottom of the first inning, as Storm Wilson drew a full-count walk and stole second with Thomas Bernal at the plate. On the 11th pitch of the at-bat to Bernal, the UK senior belted a double off the wall in leftfield, scoring Wilson. On the next pitch, Ka'ai Tom drilled a double into the left-centerfield gap, scoring Bernal. After the second out, Greg Fettes smacked a single to leftfield, scoring Tom.
UK added three runs in the bottom of the third, as Wilson led off with his 16th career hit by pitch. Wilson then stole second and third base, scoring on Bernal's RBI groundout. Tom was then hit by a pitch and stole second base, scoring on JaVon Shelby's RBI knock up the middle. Evan White then ripped a one-hopper up the middle to score Shelby, who stole second.
The Wildcats took advantage of an error in the fourth inning to take a 9-0 lead. Zach Arnold led off with a single, taking second on a wild pitch and taking third after tagging up on a fly ball. A throwing error allowed Wilson to reach and Arnold to score. Bernal then slashed a single the opposite way, scoring Wilson. Tom then followed with a double to rightfield, scoring Bernal from first base.
UK plated a run in the sixth inning as Wilson led off with a hit by pitch, motoring to third on a pair of wild pitches, scoring on Tom's sacrifice fly.