Zeigler Helps Pitch Baseball to Four-Game Sweep
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Robert Zeigler fired career highs in innings (five) and strikeouts (six) in his first career start, leading Kentucky to a 8-2 win over Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday afternoon, concluding UK’s impromptu four-game trip to the North County Regional Park.
Kentucky (7-3) had to find games for the week after its home-opening four-game stretch was cancelled due to inclement weather. UK went 4-0 on the week, posting a pair of wins over Nebraska-Omaha, including a 14-inning win, and notching wins over Northeastern and Mount St. Mary’s.
A native of Defiance, Ohio, Zeigler set new career highs in innings pitched (five) and strikeouts (six). He allowed two runs in the third inning after two hits and an error but bounced back to throw up shutout innings in the fourth and fifth frames. Zach Strecker came on to start the sixth inning, working 2.2 perfect innings, striking out a career-high equaling five. Zach Logue took over with two outs in the eighth inning, getting out of the frame and getting an out in the ninth. Freshman Zach Pop got the second out of the ninth and Taylor Martin finished off the game.
The Wildcats were led at the dish by two-hit, two-RBI games from Kyle Barrett and Riley Mahan. UK also got two hits and an RBI from Ka’ai Tom and Evan White, with Thomas Bernal and Connor Heady each adding a hit and RBI. Storm Wilson, JaVon Shelby and Greg Fettes each scored runs.
Mount St. Mary’s [Md.] (2-1) starter Thomas Williams (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing six runs in four innings.
Kentucky will return to action with its home opener on Tuesday, hosting Murray State at 4 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the UK Radio Network and will be live on SEC Network+ with Dick Gabriel and Doug Flynn calling the action.
The Mounts got on the board in the top of the third inning, as Brendan Dabagian singled off the glove of Zeigler with one out, with Shelby’s one-handed, off-balance throw sailing up the line to put a runner in scoring position. After a hit by pitch and a wild pitch, Jay Knight forced in a run with an RBI groundout. Ryan Owens then singled to rightfield, scoring Tommy Quealy.
UK immediately answered in the bottom of the third, as Fettes and Heady each drew full-count walks with one out. Barrett then spanked a two-RBI double into the left-centerfield gap, scoring the duo and evening up the game.
The Wildcats took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning, as White singled to rightfield to leadoff, with the ball skidding under the glove of the rightfielder, allowing White to scamper to third base. Mahan followed and tripled into the right-centerfield gap, scoring White and giving UK a lead.
Kentucky broke open the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, plating three runs to stretch its lead to 7-2. Shelby opened the inning with a hit by pitch, stealing second base. After Tom singled, Bernal ripped a double down the line, to score Shelby. White then singled to left to score Tom and Mahan singled into left-centerfield to score Bernal.
UK added a run in the sixth as Wilson drew a five-pitch walk to leadoff, scoring on Tom’s double off the top of the wall in right-centerfield.
GAME NOTES: Sophomore second baseman JaVon Shelby made his team-leading 62nd consecutive start … Junior centerfielder Kyle Barrett played in his team-best 102nd career game and started his club-high 86th game … Sophomore righty Robert Zeigler made his first career start in his ninth career appearance … Junior leftfielder Ka’ai Tom was hit by his third pitch of the year … Barrett doubled for the fourth time in 2015 … Freshman first baseman Evan White extended his hitting streak to a club-best 10 games … Freshman Riley Mahan tripled for the first time in his career, charting his first career RBI … Shelby was hit by his second pitch … Shelby stole his second base of the year … Senior third baseman Thomas Bernal ripped his fourth double of the year … Sophomore shortstop Connor Heady was hit by his first pitch of the year … Zeigler set new career highs in innings (5.0) and strikeouts (six) … Junior righty Zach Strecker made his fourth appearance of the year … Tom doubled for the fourth time in 2015 … Freshman lefty Zach Logue made his third appearance … Strecker tied his career high with five strikeouts … UK has won five consecutive games for the first time since a nine-game winning streak in non-conference play in 2014.