Beggs Pounds Strike Zone in Series-Clinching Win
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- In his home debut, Dustin Beggs fanned a career-high eight in seven innings of work, throwing first-pitch strikes to 24 of 27 hitters faced, leading Kentucky to a 7-6 win over Northern Kentucky to clinch the impromptu weekend series in the first game of a doubleheader, on Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (11-3) rode the strong outing from Beggs (2-1) to the win. Beggs threw just 76 pitches in his seven-inning outing, with 58 pitches going as strikes. A native of Roswell, Ga., Beggs only missed on first-pitch strikes three times in his outing and retired nine consecutive hitters to open the game.
The Wildcats took an early lead with two runs in the third inning, adding a tally in the fourth and a four-run frame in the sixth inning. NKU got single runs in the fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings.
UK had three-hit games from catcher Zach Arnold and designated hitter Dorian Hairston. Second baseman JaVon Shelby added a two-hit, two-RBI game, with Ka'ai Tom going 1-for-3 with a two-out, two-RBI single in the third inning to give UK its first lead. Riley Mahan, Marcus Carson and Connor Heady each added hits.
The Wildcats turned to lefty Logan Salow to work the eighth inning, getting a pair of outs, before Matt Snyder got the final out of the frame. Zach Strecker worked the ninth inning, getting a pair of outs, before Zach Logue earned his first career save with the final out of the game.
Northern Kentucky (2-10) starter Justin Watts (1-1) worked three innings, allowing four hits and two runs, striking out four. NKU also used Cody Cooper, Jake Shaw and Pierce Knisley in relief.
The series will conclude later on Saturday, with the game broadcast live on SEC Network+ and WatchESPN.
The Wildcats got on the board in the bottom of the third inning, as Heady led off with a single and Hairston pushed him to third with a perfectly executed hit-and-run. After a pair of strikeouts, Tom singled up the middle to score the pair.
NKU centerfielder Cole Bauml cut into the UK lead with a solo homer on the first pitch to leadoff the fourth inning, pulling a liner over the fence in rightfield.
UK got the run back in the fourth inning, as Mahan took second on a two-base error on a line drive misplayed in rightfield. After Arnold's single put runners on the corners with no outs, Marcus Carson grounded into a double play to force in Mahan.
NKU plated a run in the sixth inning on two consecutive two-out hits, with Kyle Colletta scoring Bauml.
The Norse added a run in the seventh inning, as Ryan Lefevers singled with two outs, stealing second and scoring on Brad Bohlen's RBI single.
NKU cut into the lead in the eighth inning, as Bauml was hit by a pitch, stole second and came around to score on Trey Ganns' RBI single with two outs.
NKU added a run in the ninth inning, as Lefevers doubled with one out, scoring on Dominic Mercurio's infield single.