Kapteyn Powers No. 30 UK Offensive Surge in Win at No. 10 Arkansas
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Sophomore Braden Kapteyn charted four hits, including a first-inning home run and the Kentucky offense exploded for 12 runs on a season-high 17 hits, as the 30th-ranked Wildcats posted a 12-8 series-opening win at No. 10 Arkansas, on a rainy Friday night in front of 7,118 fans at Baum Stadium.
Kentucky (18-9, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) had its offense explode for 12 runs on a season-best 17 hits, including homers from Kapteyn, Cory Farris, Andy Burns and Gunner Glad, helping UK to its first win over a top-10 ranked foe of the year. The loss for Arkansas was just the third home loss of the year for the Razorbacks, owning a 15-3 mark at Baum Stadium in 2010.
Kapteyn, a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder, led UK’s offense with a 4-for-5 game, driving in a club-high three RBI, cranking his fourth homer of the season. Chad Wright added a 3-for-6 game, painting doubles down both lines. Glad finished 3-for-4 with a walk and two RBI, with Keenan Wiley going 2-for-4 and Burns adding a 2-for-4, two-RBI outing, stealing his sixth base of the year. UK preseason All-American Chris Bisson charted a hit and a walk, stealing one base, extending his streak of games with a stolen base to seven games and his hitting streak to nine contests.
UK starter Logan Darnell lasted 3.2 innings, allowing five two-out runs in the third and fourth innings, giving up nine hits and walking two. Kentucky reliever Nick Kennedy (2-1) turned in a sterling performance in the Ozarks, going 4.1 innings in relief of Darnell, allowing two hits and three runs, striking out a career-high six and issuing just one walk. He was relived in the ninth inning by closer Matt Little who tossed the ninth inning, striking out one and issuing one walk.
Arkansas (20-6, 4-3 SEC) starter Mike Bolsinger went 2.1 innings, allowing nine hits and eight runs, striking out two, taking the loss, his first of the season. Arkansas used four relievers after Bolsinger, with T.J. Forrest and Jeremy Heatley each worked 2.1 innings and closer D.J. Baxendale tossing the eighth inning.
The series will resume Saturday at 3:05 p.m. ET at Baum Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM and in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM.
“Kentucky did everything right,” Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn said. “They played a great game and made some super plays in the field. I told the team, maybe it was just too much to overcome but we tried. We busted it and gave everything we had. They brought two outstanding pitchers out of the bullpen with good stuff and movement and we battled as best we could. The game just got away from us early.”
UK got on the board in its first opportunity, taking a three-run lead with three hits in the top of the first inning. Wright doubled down the opposite-field line with two strikes to lead off and Bisson grounded out to move him to third base. Glad followed and added to his team-high RBI total, hitting hard grounder on the right side of the infield, with Arkansas first baseman Andy Wilkins’ attempted back hand play just missing. After Farris grounded out to move Glad to second base, Kapteyn muscled a home run over the right-field fence, just sneaking inside the right-field foul pole.
The Wildcats added two runs in the top of the second, all with two outs, taking a 5-0 lead. Burns singled on a 0-2 offering up the middle, promptly stealing second base, for his third steal of the year. Wright followed and got his second double in as many at bats, this time painted down the right-field line, scoring Burns. Bisson followed and lined a single into leftfield, scoring Wright from second base.
UK added to its lead with three runs on three hits and an Arkansas error, taking an 8-0 lead and chasing Bolsinger from the game. Farris led off the inning, drilling his seventh homer of the year over the left-field fence, a line-drive opposite-field jack into the stands above the Arkansas bullpen. Kapteyn followed and chopped a single up the middle and Wiley reached first with a sacrifice bunt, with Zack Cox’s throw to first wide of the bag for a throwing error. After Nidiffer sacrificed both runners into scoring position, Black singled into leftfield, scoring Kapteyn and moving Wiley to third base, chasing Bolsinger from the game. Burns then drove in Wiley with a sacrifice bunt, pushed to the right side of the infield, making it 8-0.
Arkansas answered with four runs on five hits in the third inning, all with two outs, cutting the UK lead to 8-4. After Bo Bigham grounded out, Jarrod McKinney drew a walk, moving to second on a groundout from Collin Kuhn. Brett Eibner scored McKinney with a single through the left side, just out of the reach of a diving Burns. Cox followed and beat out a high chopping infield single, bringing up Monk Kreder. Kreder lined a groundball into the gap on the left side of the infield, with Burns making a diving snag but his throw just missed wide, with Eibner scoring from second on the ground ball. Wilkins then drove in Cox with a bat-handle single into leftfield, with Tim Carver scoring Kreder with a single into left.
The Razorbacks continued to chip away in the fourth inning, again doing all of the damage with two outs. Collin Kuhn led off and singled through the left side of the infield with two strikes and Eibner drew a full-count walk. Cox scored Kuhn with a single up the middle, chasing Darnell from the game, with Kennedy getting the call in relief. Before even throwing a pitch, Kennedy picked off Cox at first base.
UK got a run back in the top of the sixth, stretched its lead to 9-5. After Bisson made out to leadoff, Glad drilled a long drive over the left-centerfield fence, his fifth homer of the year and the third consecutive game with a homer.
Arkansas got two runs on two hits in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Kuhn led off with a high chopper bounced off the plate and Eibner drew a full-count walk. Cox loaded the bases with a single through the right side and Kreder scored Kuhn with a sacrifice fly in rightfield. Wilkins followed and grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice.
The Wildcats got two runs back in the top of the eighth inning, as Wright led off with a single into centerfield and Bisson drew a four-pitch walk, chasing Heatley from the contest. Arkansas turned to dynamic freshman closer D.J. Baxendale to face Glad, who laid down a sacrifice bunt to move runners to second and third. Arkansas intentionally walked Farris to load the bags and bring up Kapteyn. Kapteyn hit a slow roller down the third-base line to Cox, who bobbled it and couldn’t get Bisson at third, allowing Wright to score. Wiley then followed with a hard-hit ball through the right side, scoring Bisson.
UK got a big run in the top of the ninth inning, as Burns led off the inning with a high homer just over the right-field fence, his fifth homer of the year.