Tigers Sweep Wildcats with Win in Finale
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- With the game tied at 2-2 in the seventh inning, Auburn plated four runs to take the lead, added two runs in the eighth and held on for a sweep-clinching 8-2 win over the Kentucky Wildcats, on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (16-17, 2-10 Southeastern Conference) suffered its ninth consecutive loss in conference play, the longest streak since starting SEC play 0-9 in 2005. The Wildcats were victimized by its bullpen throughout the weekend, with the pen allowing 19 runs in eight innings over the three games. The Tigers rapped out 35 runs and had a total of 48 hits in the three-game weekend, with 26 of the Auburn runs coming combined in the final four innings of the games. Last weekend at No. 3 South Carolina - the defending NCAA Champions - the Wildcat pitching staff limited USC to 11 runs in three games, including the bullpen holding USC to only two runs in 4.2 frames.
The Wildcats totaled seven hits in the contest, as UK completed a great offensive week, scoring 34 runs through four games, including belting nine homers. UK hit six homers in the series vs. the Tigers, with AU entering the weekend having allowed only eight roundtrippers on the year. On Sunday, Braden Kapteyn and J.T. Riddle each totaled two hits, with both charting an RBI double in the first inning. UK also got hits from Dallen Reber and Taylor Black, with Sam Kidd registering his first career hit.
UK starter Taylor Rogers (2-4) suffered the loss despite tossing the quality start, his team-high fifth quality outing of the year. Rogers went 6.2 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs - three earned - not issuing a walk and striking out three. Freshman Trevor Gott relieved Rogers and got two outs, before Alex Phillips replaced him in the eighth inning. Phillips got the final five outs for UK, allowing one hit with one strikeout. In all three games vs. AU, UK's starters worked into the sixth inning or longer.
Auburn (18-14, 5-7 SEC) starter Jon Luke Jacobs went 5.1 innings, allowing six hits and two runs, walking two and striking out five. Jacobs was relieved by Sean Ray, who got four outs, allowing one hit and two walks, striking out two. Dillon Ortman, who picked up the save on Friday night, went the final 2.1 innings for his second save of the year.
UK returns to action on Tuesday, traveling to Louisville for a 6 p.m. ET first pitch at Jim Patterson 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, in addition to coverage on UKathletics.com. The game will be televised live by Wazoo Sports throughout the state of Kentucky.
UK got the scoring started in the first inning, plating two runs on two hits to take a 2-0 lead. Wright led off the inning with a walk, moving to second on Black's sacrifice bunt. Kapteyn scored Wright with a double, painted down the left-field line, his seventh double of the year. Riddle then connected on a 1-0 offering for a double off the wall in leftfield, scoring Kapteyn.
The Tigers answered with a run in the second inning, as Dan Gamache doubled into the gap to lead off, scoring on Kevin Patterson's RBI single through the right side of the infield.
In the top of the fifth inning, Auburn answered with a run to tie the game. Creede Simpson led off the inning with a double into the gap, moving to third on a groundout from Justin Hargett and scoring on Brooks Beisner's sacrifice fly.
Auburn broke the game open off the UK bullpen for the third consecutive game, plating four runs on four hits in the seventh inning. Wes Gilmer led off the frame with a single through the infield off Rogers and Patterson struck out looking. Simpson then grounded out to move Gilmer at third for Justin Hargett. UK induced a grounder up the middle from Hargett, with Black fielding on the run and throwing to first. Hargett was called safe on the bang-bang play at first base, prompting an extended argument from UK head coach Gary Henderson over what would have been the inning-ending out. AU turned to pinch hitter Cullen Wacker to face Gott, with Wacker bouncing a single up the middle, allowing Gilmer to score. Fradejas followed and hit a grounder at McCarthy at third base, with the ball going as an error and allowing Hargett to score and Fradejas to move to second. Casey McElroy followed and singled up the middle to give Auburn a 6-2 lead.
In the eighth inning, Auburn took advantage of three UK errors to plate two runs for the final margin, 8-2.