Cody, Early Offense Paces Win over Xavier
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Behind four shutout innings from starter Kyle Cody and a three-hit game from Ka'ai Tom, Kentucky posted a 6-1 win over Xavier to stretch its winning streak to four games, on a windy Tuesday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (23-16) scored in the first four innings of the game to open a six-run lead, highlighted by a three-run frame in the fourth. Xavier got on the board in the fifth inning as UK dipped into its bullpen, cutting the UK lead to 6-1. UK's bullpen worked the final five innings, allowing one run.
During its four-game winning streak, Kentucky has posted a 1.00 ERA over 36 innings, holding opponents to a .202 average, allowing just 25 hits and 20 singles.
Tom, a native of Kaneohe, Hawaii, hit safely in his first three trips to the plate, with a two-out double in the first, a leadoff knock and steal in the third, and a RBI single in the fourth inning, drawing a walk in his fourth trip to the plate. On the year, Tom has hit .386 (61-for-158) with 13 doubles, one triple, three homers and 43 RBI, stealing 14-of-14 bases, sporting a .443 on-base percentage.
UK also got two-hit games from Kyle Barrett, Evan White and JaVon Shelby, with Zach Arnold and Connor Heady adding hits and Storm Wilson charting two RBI.
A preseason All-America selection by Baseball America, Cody (3-4) worked a pre-determined four-inning start, allowing just a first-inning single, walking one and striking out three. Cody allowed a single to open the game, before getting a double play ball and retiring the next nine hitters, before a leadoff walk in the fourth, forced him to retire the next three hitters.
Taylor Martin started the fifth inning, getting a strikeout to open the frame, before four consecutive hitters reached. Dylan Dwyer took over with the bases loaded and one out, getting out of the jam unscathed. Dwyer worked 1.2 innings, allowing a hit and striking out two. Robert Zeigler started the seventh inning, working around a hit and walk with two strikeouts. Freshman Zach Pop worked the ninth, getting a line out to Troy Squires and a deep throw in the hole at shortstop from Heady to toss a clean frame.
Xavier (10-30) starter Daniel Przeniczny (0-1) worked 3.1 innings, allowing 10 hits and six runs, not issuing a walk and striking out one. Jacob Bodner came on in relief, working three innings, walking four and striking out five. XU also used Sean Campbell and Brandon Johnson in relief.
UK will return to action on Friday, opening a series at No. 6 Florida at McKethan Stadium.
The Wildcats got on the board with a two-out rally in the first inning, as Tom doubled down the rightfield line, scoring on Shelby's two-strike, two-out RBI single through the left side.
UK added two its lead in the bottom of the second inning with a two-out challenge, starting with a two-strike hit by pitch from Arnold. Heady followed with a single to leftfield and Barrett capitalized with a two-out RBI knock down the rightfield line.
Kentucky stretched its lead with a run in the third inning, as Tom and Shelby led off with singles, taking third on a sacrifice bunt from Dorian Hairston. Wilson then hung a sacrifice fly to leftfield to score Tom and give UK a 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats added a three-run rally in the fourth inning for a six-run advantage. Arnold led off the inning with a double and Heady was plunked by a pitch. Barrett then singled to centerfield to score Arnold and White extended his hitting streak with a single to rightfield. Tom followed with a RBI knock into the left-centerfield gap and after an out and a walk, Wilson forced in a run with a bases-loaded walk.
Xavier got on the board in the fifth inning, as Derek Hasenbeck and Patrick Jones singled with one out and Rylan Bannon drew a walk to load the bases. Joe Gellenbeck then singled to centerfield to score Hasenbeck and get into the UK bullpen.