Homers, Rogers Pace Baseball to Win over IU
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Neiko Johnson, Luke Maile, Michael Williams and Chad Wright each belted home runs and starter Taylor Rogers hurled his sixth quality start of the year, lifting Kentucky to an 8-5 midweek win over Indiana, on a sultry Tuesday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Southeastern Conference leader in home runs, Kentucky (22-27) had its offense explode for a season-high four total homers and 16 hits in the game, with eight of nine starters collecting hits. The Wildcats got solo homers in the first, second and third innings, adding a two-run jack in the seventh frame. Maile launched his team-leading eighth homer of the year, while Williams belted his seventh, Wright his sixth and Johnson his first roundtripper of the season.
Wright continued his blistering pace at the plate, finishing with three hits and just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle, adding a double. Third sacker Thomas McCarthy went 3-for-4 in the game, while Williams, Maile, Brian Adams, Braden Kapteyn and J.T. Riddle each collected two hits. Johnson and senior Taylor Black each drew a pair of walks.
UK starter Taylor Rogers (3-6) turned in his sixth quality start of the year in 12 starts in 2011, making his first career midweek start. Rogers went 6.2 frames, allowing seven hits and two runs – one earned – walking two and striking out three. He was relieved by Kapteyn, who got two outs, including stranding two runners on base in the seventh inning. Senior Nick Kennedy relieved Kapteyn with two on and one out in the top of the eighth and didn’t get any outs before junior southpaw Alex Phillips replaced him with the bases loaded and one out and got out of the jam before retiring the side in the ninth for his first career save.
Indiana (27-21) starter Brian Korte (2-4) went two innings, allowing four hits and two runs to take the loss. Tyler Thicke relieved him and went 1.1 innings, allowing four hits and one run, before Jonny Hoffman replaced him in the fourth and lasted 1.2 frames, allowing three hits and one run. IU also used Casey Smith, Matt Carr and Matt Dearden.
With the win, UK won its 11th game in the last 12 non-conference battles, with the lone loss coming at Western Kentucky on April 19.
UK will return to action on Friday, hosting Georgia in the final three-game series at Cliff Hagan Stadium of the year. The series will open at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Friday and Saturday games will be televised live on the Big Blue Sports Network, with Dick Gabriel (play-by-play), MLB Gold Glover Doug Flynn (color) and Ryan Lemond (sideline) calling the action. The telecast can be found on FSN South (Insight-Lexington channel 52) and in Central Kentucky on CWKYT-TV (Insight-Lexington channel 5). The three games will also be broadcast live on BBSN, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
The Wildcats got on the board in the bottom of the first inning, as Johnson gave UK a 1-0 lead with a solo homer. The homer was the first for Johnson on the year and his first since hitting a leadoff solo homer in the top of the ninth as the game-tying run in a comeback win over Monmouth in San Diego in 2010.
Indiana evened up the game at 1-1, as Micah Johnson doubled to rightfield with one out and moved to third on Jerrud Sabourin’s single to leftfield. Michael Basil then scored Johnson with a single through the right side.
Williams got UK back on the board in the second inning, launching a 1-1 offering from Korte. The homer was the team-high tying seventh of the year for Williams, giving UK a 2-1 lead.
UK continued the trend of a solo homer in each inning, as Wright drilled an opposite-field homer over the leftfield fence for his sixth homer of the year, lifting UK to a 3-1 lead.
In the fifth inning, Indiana plated an unearned run to cut the lead to 3-2. After Justin Cureton got hit by a one-out pitch, he took second on an errant pickoff throw that went as an error. Dustin DeMuth scored Cureton with a single through the right side.
The Wildcats stretched its lead to 4-2 with three hits and a run in the bottom of the fifth. Wright reached on a one-out single to rightfield and McCarthy singled to centerfield. Kapteyn then notched his first RBI since April 26 vs. Louisville with a single through the right side to score Wright from second.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, UK stretched its lead to 6-2 with a pair of runs. Riddle led off with a single to left-centerfield, stealing second base for his seventh steal of the year. After a strikeout and back-to-back walks to Johnson and Black, Wright drove in Riddle with an RBI fielder’s choice. McCarthy then collected his third hit of the game and his team-high 22nd two-out hit of the year with a single to left, scoring Johnson.
UK added two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Williams led off with a double off the wall in right-centerfield and Maile belted a no-doubt blast to the side of the video board, his eighth homer of the year to give UK an 8-2 advantage.
Indiana got back on the board in the eighth inning, as Wes Wilson doubled into the gap and Kapteyn issued a walk to Johnson and Sabourin reached on a fielder’s choice, with Johnson out at second. Wilson then scored on a wild pitch and Kapteyn plunked Basil with a pitch to end his outing. After Kennedy entered, Ty Downing singled to centerfield and Justin Cureton singled through the left side to score Sabourin. DeMuth then hit a slow roller to second base that scored a runner on a fielder’s choice.