MOREHEAD, Ky. -- Thomas McCarthy, Matt Reida and Chad Wright each recorded three hits, as the Kentucky baseball team rode an offensive explosion of 20 hits and 12 runs, in a 12-3 win over the Morehead State Eagles, on a chilly Tuesday afternoon at Allen Field.
The Wildcats came off a three-game opening weekend at College of Charleston, falling in three games and recording a .181 team average. UK's offense woke up on Tuesday, as the Wildcats pounded out 20 hits and scored 12 runs.
McCarthy, Reida and Wright led the way as the trio each recorded three hits. McCarthy, UK's third baseman, totaled a 3-for-5 outing with two doubles and Reida - who started at second base - totaled his first three career hits in a 3-for-5 game with an RBI. A native Paducah, Ky., Wright went 3-for-4 with three RBI and his first home run of the season, a no-doubt jack over the right-field fence. Defensively, UK got a strong game from McCarthy, who totaled seven assists from third base.
Kentucky (1-3) also got strong offense performances from leadoff man Neiko Johnson and senior shortstop Taylor Black. Johnson had singles in his first two at bats, while Black went 2-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored. UK junior Braden Kapteyn finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and a walk and catcher Luke Maile totaled a 2-for-3 game with an RBI and a double. Senior left-handed pitcher and outfielder Mike Kaczmarek, Michael Williams and Lucas Witt each added hits, with Kaczmarek's single coming as his first career hit.
UK freshman right-handed starter Jonathan Paquet went three innings in his collegiate debut, allowing six hits and two runs, with four of the hits allowed coming as infield hits. Walter Wijas (1-0) picked up the win, tossing 3.2 shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks, striking out three.
Kentucky opens its home schedule on Wednesday, hosting Eastern Michigan at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan 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 WGVN 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
The Wildcats got on the board in the top of the first, taking a 3-0 lead on three hits and a Morehead State error. Johnson led off the inning with a single ripped to the opposite field and Black laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Johnson to second base but the throw to first pulled the first baseman off the bag, putting Black at first. After Wright executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to put bother runners into scoring position, Kapteyn lined a hard-hit single to the left side, scoring Johnson and Black. Maile followed and belted a 3-2 offering off the 40-foot wall in rightfield, moving Kapteyn to third, with Kapteyn scoring on Williams' RBI groundout.
UK struck for a run in the third inning, as Maile led off with a hit by pitch, moving to third on Kaczmarek's first career single. McCarthy scored Maile with a double into the right-centerfield gap.
Morehead State (0-4) cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third, as Travis Redmon led off the inning with a single, promptly stealing second. Daniel Pugh scored him with a triple over the head of the UK outfielders in leftfield, scoring Redmon. Taylor Davis then followed with a double to score Pugh.
In the sixth inning, UK got a run on one hit and an error, as Wright led off the game with a perfect bunt single, moving to third after Kapteyn hit into an error and scoring on a passed ball.
UK added to its lead in the top of the seventh, as McCarthy led off with his second double of the game, painting the line down leftfield. Reida scored him with his first career RBI with a single to leftfield and Sam Kidd laid down a sacrifice bunt, Black drove a single the other way, with Wright notching an RBI on a double down the left-field line. After Kapteyn was intentionally walked, Maile singled on the first pitch he saw with the bases loaded to score Black.
The Wildcats plated two runs with two outs in the top of the eighth inning, as McCarthy launched his third hit of the game and Reida charted his third hit of the contest to move McCarthy to scoring position. After a Kidd groundout moved both runners to scoring position, Black pelted a double off the wall in right-centerfield, scoring the duo. Wright then came to the plate after a pitching change and belted the first pitch of the at bat as a no-doubt jack over the right-field fence.