Bat Cats Pick Up First Win of Season
Preston belts two homers and drives in seven
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - In his first start as a Kentucky Wildcat, Spencer Preston went 4-for-5, belted two home runs and collected seven RBI as the University of Kentucky baseball team defeated Wofford College, 15-11, for its first win of the 2001 season.
The Wildcats, whose game yesterday against Furman was suspended due to darkness, found their hitting stroke Saturday afternoon as they tallied 14 hits, five going for extra-bases. UK Coach Keith Madison was pleased with his team's offensive output.
"I am very proud of our hitters today because they kept responding and scoring runs," Madison said. "I think our players were pressing a little bit yesterday. Today, they looked a lot more loose and I think it made a difference."
UK (1-0) wasted little time getting on the board, jumping on Wofford starter George Lehr in the first, scoring four runs. Beau Moore led off the game with a double into the center field gap and Taylor McInnis followed with a two-run homer to left, giving the Cats a 2-0 lead. Vince Harrison walked, then advanced to second on a bunt hit by Seth Morris. With one batter out, Preston lined a single into right field, scoring Harrison. First baseman Gordon Tyler continued the hit parade with a RBI single, giving Cat hurler Rob Corrado a 4-0 lead before even taking the mound.
Corrado breezed through the first three innings, giving up only one run on three hits, before running into trouble in the fourth. With UK leading 6-1, Wofford's bats came alive, collecting four hits en route to scoring six runs and chasing Corrado from the game. Freshman Cory Hahn was called upon to put out the fire. By the time Hahn caught Wofford first baseman Blake Timanus looking at a third strike, the Terriers had scored eight runs, all charged to Corrado, and taken an 9-6 lead.
However, UK didn't trail for very long. After Seth Morris walked to start the fifth, Preston stepped to the plate and smacked a mammoth home run to left. With two out and runners on second and third, McInnis and Harrison each drove home a run with RBI singles, regaining the lead for the Wildcats.
Hahn continued to hold the Terriers at bay, not allowing an earned run in 3.1 innings of work. UK would tack on two runs in the sixth before Preston would come calling again in the seventh. With two on and two out, Preston hit a hooking line drive around the left field foul pole for a three run homer, his second of the day.
"I got off to a really good start today," Preston said. "I am swinging a good bat right now and getting a hit in my first at bat gave me a lot of confidence."
Wofford (1-3) would add a runs in the eight and ninth, but that was as much as the UK bullpen would yield, making the final 15-11.
Hahn (1-0) picked up the win, the first of his collegiate career, allowing only three hits and no earned runs in 3.1 innings while striking out five. Jason Lynch absorbed the loss for Wofford.
The Wildcats will be back in action Sunday, Feb. 11, at 12 p.m., when they travel to Greenville, S.C., to resume their game with Furman University from Friday evening. The game will be resumed with the score tied 3-3 in the top of the 11th and Kentucky batting. Following the conclusion of that contest, Kentucky and Furman will play a second game.
Mark Michael is scheduled to start for the Wildcats tomorrow. The started for Furman has yet to be determined.
Score by innings: R H E Kentucky 411 042 300 - 15 14 2 Wofford 010 800 011 - 11 13 3 WP - Hahn (1-0) LP - Lynch Homeruns: McInnis (1), Preston (1,2)