Kentucky Holds Off Toledo for Eighth Straight Win
LEXINGTON – Kentucky jumped out to an 11-run lead and held off Toledo, 14-12, to register its eighth straight win on Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats scored double-figures in runs for the fourth time in five games while pounding out a season-high 19 hits to earn its second straight consecutive series sweep and improve to 9-1 on the season. Toledo dropped its third straight game and fell to 1-5 this year.
“There is a lot of confidence in our club right now,” Kentucky head coach John Cohen said. “But our club is young and we have to come and play every day. We have to have an electricity in our play and be prepared. But, when we play well, I think we can beat anybody.”
Kentucky plated runners in each of the first six innings and held a commanding 13-4 advantage heading into the seventh. At that point, the Rocket bats came alive for seven hits while drawing two walks to plate eight runs in the innings and slice the lead to one.
Adam Revelette (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic), who also allowed two runs in the fifth, was tagged for the first six runs of the inning while Brock Baber (Sharpsburg, Ky./Bath County) was charged for the final two. Baber entered with runners on the corners and no outs and promptly got a double play and a fly ball to left. However, leftfielder Matt Fritts (Loiusville, Ky./Male) misplayed the ball to keep the inning alive. Two hits later, Craig Snipp (Louisville, Ky./Pleasure Ridge Park) was brought on in relief with the tying run at the plate.
Snipp allowed a run-scoring double to start, but settled down to retire seven straight batters and earn the his first save of the year. The save preserved the second win of the season for starter Kalen Gibson (Slaughters, Ky./Webster County), who worked five innings and allowed two unearned runs on five hits.
“(Pitching) Coach (Gary) Henderson has done a great job with him,” Cohen said. “I think Craig has a lot of confidence in that situation that he can throw the ball down in the zone. He’s been around for a while now and he’s really figured some things out.”
Sophomore John Shelby (Lexington, Ky./Tates Creek) was the offensive star with a career-high four hits to go along with three runs scored. Shelby added an RBI and was one of seven Wildcats to drive in at least one run. He also stole three bases to give him nine this year.
“If we can get John to hit line drives and ground balls, be can become an offensive force,” Cohen said. “When he does that, he’s a tough guy to keep off the bases.”
Juniors Michael Bertram (Lexington, Ky./Lafayette) and Brian Hastings (Liberty, Mo./Kearney) each added three hits, two RBI and a run scored. Fellow junior Kevin Caldwell (Tupelo, Miss./Tupelo) reached base all five times at the plate with three walks and two singles. Overall, eight of Kentucky’s nine starters registered a hit.
“Kevin is very selective at the plate and he does a great job with the strike zone,” Cohen said. “As he matures and gets stronger, he can become a force in our lineup.”
The Wildcats were consistent throughout the game without having any single breakout inning. Kentucky scored single runs in the first, fifth and seventh while adding two in the third and three in the second, fourth and sixth.
Kentucky returns to action when it hosts Morehead State on Wednesday at 4 p.m.