After trailing 4-0 through six innings, the Comeback Cats did it again. Kentucky scored seven unanswered runs to take down Georgia 7-4 in their series opener, improving to 27-3 (9-1 SEC) on the season. The ‘Cats had just two hits through seven innings and finished with eight on the day.
With the win, Kentucky won their 23rd game in their last 24 tries. A performance like the one today shows why they are a top-ten team in the country. These ‘Cats are for real.
Senior RHP Logan Martin made his fifth start of the season Friday afternoon, back in the rotation after missing last week’s start due to a nagging injury. Martin continues to make his way back to full strength, as he threw just 37 pitches in two hitless innings of work. He was replaced by Darren Williams to start the third inning.
Sophomore LHP Jaden Woods started on the mound for Georgia and enjoyed one of his best outings of the season, completely shutting down the Wildcat offense until the sixth inning. Woods pitched 5.2 hitless innings before allowing the first Wildcat hit of the day to Jase Felker. Woods finished with just four hits and two runs allowed, both of which came on his last faced batter of the game. Things started to go awry for the ‘Dawgs following his departure.
Georgia’s Condon Puts Georgia Ahead in Sixth
For two offenses that love to score runs, Woods and the duo of Martin/Williams shut down both sides of offense for most of this one. Until the sixth inning, Kentucky and Georgia combined for just two hits. It wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth that runs began to be scored, but not by the ‘Cats.
Darren Williams was cruising through his relief appearance until the aforementioned bottom of the sixth. Star redshirt freshman Charlie Condon launched his 12th home run of the season to left center field, putting a run on the board for the first time for either team. Williams was rattled, as he immediately gave up a double to Corey Collins following the long ball. Hits became contagious, as Parks Harber singled to move Collins to third. Cole Wagner was plunked, loading the bases for Sebastian Murillo. Murillo singled to right field, scoring both Harber and Wagner. Mason LaPlante drove in another run on a sac-fly, and it was suddenly 4-0 before you knew it.
As has been the status quo all season, the ‘Cats didn’t quit.
Here Come the Cats…
Émilien Pitre got the bottom of the seventh inning started with a single, just Kentucky’s second hit of the day. Ryan Waldschmidt singled as well, putting runners on first and second with Reuben Church up to bat. Church, who had only had 21 at-bats on the season entering Friday night’s matchup, ripped a clutch double to center field to score both Petey and Waldy to bring the ‘Cats to within two. Following the double, Woods was replaced by RHP Matthew Hoskins. Hoskins struggled however, walking Grant Smith and Jackson Gray to load the bases. Jase Felker drew a bases loaded walk, allowing Church to trot home to make it a 4-3 game.
Mason Moore took over on the mound for the ‘Cats in the bottom of the seventh and sat the Bulldogs down in order to give Kentucky a chance to tie it up in the eighth, which they did. Ryan Waldschmidt got the inning started with a single, eventually swiping second on a passed ball. Nolan McCarthy, who entered the game with a five-game hitting streak, ripped a double to right center field, scoring Waldschmidt and knotting this one up through eight.
Three-Run Ninth Inning Propels Kentucky to Win
After Mason Moore forced yet another 1-2-3 inning, the ‘Cats came back up to the plate in the top of the ninth with a chance to take a lead for the first time. After a Jase Felker single and walks from Jackson Gray and Devin Burkes, the bases were loaded with Émilien Pitre to bat. Pitre had an incredible at-bat, watching a ball on a full count to draw a walk, giving Kentucky the lead. Hunter Gilliam finished the day 0-4, snapping his 22-game hitting streak, but still came through with one of the biggest at-bats of the day. Gilly knocked a sac-fly to left field, scoring Felker to increase the lead to two. Waldschmidt, who was the Player of the Game, notched his third hit of the afternoon to score Burkes and make it a 7-4 game. Down 4-0 in the seventh, it was suddenly 7-4 in a stunner at Foley Field.
Mason Moore finished off his dominant performance with yet another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the ninth, cementing an incredible comeback victory for the ‘Cats. Moore saw nine batters and sat down all of them.
Game two of the weekend series is scheduled to start Saturday at 2:00 p.m. EST.