The Kentucky Wildcats Baseball team took the field Tuesday against Xavier for the last season opener in Cliff Hagan Stadium. BBN showed up in a big way by setting the regular season attendance record with 4,118 people showing up to support the Bat Cats.
In a game that went to an extra inning, the Cats fell short against Xavier by a score of 3-2. The Cats gave up 2 runs in the first inning with Brad Schaenzer on the mound. After the early runs, scoring was sparse as UK had totaled two runs to send the game, tied 2-2, to extra innings before Xavier secured the win with a 10th inning run.
Scoring for UK opened in the 3rd inning when Trey Dawson singled to start the inning and was later scored by Ben Atlinski on a sacrifice fly. UK’s fight showed as they tied it up in the 6th inning on a home run by T.J. Collett.
In the bottom of the 9th, UK was at bat and found themselves with the bases loaded, yet could not capitalize, finishing with strikeouts from Ben Aklinski and T.J Collett.
In the 10th inning, Chris Machamer took over the pitching duties for the Cats. Xavier’s first batter hit a ball into deep right field which resulted in a triple off an error from UK’s outfield. Xavier’s next batter then came up and hit a SAC fly into centerfield scoring Xavier’s Gellenbeck and giving the Musketeers a 3-2 advantage. UK could not produce any offense in the bottom of the inning. With that Xavier handed UK their first loss of the year, moving their record to 4-1 on the season.
On the mound, UK started Brad Schaenzer, who pitched five innings and allowed 5 hits and 2 runs. He walked 2 and struck out 4 before being relieved to start the 6th inning. The 6th was split by Carson Coleman and Mason Hazelwood before Jimmy Ramsey came in to stay, pitching 3 1/3 innings. He allowed 2 hits and the winning run in the 10th. After the run, he was relieved by Chris Machamer who closed out the 10th with one hit.
Tristan Pompey 2 for 4 at bat, extending his streak to 42 straight games reaching base. He is also 32nd on UK’s all-time list with 142 career hits.
Coach Mingione didn’t say much after the game but when asked about the crowd he said, “Wow, we really have to thank them for how they showed up, just sad we couldn’t get the win.” Coach Mingione was also asked about the situation at Mississippi State, replying “I just feel sorry for it, I feel sorry our sport has to go through that.”
He was also asked about if he thought that UK was a destination job now compared to where the program was ten years ago. “When you think about what’s important to you, faith, family and baseball. My wife likes it here, Lexington’s education is amazing, Lexington checks off a lot of those boxes.”
The Bat Cats will be back in action this weekend hosting Oakland University starting Friday at 4 pm.