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Kentucky Baseball

Collett, Anu Go Deep Twice as UK Crushes UC, 12-4

March 3, 2020
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TJ Collett and Oraj Anu drove in a combined six runs on the strength of four homers, while John Rhodes added three RBI to lead Kentucky over the University of Cincinnati, 12-4.

Backed by a strong performance from LHP Dillon Marsh, Collett, Anu, and Rhodes each drove in three runs to lead the Wildcats to their sixth win of the season. Six different players had at least two hits each, with Kessler, Golda, and Estep each adding a run to the scoreboard.

Once again, UK batters also combined to be hit by pitches six times, with Rhodes and Jaren Shelby each getting hit twice.

Anu led off the scoring in the bottom of the first with a two-out, two-run bomb to right with Shelby on third. The Bearcats responded in the top of the second with an RBI single to right by Jace Mercer, then added a solo shot to left by Griffin Merritt in the third.

UK scored two more after singles by Schultz and Collett in the third, followed by a double down the right-field line by Rhodes.

UC made it a one-run game in the top of the fourth after a lead-off double by Paul Komistek, followed by an RBI single off the bat of Mercer. UK extended their lead to three in the bottom half when Lewis singled on the first pitch he saw and swiped second on an errant throw from UC's catcher Joe Powell. Golda drove him in on a single to right and swiped second, as well. Estep brought him home on an 0-2 base hit to center.

Reliever Jackson Murphy hit Shelby on a 1-1 curve that didn't break, with Schultz beating out the throw from short on another infield single. A very tough at-bat by Collett ended in a swinging strikeout on the tenth pitch, a well-placed 3-2 two-seamer just about four inches off the plate. Anu struck out looking on a 2-2 curve, off the corner of the plate.

Rhodes was beaned by the next pitch, a fastball that appeared to get away from Murphy and hit Rhodes in the back of the helmet, forcing in a run. Kessler worked the count full, then took a pitch well inside and off the plate to make it back-to-back, bases-loaded walks. Lewis ended the threat when he struck out on a 2-2 fastball that bounced at his back foot.

After an uneventful top half of the fifth, LHP Evan Kemp took over for the Bearcats, giving up a double into the LF corner off the bat of Golda. Estep moved him to third on a ground-out to first. Shelby was hit by the next pitch from Kemp. Though having trouble with the command, Kemp got Schultz to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Marsh worked a quick top half of the sixth, finishing his day after 103 pitches (74 strikes). Marsh pumped his fist and shouted as he walked off the mound, closing with no discernible loss of velocity. He began the game with a fastball ranging from 85-88; his final pitch came in at 87 MPH.

Collett led off the bottom of the sixth with his first homer of the game on the first pitch he saw from Kemp. After Anu fouled out to first, Rhodes was hit for the second time on a 2-1 pitch. Kessler struck out looking and Rhodes was cut down at second, a strike-em-out-throw-em-out to end the inning.

Daniel Harper took over in the seventh, working two shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out one. He dealt 28 of 41 pitches for strikes.

Lewis led off the bottom of the seventh, getting hit for the second time, this time by UC's Jack Pacetti. Lewis stole second with Shelby at the plate but remained stranded after Shelby grounded out to first.

Schultz walked to start UK's half of the eighth, scoring on Collett's homer to right (into the waiting glove of UC's bullpen catcher). Anu hit his second bomb of the game on a 2-1 fastball, a line-drive shot over the left-field wall. After Rhodes walked on four straight, Zack Segal entered the game for the Bearcats and ended the threat.

Ron Cole took over in the ninth, allowing one run on two hits and one walk, striking out one (9 of 20 pitches for strikes).

The Wildcats take on Murray State tomorrow at Kentucky Proud Park, the first time they've played the Racers since 2018. Game time is 4 PM.

Game Notes:

-Schultz currently leads the team with eighteen hits, 13 runs scored, and fourteen RBI, and is one ahead of Collett with 48 at-bats. He's also second in doubles (4), homers (3), and is tied with Shelby for first in steals (5). He's slashing .375/.436/.688 (1.124 OPS).

-Five UK hitters have an OPS of .900 or higher:

Schultz-1.124

Rhodes-1.083

Golda-.975

Collett-.926

Anu-.905

-Marsh's fastball ranged from 85-88, and he primarily used his 11-5 curve as his secondary pitch. The curve came in from 73-76, showing tight spin for most of the day, good depth and late break. He remained aggressive with both throughout the game and lost little velocity if any while topping the 100-pitch mark. His previous single-game high for strikeouts (7) was set on April 23rd, 2019 at WKU, while his previous high for innings pitch (5) was reached most recently on May 5th, 2019 at home vs. Arkansas.

 

 

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Collett, Anu Go Deep Twice as UK Crushes UC, 12-4

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