Wildcats Get Career-High Six Innings, Five Strikeouts From Sophomore Zack Brown
*Spencer Jack talks with Dick Gabriel
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Greg Fettes forced in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning with a single, completing a back-and-forth win for Kentucky over Northeastern, 5-4, with the Wildcats posting a doubleheader sweep, on a cloudy and rain-soaked Saturday afternoon at the North County Regional Park.
Kentucky (6-3) swept a doubleheader on Saturday, have won three games in the last two days and stretched its winning streak to four games. UK posted a 5-1 win in the first game of the doubleheader vs. Nebraska-Omaha, getting seven no-hit innings from junior right-hander Kyle Cody and a four-hit game from Kyle Barrett.
Barrett added two more hits in the nightcap, as UK and Northeastern – which had won its first game of its Saturday doubleheader over Kansas – battled in a tight game that saw a 45 minute rain delay late in the tilt. UK jumped out to a 3-0 lead after four innings, with Northeastern getting two in the fifth inning and UK answering with a run in the sixth. Northeastern rallied after the delay with single runs in the seventh and eighth inning to take the game to 4-4 heading to the bottom of the eighth.
After Evan White reached on an error and was moved to scoring position by a sacrifice bunt, Fettes singled to the right side, with the throw from ranging second baseman Keith Kelly narrowly missing the slide of White at the plate for the go-ahead run.
The Wildcats then used lefty Logan Salow (1-0) to get the first out of the ninth inning after a leadoff single. UK called on senior Spencer Jack to get the final two outs with the tying run on base. Jack, who had four saves in 2014, worked around a single and a walk, striking out the clean-up hitter to end the game and earn his first save of the year.
UK starter Zack Brown turned in his first quality start of the year in a no decision, working six innings, allowing five hits and two runs – one earned – walking two and striking out five. Andrew Nelson worked an inning, before Salow got four outs to pick up his first win of the year.
A native of Douglasville, Ga., Barrett went 6-for-10 in the doubleheader on Saturday to lead the UK offense. UK also got hits from White, Fettes, Storm Wilson, Ka’ai Tom, Dorian Hairston, Riley Mahan and Connor Heady. Heady smacked his first career homer in the first game, going 1-for-2 in the nightcap before exiting with a cramp.
Northeastern (2-6) starter Dustin Hunt shined, working five innings, allowing six hits and three runs, walking one and striking out nine.
UK will conclude its weekend on Sunday vs. Mount St. Mary’s, with first pitch slated for 2:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on the UK Radio Network, with Dick Gabriel voicing the action.
The Wildcats took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Barrett led off with a first-pitch single to leftfield and Tom drew a two-out walk. Bernal then smashed a single into centerfield, scoring Barrett with two outs. After Tom motored to third base, Northeastern tried to back-pick and the throw sailed away from the bag, allowing Tom to score the second run.
UK added a run in the third inning, as Tom legged out a bunt single and stole second base, scoring on White’s RBI single to rightfield.
In the top of the fifth inning, Northeastern took advantage of three hits and a fielding error to plate two runs.
UK plated a run in the sixth inning after the delay, as Bernal singled to leadoff, with Hairston pushing him to scoring position for Fettes, who dropped a RBI single into centerfield.
NU rallied in the seventh inning after the delay, getting a leadoff walk that scored on a double play.
In the eighth inning, NU rallied with a leadoff bunt single, a walk and a single from Pat Madigan, with an error allowing the game-tying run to score.
GAME NOTES: Sophomore second baseman JaVon Shelby made his team-leading 61st consecutive start … Junior centerfielder Kyle Barrett played in his team-best 101st career game and started his club-high 85th game … Freshman first baseman Evan White extended his hitting streak to a club-best nine games … Junior leftfielder Ka’ai Tom stole his second base of the year and the 16th of his two-year career … Sophomore Logan Salow picked up his first win of the year and the third of his career … Making his second start of the year and the seventh of his career, sophomore Zack Brown worked a career-long six innings and fanned a career-high five … UK has now won four consecutive games, its best winning streak since a nine-game streak in non-conference play in 2014.
*Gary Henderson with Dick Gabriel. Video- Brent Ingram.