The Kentucky Wildcats are in the win column as the team defeated the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks 9-4 in their 2020 home opener.
Kentucky wasted no time getting on the board Tuesday as in the bottom of the first, Austin Schultz grounded into a fielders choice allowing Oraj Anu to score.
Schultz would deliver again in the bottom of the third as he ripped a single to center to score Anu for a second time to make it a 2-0 UK lead.
After three shutout innings, Kentucky starter Brandon Cottongame ran into trouble in the top of the fourth. SEMO plated their first run after Connor Basler laid down a sacrifice bunt to score Austin Blazevic chasing the UK starter out of the game.
With two on and two out, Daniel Harper entered the game in relief, looking to keep the damage at one run. He’d be unable to do so as Danny Wright singled to left scoring two runs to put the Redhawks on top 3-2.
The SEMO lead would not last long as in the bottom of the fourth UK reclaimed the lead at 4-3 after Jaren Shelby scored on an error and Elliot Curtis plated John Rhodes with a ground ball.
In the top of the fifth, SEMO would tie the game at four as Wade Stauss doubled off of Harper to plate Justin Dirden.
UK would again have a response as Schultz’s big game continued as he smashed a solo home run to put the Cats back on top 5-4.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) February 18, 2020
Clinging onto a one-run lead, the Wildcats added insurance in the bottom of the eighth. Schultz drove in his fourth run of the day with a double to score Coltyn Kessler.
Later in the inning, Rhodes delivered a two-run triple Drew Grace hit a sacrifice fly as UK went onto finish off a 9-4 victory.
With the win, Kentucky improves to 1-3 on the new campaign. They’ll be back in action Friday when they open a three-game series with the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Kentucky Proud Park.