It’s been a long time coming, but the brand new, sparkly, $49 million Kentucky Proud Park is finally open! On Tuesday, Kentucky played Eastern Kentucky University in the inaugural game for the new stadium. There was plenty of pomp and circumstance to commemorate the occasion. UK’s President Eli Capilouto was in attendance along with AD Mitch Barnhart, former Head Coach Keith Madison and others that played a big role in the inception and completion of this construction project.
In front of a crowd of 4,074 fans, the Cats waited until the 2nd inning to get the first official run scored in the new park when Dalton Reed scored on a throwing error. Then in the 5th inning, T.J. Collett hit the first official home run in the stadium’s history. Meanwhile, Jaren Shelby set a mark that may last for many years in KPP as he stole 3 bases to score after being walked. By the time the rally concluded, Kentucky held a 4-0 lead.
Eastern tried to stage a rally in the 6th inning and managed to get 1 run across before Kentucky went to the bullpen. RHP Daniel Harper came in for relief and managed to escape a bases-loaded situation and struck out A.J. Lewis to retire the side.
In the bottom of the 6th, the Cats had their own rally, but it was certainly one of the more unusual rallies you’ll see. On the back of 1 error by EKU, 1 wild pitch, and 3 stolen bases, Kentucky scored 3 runs without getting a single hit and extended their lead to 7-1.
While Eastern did manage to score twice in the top of the 9th, it wasn’t enough to overcome the hole they had dug for themselves earlier and UK won the game, 7-3. Redshirt junior Grant Macciocchi (1-0) got the win while Jacob Farris (1-1) was credited with the loss.
Kentucky is now undefeated in Kentucky Proud Park, but they won’t let down their guard as 4 more games await this week. Wednesday at 4 pm, the Cats face off against Northern Kentucky University at 4 pm. That will be followed by a weekend series versus Canisius. All of this week’s games will be on the SECN+.
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