A historical day game it was for the Cats at Kentucky Proud Park for the second game of the weekend series against the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Today marked the 125th game in a row where Kentucky has scored at least one run thus breaking the record of 124. Through a huge third inning that ended up only having three hits, the Cats scored 10 runs through multiple hit by pitches and walks.
It was crucial time for the Cats as the Mountaineers were up 4-2. The big third opened up the game in a huge way to give Kentucky the lead and ultimately the game with the final score of 21-4.
“I was really proud in how we responded,” said Kentucky head coach Nick Mingione on the back and forth game. “If we can keep doing that, if our team can respond like that, that’ll be a good sign.”
Apart of the three hits in that 10-run third was LF Trae Harmon who went 2-2 today with a walk, hit by pitch, a double and a home run. The home run in the 5th became Harmon’s second in two days and his third overall for the year.
“Honestly my teammates in front of me,” says left fielder Trae Harmon on how the past couple of games have gone for him on the offensive side of the ball. “Watching them, watching them get good at bats and them talking to me and then me executing my plan that I have with my coaches.”
For Harmon, this is his first time playing left field for Kentucky and credits all the work he did in Spring ball to get the opportunity to play a new position he has never played before. After the game said he really felt natural out there.
The score might look like Kentucky dominated the game but something Mingione was looking for after last night’s game was the mental mistakes being corrected. In the top of the third, the Cats received an error from Harmon at Left Field as he dove to get the catch and for junior LHP, Mason Hazelwood received a balk. This sequence ended up being three runs for the Mountaineers and ultimately gave them the lead at the time. Kentucky on the day received 2 Balks and 2 errors.
“Too many free bases,” says Nick Mingione on the costly mistakes at the beginning of the third inning. “Just too many bases… but the positive draw from that is that we do that and then we score 10.”
Although giving up four runs, pitching was squared away today by only allowing 3 hits and collecting 13 strikeouts.
”Landing multiple pitches for a strike,” said Mingione on the pitching performance from the Cats. “That’s a big key, not just one pitch and when we are able to do that and land multiple pitches in the zone obviously that’s been good. They got good stuff and they just got to trust it. Some guys are starting to do that so that’s good.”
Today’s win makes it three in a row and evens their record at 3-3 for the Cats as they clinch the weekend series against the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Both teams will play tomorrow for the final game of the series at 1 P.M. EST as Kentucky seeks for their fourth straight win on the young season. Sophomore LHP Dillon Marsh is expected to start tomorrow’s game. He is 0-1 on the year and has given up 6 runs and has 2 strikeouts on the young season.