LEXINGTON, Ky. – Playing in front of a record crowd, No. 10 Kentucky came out of the gates with a five-run first inning on the way to an 11-7 victory over No. 2 Louisville in the first of four games against Top 10 opponents this week at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Cats (26-12, 10-5 SEC) blitzed their in-state rival for 11 runs in the first four innings, igniting the Cliff Hagan record crowd of 4,018 fans. Five consecutive RBI singles in the first inning and a four-run third capped by senior Connor Heady’s home run provided most of the damage at the plate but it was a defensive play that left everyone buzzing.
The Cardinals (31-5) put their first two hitters on base in the second inning before the Cats extricated themselves from the potential jam in the most exciting way possible. With runners on second and third, Colin Lyman lifted a fly ball to left that Zack Reks caught and fired home to nail Brendan McKay, who tagged up on the play, at the plate. UK catcher Troy Squires made the tag and quickly fired to third where Heady – the UK shortstop – had covered and gloved Drew Ellis before he reached the bag, executing a rare triple play. The triple play is the only known one in school history.
UK did have to survive a Louisville rally in the middle innings, as the Cardinals scored two in the fifth and five in the seventh before righties Chris Machamer and Zach Pop threw water on the flames. Closer Logan Salow came in and recorded the final three outs to end a six-game losing streak in the series, including a 5-3 defeat at Louisville on April 4.