Lucas Witt's bases-loaded double in the top of the ninth inning broke open a tie game with Coastal Carolina on Sunday and sparked Kentucky to an 8-2 win in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
It was a banner day for Witt, who not only had the game's key hit, but also made two stellar defensive plays for the Wildcats (5-1).
"Lucas was really good, really good," UK head coach Gary Henderson said. "(I am) Happy for Lucas, a great day for Lucas Witt. Big-time catch in foul territory there late, the diving catch in left-center, and then coming up with the bases-clearing double in the top of the ninth. Good day for Lucas."
"They are out there battling for us on the mound," Witt said. "We want to make sure that they know that no matter where the ball is hit, whether it be on the ground or in the air, that we are going to come down with it. I just try to go out there and make as many plays as I can. They are doing the same thing for us on the mound."
Kentucky was locked in a pitchers' duel with Coastal Carolina (3-2) headed into the ninth inning before Matt Reida started the rally with a single. Micheal Thomas was hit by a pitch, and Austin Cousino followed with a single to load the bases for Witt's three-run double down the left-field line. UK added a pair of insurance runs on a Paul McConkey single.
Eight of nine Kentucky position starters collected hits in the game. J.T. Riddle had UK's only multiple-hit game to extend his hitting streak to nine games.
The Wildcats' Corey Littrell picked up his first quality start of the year, tossing 6.1 innings, allowing four hits and two runs, walking five and striking out four.
"I liked the fact that Corey Littrell kept fighting even though he wasn't very efficient," Henderson said. "He kind of battled against himself early on, and when it got tight, he kept his poise, made the pitches when he needed to. Some really impressive pitching to get out of the jams by Corey. It was a tough game. He found his secondary stuff after the fourth inning. The sixth inning was his best inning. Really happy that Corey improved on last weekend and he is going to keep getting better."
Walter Wijas took over in relief of Littrell the seventh, getting two outs to work out of a jam. Trevor Gott (2-0) picked up the win with 1.2 innings of shutout work.
Kentucky returns to Lexington for its home opener on Tuesday against Murray State. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
• Riddle made his team-leading 72nd consecutive start.
• Witt and Riddle each stole their second bases of the year
• Max Kuhn recorded his first career stolen base.
UK rallies past Coastal Carolina
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