Freshman relievers shine as Cats sweep Cards

Kentucky freshmen Zack Brown and Logan Salow combined for six shutout innings out of bullpen Tuesday in the Wildcats' 4-2 win over Louisville, capping a season sweep of the rival Cardinals.

Kentucky got seven shutout innings from its bullpen, including six by freshmen relievers Zack Brown and Logan Salow, to highlight a 4-2 win over No. 9 Louisville on Tuesday at Jim Patterson Stadium.

With the victory, the No. 19 Wildcats capped a season sweep of the rival Cardinals. UK won 8-3 in the first meeting on April 1 at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

"Well, it's good to win," UK head coach Gary Henderson said. "It's a game we want to win every year, just like they do. It's a rivalry game. It's not more important than a league game. I get that every year, twice a year. But we're very glad to win, just like we are every other midweek or in-state team.

"But Louisville's a good club. Dan (McDonnell) does a great job, and it's a good win for us. It's always good win a tight game on the road because it gives your kids confidence going forward."

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Kentucky (24-13) notched its fifth win of the season against a team ranked in the Top 10.

To do so, the Wildcats had to rely on its bullpen earlier than usual. Louisville (27-9) chased starter Ryne Combs in the third inning after loading the bases with no outs. The Cards briefly took a 2-1 lead, but UK battled back ahead with two runs in the top of the fourth.

A.J. Reed drew a walk leading off the inning and took second on a passed ball. He advanced to third on a ground ball off the bat of Micheal Thomas before scoring on Ka'ai Tom's ground ball that was ruled an error. After a walk to Kyle Barrett to load the bases, JaVon Shelby walked to force in the go-ahead run.

From there, the bullpen made it hold up. Salow (2-1) got out of the third inning jam with no additional damage and scattered five hits over 3.2 innings of work. Brown pitched the next 2.1 innings, allowing only one hit and striking out three. Kyle Cody recorded his third save of the year with a scoreless ninth inning.

"That's six innings of freshman pitching," Henderson said. "That's significant on the road, there's question about that. So those kids are getting better. Zack Brown is getting better, I've mentioned that a couple of times. But great job by Salow, outstanding by Zack Brown and then obviously, bring Kyle Cody in there, the matchup was good for us at that point, but he's still got to come through and he's still got to do it and he did."

Salow lowered his season ERA to 1.53 in 14 appearances for UK. He has allowed only three earned runs while striking out 19 batters in 17.2 innings of work. Brown lowered his ERA to 2.70, having allowed just three earned runs in 10 innings of relief this season.

Louisville starter Josh Rogers (0-2) worked 3.1 innings, allowing two hits and three runs, walking two and striking out a career-high six.

The Cats got one hit apiece from Austin Cousino, Max Kuhn, Thomas Bernal, Barrett and Shelby. Tom and Shelby each recorded an RBI.

UK returns to action with a three-game series against Texas A&M, starting on Friday in College Station at 7:35 p.m. ET.

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