Fettes, Beggs lead Kentucky in opener

Going into the season, Gary Henderson warned fans that this year’s Kentucky baseball team would not be able to rely on the long ball like last year’s club.

So all the Wildcats did in their season opener Friday was belt three home runs on their way to an 11-7 win over Ball State in Wilmington, N.C.

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Junior catcher Greg Fettes had the first two-homer game of his UK career and drove in four runs to lead the Cats, while sophomore second baseman JaVon Shelby also went deep as part of a three-hit, three-RBI day.

Kentucky banged out 17 hits, including six against Ball State starter Zach Plesac, the 2014 MAC Pitcher of the Year. Junior outfielder Ka’ai Tom and freshman first baseman Evan White also opened their seasons with three-hit games. Senior third baseman Thomas Bernal had two hits and drove in three.

The strong offensive showing came in support of UK starter Dustin Beggs (1-0), who allowed only one run on five hits in his debut with the Cats. The right-handed junior college transfer struck out five and did not walk a batter.

Zach Logue, Robert Zeigler and Logan Salow closed out the win from the UK bullpen, which was hurt by two errors that led to three unearned runs for the Cardinals. The trio did, however, combine to strike out six batters in 3.2 innings of work.

Ball State (0-1) got three hits from outfielder Elbert Devarie and two from outfielder Alex Call.

Plesac (0-1) allowed eight runs, four earned, on six hits and four walks in 3.2 innings for the Cardinals. He is the nephew of former MLB All-Star pitcher Dan Plesac.

Kentucky returns to action on Saturday, playing Richmond at 12 p.m. ET at Brooks Field. UK’s finale on Sunday at UNC Wilmington has been cancelled by the Seahawks due to the advanced weather forecast.

• Kentucky is 60-41-3 all-time in season openers, including 6-1 under Henderson.
• Beggs was the first UK pitcher to make his debut in the season opener since Taylor Rogers in 2010.
• Bernal made his first career start at third base.
• Tom has reached base safely in 49 of his 54 career starts at UK

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