UK Athletics/Chet White

Kentucky Wildcats rally from early deficit to beat Cincinnati Bearcats

Cats ride strong hitting, big inning to win over UC.

Kentucky scored seven runs in the fifth inning Tuesday to overcome an early four-run deficit against Cincinnati and post a 13-7 win at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

The No. 16 Wildcats (19-7, 5-1 SEC) improved to 13-1 at home with a big series looming against No. 22 Vanderbilt this weekend in Lexington.

Ryan Noda's second home run of the game had given the Bearcats a 6-3 lead in the third inning, but UK began the comeback with a home run by Luke Becker in its half of the inning. 

The decisive fifth inning saw UK's Tristan Pompey and Troy Squires draw bases-loaded walks to tie the game at 6. Connor Heady was hit by a pitch to give the Cats the lead, followed by an RBI grounder by Marcus Carson to make it 8-6. A single by Evan White plated Squires and Heady, and White later came around to score on a rundown throw to second after Zach Reks had singled into the right-centerfield gap. 

From there, the UK bullpen locked down the Bearcats until the ninth inning. Brad Schaenzer, who entered in relief of starter Zack Thompson, worked 4.1 innings and allowed only one run on two hits and a walk. He improved to 4-0 on the season. 

Colton Cleary, who transferred to UK from UC during the summer, struck out three of the five batters he faced to help hold the lead. 

The Cats added a couple of insurance runs in a sloppy eighth inning that featured a hit batsman, two wild pitches, a balk, and a throwing error by UC. 

Carson led UK with a 3-for-5 day at the plate. Becker and Heady each had two hits. Pompey drove in three runs. 

Kentucky avenged a 2-1 extra-inning loss at Cincinnati on March 8. The Cats chased starter A.J. Olasz, who had shut them down in the first matchup, after giving up three runs on three hits and walk in only 1.1 innings on the mound.

A.J. Kullman (3-3) took the loss for Bearcats, who dropped to 12-12 on the season. 

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