'Cats Sweep Buffalo; Move to 6-1

LEXINGTON – Kentucky jumped out to a 7-1 lead and held on late for an 11-9 win to complete a three-game sweep of Buffalo on Sunday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

The Wildcats got their second quality start from a pitcher this weekend as junior Kalen Gibson (Slaughters, Ky./Webster County HS) worked six innings and allowed three runs on four hits. Gibson improved to 1-0 on the year while Kentucky won its fifth straight to move to 6-1. Buffalo dropped to 0-3.

"Kalen came out and gave us a solid outing today," said head coach John Cohen. "He wasn't overpowering, but he battled and did what he had to do. It's the type of performance that we will expect from him week in and week out."

The bottom third of the order did most of the damage offensively for the Wildcats. JP Lowen (Marietta, Ga./Chipola JC) and Justin Scutchfield (Ft. Wayne, Ind./Homestead), batting eighth and ninth respectively, combined to go 4-for-6 with four RBI and five runs scored.

In the fourth, Scutchfield launched a two-run home run that followed a Lowen single to give Kentucky a 4-1 lead. An inning later, the two belted back-to-back RBI doubles to extend the lead to 7-1. The duo also scored in the seventh.

The Wildcats lit up both starter Sean McWilliams and reliever Chris McGraw through the first six innings. McWilliams, who took the loss, worked four innings and allowed four runs on four hits. McGraw came on in the fifth and was tagged for five runs in two innings.

It was the second straight game and fourth in the past five that Kentucky has hit double-figures in runs. However, the Wildcats are also stranding an average of 11 runners per game in that stretch.

"We have done a pretty good job of putting runs on the board," Cohen said. "But I still feel that our offense has yet to scratch the surface of what we can do. We're doing a great job of getting runners on, which is usually the hard part. We've just had a little trouble getting them home in some instances."

Kentucky got on the board first with a pair of runs in the third inning. Lexington natives Collin Cowgill (Lexington, Ky./Henry Clay HS) and Michael Bertram (Lexington, Ky./Lafayette HS) led off with a walk and a double. They were plated by back-to-back sacrifice flies by Billy Grace and John Shelby.

A lead off single in the fourth by David Amaro turned into the first run for Buffalo. Amaro went to third on Andy Wengert's double and scored on a sac fly.

The Bulls took advantage of an error in the sixth to get to Gibson for two more runs and cut the lead to 7-3. James Kingsley reached on a fielding error by Shelby at shortstop before Amaro doubled. Both players came home on ground outs as Kentucky conceded the runs.

Adam Revelette (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Catholic) relieved Gibson in the seventh and worked two innings. He gave up one unearned run on one hit and turned the lead over to Aaron Tennyson (Milan, Mich./Milan HS) in the ninth.

A leadoff error by Russ Wilkes (Harrison, Tenn./Chattanooga Central), who replaced Shelby at shortstop, was the beginning of a ninth-inning rally for the Bulls. Three singles and a grand slam later, Buffalo had cut the lead to 11-9. Dan Quinn doubled with two outs to bring the tying run to the plate but Tennyson got Tony Tasner to ground out to end the game.

Kentucky takes Monday off before welcoming East Tennessee State to Lexington on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The Wildcats and Bucs are scheduled to play Wednesday at 4 p.m. as well.

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