LEXINGTON - Lexington natives Michael Bertram and John Shelby had three hits a piece to lead an offensive surge for Kentucky as the Wildcats cruised to a 10-4 victory over Northern Kentucky on Tuesday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
With the win, the Wildcats improved to 19-16 overall. The win also extended a streak of alternating wins and losses to 10 games. The Norse fell to 21-17 on the year. The game was added to the schedule just this past weekend as a replacement for games Kentucky has had cancelled due to weather.
"It's a situation where we need to play to make up for the games we've lost," Kentucky coach John Cohen said. "Because everybody plays so many games, it's not always easy to find a Division I opponent. We were fortunate to have Northern Kentucky come in with a quality program that won their conference last year."
Kentucky wasted no time getting on the board as each of the team's first three batters reached and came around to score. J.B. Schmidt opened with a single and Shaun Lehmann walked. Shelby brought both home with a double and eventually scored on Collin Cowgill's sacrifice fly.
The Wildcats added single runs in the second and third to break out to a 5-0 lead. Lehmann doubled and scored on a wild pitch in the second while Bertram walked and came home on Jesse Barber's RBI single in the third.
Keith Jackson got Northern Kentucky on the board with a solo home run to left-centerfield with two outs in the fourth. The shot was the first hit allowed in the game by Wildcat starter Matt Robinson, who had faced the minimum to that point.
Bertram's solo shot to center in the fifth pushed the Kentucky back to five before the Norse rallied in the sixth with three runs. Again it was Jackson with the big blow, a two-run triple. He scored later on a sac fly to make it 6-4.
Robinson worked a season high 5 1/3 innings and was responsible for all four runs, which four hits. He earned his first career win. Tommy Warner, Brock Baber and Greg Dombrowski - all freshmen - came on to hurl the 3 2/3 scorless innings to close the game out. The trio allowed only one hit.
In the seventh, Ryan Wilkes and J.B. Schmidt put the game away with a back-to-back two-RBI hits after Kentucky loaded the bases with nobody out. Both hits came off reliever Mark Bogenschutz, who relieved Adam Bell after 2 1/3 innings. Bell took the loss, his first of the season.
The Wildcats open a four-game road-trip on Wednesday when they travel to Cincinnati for a 6:30 p.m. game with the Bearcats at the UC Baseball Stadium. The trip continues with a three-game series at Southeastern Conference foe Mississippi State, which begins Friday.
Kentucky Coasts Past Northern Kentucky, 10-4
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