LEXINGTON – Senior J.B. Schmidt's two-out, two-run single in the fourth inning proved to be the difference as Kentucky downed Marshall in a pitchers duel on Wednesday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats improve to 21-19 with the victory while the Thundering Herd drops to 13-22. Kentucky returns to action on Friday at 6:30 p.m. when it begins a three-game series with No. 11 Arkansas.
Schmidt's single was one of just four hits for Kentucky during the game. It plated J.P. Lowen and Billy Grace, who drew back-to-back walks to lead off the inning. The Wildcats first run also reached via base on balls. In the third, Ryan Wilkes worked a walk and stole second before coming home on Shaun Lehmann's single to left.
The three runs were more than enough for the Kentucky pitching staff. Freshman Alex Jordan started and worked five innings to earn the win and improve to 2-3. He gave up one run on four hits while walking one and striking out three.
The run Jordan allowed gave Marshall a 1-0 lead after the top of the third. Adam Ptacek reached on a one-out double to the gap in right-center and scored on Aaron Levinson's ground out one at bat later.
"Alex came in and threw the ball in the strike zone and if we can do that, we feel like we'll be successful," Cohen said. "Our defense is playing a lot better behind our pitchers, so we just want them to throw it in the zone and let the defense make plays. Alex did a great job of that tonight."
After that, the Thundering Herd managed to put a baserunner on in every inning but the ninth. However, Kentucky pitched its way out of trouble each time, forcing Marshall into an 0-for-17 performance with runners on.
Freshman Greg Dombrowski came on in relief of Jordan and worked two scoreless innings before giving way to junior Craig Snipp, who struck out two while allowing one hit in the eighth.
Kentucky used a third freshman pitcher, Scott Green, to close the game. Green hurled a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his third save of the year. The outing was his first since blowing a save for the first time this past Sunday at Mississippi State.
"Scott is too much of a talent not to use in that situation," Cohen said. "We are going to keep putting him out there. He's going to be a great one."
Marshall starter Brian Knippelmeyer took the loss after giving up 3 runs in 3 1/3 innings. The bullpen came on to throw 4 2/3 scoreless innings and retired the final 11 Kentucky batters in order.
Kentucky improves to 21-19
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