UK Baseball wins home opener, 6-3

With the game deadlocked at 3-3 in the seventh inning, Collin Cowgill dug into the batter's box with a full count and launched a two-run homer that helped lead Kentucky past Evansville 6-3 in the Batcat's home opener at Cliff Hagan Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

The win improved Kentucky's overall record to 6-1 on the year, and Tuesday's game was the first of a school record 16-game home stand.

Wildcat starter Greg Dombrowski got into trouble early in the contest. In the top of the first inning Jeff Fontaine blasted a three-run bomb over the left field fence to put the Aces on top 3-0.

But Dombrowski settled down and cruised through the next six innings, retiring 18 of the remaining 22 batters he faced before handing the ball to Wildcat reliever Brock Baber.

With Dombrowski finding his groove on the mound, Kentucky's offense was able to battle back. With one out and the bases loaded, first baseman Ryan Strieby crushed a 1-2 pitch from Evansville starter Kai Tuomi. The ball bounced off of the top of the wall in left-center, scoring all three runners on base and allowing Strieby to cost into third.

"I did actually think it was gone at first," Strieby said, "but then I saw it pop up into the air."

The triple was the first of Strieby's career.

Center fielder Antone DeJesus singled and stole second to lead off the seventh inning. With no outs, Cowgill attempted to sacrifice the runner to third, but failed to get the bunt down. Facing a 3-2 count, Cowgill made up for his failed bunt attempts when he hit his third home run of the young season, putting Kentucky out front 5-2.

"It was a 3-2 count so I was looking for something to hit to right-center to move Antone over. The pitch was up," Cowgill said. "It was disappointing not to get the bunt down, but I guess it worked out better in the end."

Cowgill would add another RBI single to his already impressive early season stat sheet in the eighth inning.

"I was really pleased with the way we swung the bat," said Head Coach John Cohen. "We only had 10 hits, but we could have had 20."

Cowgill has gotten a hit in every game this season, and has recorded at least one RBI in each of the last six games. He is batting .429 and has now hit three home runs on the season, which is more than he hit all of last year.

Baber shut out the aces in the final two innings to pick up his seventh save as a Wildcat. The save moved him into a tie for seventh most in school history.

Dombrowski improved his record to 2-0 on the year with his second quality start of the season. He has logged 14 innings of work without walking a single batter, and has posted a slim 1.93 ERA.

After the game, Coach Cohen spoke of his starter's performance.

"Dombrowski is very, very sound. He has a sick 2-seamer. He really only threw one bad pitch today."

Kentucky's home stand continues tomorrow afternoon against the Cincinnati Bearcats. The game is scheduled for 2:40 p.m.

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