Perfection Isn't Always Easy

The Cats battled back from an early 3-0 deficit to beat the Tennessee-Martin 6-4 on Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium on Friday in the first game of a weekend series. The win improved UK's overall record to 14-0 this season, just one win shy of tying for the best start in the program's 103-year history.

But to head coach John Cohen, the fact that the Cats won was about the only positive from Friday's game.

"This is as poorly as we've played this year," Cohen said. "We made some critical mistakes."

The afternoon was decorated with missed bunts, pickoffs and errors. UK starter Chris Rusin walked three batters in the second inning, which allowed the Skyhawks to score three runs and take an early lead.

"We were very fortunate tonight," Cohen said, "but there is going to come a time when that is going to really cost us. We have got to get better at those little things, and we have, for 13 games been pretty good about that, but I consider us very fortunate to be able to hold on today."

Senior catcher Sean Coughlin went 4-for-5 at the plate and drove in three runs for the Cats. Coughlin's RBI single tied the game 3-3 in the second and sixth inning.

Again in the sixth, Coughlin found himself at the plate with the opportunity to give his club the lead. With the game tied 4-4, Coughlin hit a two-RBI double that gave UK the 6-4 lead that would hold as the final score.

After spending time watching film and tweaking his swing, Coughlin has now driven in seven RBIs in his last five games. The slugger is typically regarded as a player who likes to pull the ball to right field, sprayed a couple of hits to left on Friday.

"I've been working really hard," Coughlin said. "When we had a day off yesterday I came in and hit for a couple of hours just working on my swing, just working on staying inside and going with the pitch. I found the left side a couple of times today. Opposing pitchers are pitching me really well and I am just going with the pitches."

Left fielder Mike Brown went 3-for-4 from the leadoff spot. In his last seven games, Brown is 16-for-24 for a .667 batting average.

Brown said his improved pitch selection has had the biggest impact on his recent success at the plate.

"I feel like I am seeing the ball well," Brown said. "I'm not swinging at bad pitches which helps out a lot. I might have been doing that earlier in the year, chasing balls up in the strike zone. Now I'm letting those go and am swinging at strikes."

The Skyhawks threatened to rally with a big sixth inning. After UK reliever Tommy Warner loaded the bases with no outs, Brock Baber took the mound for to try and limit the damage. Baber responded and forced the next two batters to ground into a double play fly out, getting the Cats out of the inning and holding Tennessee-Martin to just one run.

"It's a pressure situation and every pitcher has to face them one time or another," Baber said. "I just came in, threw strikes and got a ground ball, and that is what we wanted."

Baber went the distance from there, tossing the final four complete innings while allowing just two hits and no runs.

UK has had to come from behind in nine of its 14 wins thus far this season.

Antone DeJesus, who usually bats at the top of the order for the Cats, batted in the ninth spot Friday. DeJesus, who is hitting .267 through 13 games this season, had previously started 46 consecutive games in the leadoff spot for UK.

The Cats will continue their series against Tennessee-Martin on Saturday. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.


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