Sawyer Carroll blasts UK past EMU, 4-3

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Needing a win over a hot Eastern Michigan club to keep its season alive, senior right fielder Sawyer Carroll went 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBI to lead the 24th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats to a 4-3 win over EMU on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at the Wilpon Complex.

Carroll hit his 18th homer of the year and his second in three at bats, launching his 17th home run in a loss to No. 13 Michigan earlier in the morning. On the year, Carroll has totaled a school-record 81 RBI and 96 hits, a hit total good for second in school annals, just six shy of Jeff Abbott's 1994 record of 102. Carroll, a first-team All-American, extended his hit streak to a club-best 14 games.

The Wildcats (43-18) take sole possession of the second-best season in school history, one win shy of the 44 wins posted in 2006. Making just its sixth NCAA Tournament appearance, UK has only claimed three wins in the past 20 years in tournament play, posting two wins in the 2006 Lexington Regional. UK lost in the regional championship game in 2006 to the College of Charleston, going 2-2 with wins over Notre Dame and Ball State.

Kentucky awaits the outcome of the 7 p.m. ET game with Arizona and Michigan, facing off with the loser at 2 p.m. ET at Wilpon Complex.

Chris McClendon joined Carroll in the multi-hit column, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, playing excellent defense that third base, despite battling a back injury. McClendon extended his hit streak to 12 games. Ryan Wilkes, Collin Cowgill and Marcus Nidiffer each finished with a hit. Brian Spear added an RBI with a sac fl

UK's all-time career record holder for winning percentage, Greg Dombrowski (6-1_, picked up the win, going five innings, allowing six hits and three runs, just one earned. Senior lefty Andrew Albers relieved Dombrowski, going four innings with three hits and two strikeouts. Albers picked up his fifth save of the year and the 13th of his career, good for second place all-time in UK history, two shy of Lorhn Frazier (1990-93) school record.

EMU right-hander Matt Shoemaker (5-4) took the loss, going 7.1 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs, three earned, striking out four and walking one.

"Matt (Shoemaker) did a great job for us and got better as the game went on," EMU head coach Jake Boss said. "We didn't help him out in the first and third innings and it came back to haunt us."

EMU got on the board in the first inning, as Kyle Rhoad led off with a single up the middle on the first pitch. Moving from second during the play, Rhoad advanced to scoring position on a groundout. Steve Bradshaw followed with a single into centerfield, hitting the ball off the handle of the bat for a bloop single.

Kentucky answered immediately, as Keenan Wiley led off reaching on an error, charged to the EMU shortstop. After stealing second, Wiley scored on Carroll's 18th home run of the season, bringing his school-record RBI total to a staggering 81. In a span of three at bats in the two games on Saturday, Carroll hit two homers, both opposite-field jacks.

EMU took a lead with two runs on three hits in the third. Michael Boyd led off with a single, a hard hit grounder that McClendon leaped to field at third base. McClendon did not have a play at first and Boyd moved up to second on a ground out. Aaron Powell reached on an infield single and Steve Bradshaw notched an RBI single, scoring Boyd. Jeff Davis lofted a sac fly into center, scoring Powell.

Kentucky regained the lead in the bottom half of the third, getting a one-out walk from Carroll and a single into left from Cowgill. McClendon scored Carroll with a single through the left side and Spear hung a sac fly into left field to score Cowgill.

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