Cats sweep Tigers in baseball doubleheader

LEXINGTON, Ky. - After an exciting comeback win over Auburn 6-5 in extra innings in the opener, senior southpaw Chris Rusin threw a complete game six-hitter, striking out nine as the Cats completed the sweep over the Tigers, 6-3.

In game one today, Freshman Braden Kapteyn's bases loaded, walk-off single with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning scored Chris Bisson from third and capped a wild, 6-5 comeback win for Kentucky over Auburn in the first game of a doubleheader, on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky (25-23, 10-15 Southeastern Conference) entered the bottom of the 10th inning trailing 5-4 with Auburn ace closer Austin Hubbard on the mound. After Auburn scored a run in the top of the ninth to even the game at 4-4 and force extra-innings, the Tigers plated one run in the top of the 10th inning to take a one-run lead. The Tigers were on the verge of doing more damage in the top of the 10th, but a UK hidden-ball trick got the final out of the inning at third base, keeping Kentucky within striking distance.

Trailing by a run entering the final frame, freshman third baseman Andy Burns worked a full-count walk to lead-off the inning. Bisson came to the plate with Burns at first and belted a two-strike offering to the opposite field for a single. With runners at first and second, first baseman Gunner Glad bluffed a bunt in a textbook sacrifice bunt situation. With the Auburn infield collapsing on the plate, Glad pulled back on the bunt and lined a single into left field, scoring Burns with the game-tying run. After shortstop Chris Wade laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position, Kapteyn came to the plate. Katpeyn, a freshman from Lansing, Ill., had just pitched the final 1.2 innings of the game and was on the hook for the first loss in his collegiate career. With a 1-0 count, Kapteyn turned on a fastball and sent it screaming down the left-field line, just out of reach of Auburn's diving third baseman, scoring Bisson for the walk-off win.

Holding a 4-3 lead entering the top of the ninth inning, UK sent starter James Paxton out to start the frame and Brian Fletcher worked a full-count lead-off walk to chase Paxton from the game. UK brought in Logan Darnell, who got Ben Jones to strike out swinging. Darnell then hit Tony Caldwell and Casey McElroy singled to load the bags. With the bases loaded and one out, Wes Gilmer hit a ground ball right at Glad at first base, but instead of getting the force out at home plate and keeping the UK lead intact, Glad attempted to step on first and throw home, but his throw was not in time to get Fletcher.

Auburn (27-23, 8-16 SEC) took the lead in the top of the 10th inning, as Justin Hargett led off the inning with a perfectly-placed bunt single. After Kapteyn hit Trent Mummey, Fletcher moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. With the go-ahead run at third in the form of Hargett, Jones lofted a sacrifice fly to the wall in left, scoring Hargett without a throw. With Hargett at third base after moving up on the fly out, Burns fielded the throw in from the outfield, walking it back to Kapteyn on the mound, but Kapteyn never took the ball from Burns, who went back to third base and applied the tag on Hargett to escape the inning.

Paxton, a 6-foot-4 junior southpaw, twirled a gem, notching his seventh 10 or more strikeout game of the year, fanning 12 Auburn hitters in eight innings. Paxton allowed four hits and four runs, issuing three walks. Darnell got one out and allowed a hit and posted one strikeout. Kapteyn (4-0) notched the win, going the final 1.2 innings, striking out one and allowing one hit and one run.

The extra-inning game was the fourth played by the Wildcats and the first at Cliff Hagan Stadium this season, improving to 3-1 in extra frames with the win.

Game two highlights to follow.

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