Lexington native Devin Hairston has a history of making big plays against the team he grew up watching.
Hairston, who previously committed to the University of Kentucky, made the game-ending out Tuesday night against UK, tagging Zach Reks who was attempting to steal second base.
Last April, Hairston hit a walk-off single against Kentucky. Hairston’s brother Dorian was a senior on that Kentucky team.
As a Kentucky Mr. Baseball winner, Hairston is familiar with the importance of the bluegrass rivalry. He attended high school at Tates Creek in Lexington.
“I try to say it doesn’t, but it does mean a little bit more,” Hairston said. “You try and come out with the same focus and same energy every single game, but watching that team growing up, it feels good to beat them.”
The All-American shortstop Hairston has never lost to Kentucky. His record stands at 5-0 against UK. The University of Louisville baseball team has now won six in a row against UK and 13 straight games against in-state competition.
U of L coach Dan McDonnell says that the rivalry game means more to players from Lexington, but he says Devin Hairston plays at a high level every game, not just the Kentucky games.
“They grew up watching UK, whether they went to football games or basketball games or whatever, it’s a popular university in that part of the state.” McDonnell said. “But I’m seeing Devin do that against Virginia, I’m seeing him do that against everybody, so I see him all the time. For those people that don’t get to see him, he’s a superstar.”
Hairston went 3-for-4 with one run and two RBIs against Kentucky. His two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the second inning gave the Cardinals a 4-0 lead. Hairston says the team needed to get off to a strong start against Kentucky.
“Our motto is, ‘start the game out strong,’ and that’s what we did today.” Hairston said. “We put up five runs in the first three innings and we weren’t able to produce any offense later on in the game, but it just turns out that those five runs early on were the runs that separated us for the win.”
Kentucky rallied in the ninth inning, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the five run deficit as Louisville defeated Kentucky 5-3.
Over the last two years against UK Hairston is 8-for-13 with five runs scored and three RBIs. He is batting .333 on the season and leads the team in RBIs (32) and is tied for first on the team in hits (38) with Drew Ellis.
The second-ranked University of Louisville baseball team will be back in action Friday when they start a three game series against No. 17 Wake Forrest at Jim Patterson Stadium.