LEXINGTON, Ky. - Sean Coughlin, Brian Spear, Matt McKinney, and Brock Wright homered, as the No. 17 Kentucky baseball team plated 17 unanswered runs to throttle the Cincinnati Bearcats 21-7, on Wednesday evening at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky improved to 13-0 on the season, just two wins shy of the best start in the 103-year history of the Kentucky baseball program, a mark held by the 2000 club which started its season 15-0. The Wildcats also improved its regular season home winning streak to 23 games, the longest such streak in all of college baseball.
The Wildcats utilized a nine-run fifth inning to climb out of an early 7-5 hole, racking up the most runs in a contest since hanging up 21 on Wright State in 2004. Kentucky has now plated 152 runs in just 13 games, after setting the school record by scoring 500 runs in 2006.
Kentucky broke a two-game losing streak at the hands of the Bearcats and avenged a 10-9 loss at Cliff Hagan in 2006. UK now leads the all-time series with UC, 59-20-2.
Leading the offensive onslaught for UK was the reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the Week, Coughlin. The senior backstop blasted a rocket home run, well over the right-field fence, in addition to driving in four runs and plating three times.
Kentucky senior reliever Dewayne Oxford notched the win to improve to 2-0 on the season after entering in the third inning and finishing out the contest. Oxford went seven innings, allowing four runs, while tossing a career-high 90 pitches.
Mike Brown finished with two doubles and three runs scored, and Coughlin and Wright each contributed two hits. McKinney and Spear tallied three hits each and Wright plated a career-high four times, in only the third start of his career.
Cincinnati (6-6) scored first with a three-run rally in the second. Two consecutive singles set the stage for Neall French to deliver a three-run home run and put UC up 3-0 early in the contest.
Kentucky got on the board for the first of many runs in the second, plating four. Spear led off with a hit by pitch, one of five Wildcat hit batters on the day. McKinney singled and Wright brought them all home with his own monster homer, his second of the season. Tyler Howe drew a walk and Mike Brown hit his first double of the contest to plate Howe and make it 4-3 UK.
UC followed that with a four-run frame in the third inning. Kentucky starter Andrew Albers gave way to Oxford and Michael Earley promptly tagged the sidewinder with a base hit. Josh Harrison singled and Szarmach plated Earley with a single. French hit his second home run of the day with a three-run homer to give UC a 7-4 lead.
After fighting windy conditions through the first few games of the season, Kentucky took advantage of a day that was perfect for the long ball, to the tune of a season-high four home runs. Coughlin's mammoth blast, his second of the season, came in the third inning with UK trailing 7-4.
Nine Wildcat runs were plated in the fifth, courtesy of four singles, a hit batter, two wild pitches, two stolen bases, a walk, an error, and two home runs. Spear hit a three-run shot and McKinney followed him with a solo blast, marking the first time this season UK has hit back-to-back homers.
The next inning, UK continued to pile runs on top of runs, pushing across four in the sixth on five free passes and a wild pitch. Wright led off the inning with a walk and Antone DeJesus was hit by a pitch. Mike Brown also drew a walk, one of nine UK free passes on the game, to load the bases. Sawyer Carroll walked in a run and Coughlin drove in one run, hitting into a fielder's choice. Brown scored on a wild pitch and Spear's single plated Coughlin to give UK a commanding 18-7 lead.
Three more Wildcat runs were scored in the seventh, leading off with a Wright hit by pitch. Pinch hitter Keenan Wiley singled and fellow pinch hitter Anthony Ottrando drove him Wright with an RBI single. Wiley came around to score after UC right fielder Cameron Satterwhite bobbled the ball. Mike Brown drew his second walk of the day and came around to score Kentucky's final run, on the fifth wild pitch of the game issued by the UC pitching staff.
Bearcat starter Michael Hill took the loss, throwing 4 1/3 innings and allowing eight runs.
Kentucky returns to action by hosting a three-game set with UT Martin, beginning with a Friday 4 p.m. ET matchup at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The weekend will be UK's final non-conference tune up before hosting Arkansas (March 16-18) to start SEC play.
Post Game Notes
* Kentucky improves to 13-0 on the season, just two wins shy of the record for the best start in school annals. The 2000 squad opened its season running off 15 consecutive wins.
* Kentucky has now won 23 consecutive regular season home games at Cliff Hagan Stadium, the longest such streak in the nation.
* UK broke a two-game losing streak at the hands of the Bearcats and avenged a 10-9 loss at Cliff Hagan in 2006. UK now leads the all-time series with UC, 59-20-2.
* Kentucky's 21-run outburst is the most runs scored since UK hung 21 on Wright State on March 7, 2004.
* The Wildcats have now plated 152 runs in just 13 games, after setting the school record with 500 runs scored during 2006. UK has outscored opponents 152-42.
* Kentucky has now drawn nine walks in three consecutive games. UK has been issued 88 walks on the season, including a season-high 12 vs. Tennessee Tech (2.23).
* UK's 16-hit performance ties a season high for the Wildcats. Kentucky ripped 16 hits in the Saturday Furman contest.
* Kentucky's four home runs are the most in a game this season. Brian Spear and Matt McKinney hit back-to-back home runs for the first time in 2007.
* Mike Brown is now batting an amazing 12-for-20 in the last six Kentucky games. Brown has scored 14 times during that span.
* Dewayne Oxford had a career day, tossing a career-best seven innings, while striking out a career-high four Bearcat batters. Oxford hurled also hurled a career high 90 pitches.
* Sean Coughlin hit his second home run of the season and the 19th of his two-year career. Coughlin finished with four RBI and has now driven in 14 runs in the last four Wildcat games.
* Brian Spear hit his second home run of the season, a line drive blast that bounced off the brand new Cliff Hagan Stadium videoboard. Spear set a new career-high with four RBI and tied a career-high by scoring three times and knocking in three hits.
* Brock Wright has now hit two home runs on the season after sending a high-arcing three-run shot over the right-field wall in the second inning. Wright scored a career-high four times.
* Outfielder Keenan Wiley has now appeared in all 13 games as a reserve.
* Mike Brown swiped one of Kentucky three stolen bases on the night to bring his total up to a team-high nine stolen bags. Kentucky has now stolen 27 bases in the first 13 games.
* Matt McKinney tied a career high with three hits.