LEXINGTON, Ky. - Freshman catcher Greg Fettes reached base safely in all four trips to the plate and collected a pair of hits, leading No. 8 Kentucky to an 8-2 midweek win over Marshall, on Wednesday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (19-5) rallied from a 2-0 hole after three innings, plating eight unanswered runs over the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth innings for an 8-2 win. UK collected its eight runs on eight hits and eight walks, also getting plunked by a pitch and stealing two bags.
Fettes and shortstop Matt Reida each led the club with two hits, with Fettes reaching base safely in all four trips, including two walks, a single and a double. The native of Madison Heights, Mich., is now hitting .571 (8-for-14) with three doubles, three RBI and a .611 on-base percentage through his first seven collegiate games.
UK’s dynamic defensive shortstop, Reida, went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a pair of runs scored. UK also got hits from Austin Cousino, Kyle Barrett, Zac Zellers and Thomas Bernal, with Bernal driving in a run and Zellers recording a pair of RBI. J.T. Riddle and Max Kuhn each drew two walks
Kentucky starter Chandler Shepherd worked three innings, allowing four singles and two runs, walking two and striking out two. Freshman Kyle Cody (2-1) took over in the fourth inning and worked two shutout frames, allowing a single and striking out one. Freshman lefty Dylan Dwyer worked a shutout sixth inning – extending his streak of scoreless innings to open his career to seven frames. Freshman Ryne Combs worked the seventh, allowing two hits and a walk, striking out one without allowing a run. Freshman Zach Strecker tossed the eighth without any hits or baserunners and senior Walter Wijas got the final three outs of the game.
Marshall (10-13) starter Alex Thackston worked 3.2 innings, allowing two hits, two runs and four walks, striking out one. Thackston did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, before a pair of two-out knocks ended his start and brought on Matt Margaritonda (0-4). Margaritonda worked two innings, allowing four hits and five runs, walking two. The Herd also used Sam Hunter, Matt Hummel and Zachary Shockley in relief.
UK will return to action in hosting Georgia for a three-game series, starting on Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. All three games will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with Dick Gabriel voicing the action.
Marshall got on the board in the top of the first inning, as Andrew Dundon led off with a single blooped into right-centerfield. After a slow roller moved Dundon to second base with two outs, Gray Stafford lofted a bloop single into shallow leftfield to score the first run of the game.
The Herd added to their lead in the top of the third inning as Ballou was walked on five pitches to leadoff the inning. Dundon and Ballou then executed a perfect hit and run, with Dundon chopping a slow roller through the right side with Riddle covering second on the steal. Nathan Gomez then grounded out up the middle to score Ballou and make it 2-0 Marshall.
UK rallied to tie the game in the fourth inning, as Kuhn drew a full-count leadoff walk, after falling in a 0-2 hole to start the at bat. After a fly out and a Barrett groundout moved Kuhn to second base, Bernal smashed a two-out single up the middle to score Kuhn with UK’s first run. Bernal then stole second on the first pitch of the at bat to Reida, with Reida then scoring Bernal with a single into centerfield.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Wildcats rallied with two runs on two hits to take a 4-2 lead. Fettes led off with a single into right-centerfield, taking third when Cousino lined a double down the rightfield line. With Zellers at the plate, Fettes came home on a wild pitch, allowing Cousino to motor to third base with no outs. Zellers then lofted a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Cousino and make it 4-2 UK.
UK added three runs in the sixth, taking a 7-2 lead. Barrett singled to left-centerfield with one out, stealing second base. After Bernal drew a walk and Barrett took third on a wild pitch, Reida came to the plate. Barrett came around to score on a wild pitch on a bunt attempt from Reida, but the play was ruled a ball and moved Barrett back to third base with one out. Reida then laid down a bunt single to score Barrett with a head-first slide at the plate. Fettes and Cousino then drew walks to load the bases for Zellers, who singled off the diving glove of Stafford to score Reida. With A.J. Reed up and the bases still loaded, Fettes scored on a wild pitch for a 7-2 score.
In the eighth, UK added an insurance run for an 8-2 lead. Reida was hit by a full-count pitch with one out, scoring after Fettes smashed a double off the wall in leftfield, with Reida motoring home after the ball was bobbled in the corner for an error.