LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Junior first baseman William Campbell accounted for a two-run, game-tying home run in the fourth inning and drove in the go-ahead RBI in the sixth, to lead No. 29 Kentucky to its school-record 29th consecutive home non-conference win, edging the Indiana Hoosiers 8-7, on Wednesday evening at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (11-2) has now won nine consecutive games after posting the win over the Hoosiers, who entered the preseason as the Baseball America pick to win the Big Ten. UK got clutch hitting and pitching from its newcomers, as Campbell finished 1-for-2 with a career-high three RBI and two runs scored. Freshman third baseman Andy Burns added a 2-for-4 day, tallying two RBI, bringing his season average up to .359. Freshman Braden Kapteyn closed the door on IU with a hitless ninth inning – picking up his second save of the year – adding a 2-for-5, one RBI performance at the dish, extending his team-best hit streak to eight games.
Burns, a native of Fort Collins, Colo., continued his hot start to the season with a 2-for-4 night including two RBI. The infielder was the next batter up in the sixth after Campbell was hit by a pitch and delivered a big two RBI single through the left side. Burns would later come home to score on sophomore Chris Bisson’s (pronounced: BEES-own) double into right center field, which extended Bisson’s hit steak to eight games.
Kentucky returns to action with its first Southeastern Conference series of the season, a three-game set at No. 4 LSU. First pitch Friday is slated for 8 p.m. ET at the new Alex Box Stadium. Fans can catch the action live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the games live on WLAP 630-AM. UK will utilize the starting rotation of James Paxton (3-0, 3.63 ERA) Friday and Chris Rusin (2-1, 3.63 ERA) Saturday, with Sunday’s starter to be determined.
The Wildcats used six pitchers in the game, starting with sophomore Mike Kaczmarek, who got his first starting assignment of the season. The Orlando Park, Ill., native, lasted 2.2 innings, giving up two runs, none of which were earned. The lefty struck out four batters, while walking none and lowering his ERA to 3.86. He was replaced on the mound in the third inning by junior Tyler Henry, who went 2.1 frames for the Wildcats allowing two earned runs on four hits striking out one batter. In the ninth, UK Head Coach Gary Henderson turned to Kapteyn – a 6-foot-4 right-hander, to close the game. Kapteyn, who started at designated hitter, got a first pitch ground out to start the inning and made quick work of the next two Hoosier batters securing Kentucky’s win.
The Hoosiers got on the board first in the second inning on a RBI single through the left side of the infield by Chris Hervey. With one out in the inning, Tyler Rogers singled down the right field line advancing to second when Kaczmarek threw the ball away on a pick-off attempt to first. Rogers advanced to third when Cody Webber grounded out to Campbell at first and later scored on Hervey’s single.
Indiana (5-7) scored on an error in the third inning when Jerrud Sabourin scored on an error by Chris Wade. With one out, the Hoosiers received back-to-back singles by Sabourin and All-American catcher Josh Phegley. After a fly out to deep left center field by Alex Dickerson, Kipp Schutz grounded a ball to short that got a bad hop and popped up and hit Wade in the chest, scoring a run and booting Kaczmarek from the game. Junior Tyler Henry came in and got the next batter to strike out and end the inning.
The Wildcats bats came alive in the third inning when Kapteyn got an RBI single to right field that scored two runs. With Bisson on first and two outs, Johnson got hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second for Kapteyn. The infielder hit a rope single to right center field easily scoring Bisson, and after the right fielder misplayed the ball, the speedy Johnson was waved in by third base coach Brad Bohannon, scoring before the ball could get there. It was Kapteyn’s seventh RBI on the season, tying the game at 2-2 going into the third inning.
Kentucky took a lead in the fourth inning on the first career homer by Campbell. Chad Wright started the inning for Kentucky when he reached on a high chopper back to the pitcher, who couldn’t field the ball. Two outs later, with Campbell facing a hitter’s count of 3-1, the junior hit an opposite-field shot between the deck and the monster in right field. Burns was the next Kentucky batter and sent a high fly ball all the way to the right field warning track before finally being caught, ending the inning with Kentucky up 4-2.
In the next half inning, the Hoosiers tied the game getting RBI from Dickerson and Schutz. The inning started on a single up the middle by Evan Crawford who later advanced to third on a single by Phegley. Dickerson was the next batter and he sent a hard hit single up the middle that plated Crawford and moved Phegley to third. Then Schutz sent a deep sacrifice fly to left field scoring Phegley and tying the game at four. After Henderson came out to talk to Henry, the junior righty got out of the inning getting Webber to ground out to short.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Wildcats grabbed a lead with an RBI from Campbell, Burns and Bisson. The inning started when Nidiffer walked and then Chad Wright reached first on a bunt single. Both runners moved into scoring position when Wade laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt. Frazier then walked loading the bases for Campbell who picked up his third RBI of the game when he was hit by a pitch. Indiana then changed pitchers turning to the righty Joey O’Gara, who gave up a two-run single to Burns and then a RBI double to Bisson giving Kentucky an 8-4 lead.
Indiana loaded the bases in the eighth inning when Darnell gave up a lead-off double, then walked a guy and gave up a single into center. With no outs and the bases loaded, pinch hitter Wes Wilson grounded into a double play, scoring a run. After Darnell hit Crawford to put runners on the corners, Sabourin hit an infield single through the left side to cut the Kentucky lead to two. With runners on first and second and Indiana’s All-American Phegley up to the plate, Henderson went to submarine reliever Nick Kennedy. On a full count, Phegley hit a lazy pop up down the left field line that found a hole in front of left fielder Troy Frazier, scoring Crawford. The next batter sent a hard hit ball right back at Kennedy who knocked the ball down, composed himself and threw a strike to first to get out of the inning with Kentucky still up one, setting the stage for Kapteyn to shut the door in the ninth.