LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Freshman right-hander Kyle Cody worked into the sixth inning and eight of nine starters collected hits to lead No. 13 Kentucky to a 6-3 win over Austin Peay, on a picture-perfect Tuesday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (23-9) rode a strong outing from Cody and a nine-hit offensive attack to the 6-3 win. UK got two runs in the fourth, a run in the fifth and a three-spot in the sixth inning, fending off an eighth-inning Austin Peay rally. UK’s three-run win comes against a Governors team that had set the program record for the best start to a season.
UK starter Kyle Cody (3-1) worked 5.1 innings, allowing four hits and one run, walking two and striking out four. Sophomore Chandler Shepherd took over in a 1-out, 2-on jam in the sixth, allowing a run to score on a groundout and escaping the jam. Shepherd worked 1.2 innings, getting into the eighth, allowing a pair of leadoff hits that came around to score on the UK bullpen. Walter Wijas got three outs in the eighth after replacing Shepherd.
Junior Trevor Gott took over to start the ninth with UK holding a three-run lead. The right-hander picked up his eighth save of the year and the school-record 19th of his career, striking out the side in the ninth. With eight saves in 2013, Gott sits just one save shy of equaling his own school single-season record for saves, set in 2012.
UK was led offensively by a 2-for-5 game from Barrett, who had a two-run triple. Eight of UK’s nine starters got hits, with freshman Zack Storm recording his first career hit in a 2-for-4 game. Zac Zellers, A.J. Reed, Max Kuhn, J.T. Riddle, Micheal Thomas and Matt Reida each added hits, with Zellers stealing a base.
Austin Peay (25-8) starter Zach Hall (3-2) worked five innings, allowing five hits and three runs – two earned – walking three and striking out four. Austin Peay used Tommy Hager, Kacy Kemmer, Alex Belew and Tyler Rogers in relief. Rogers is the brother of former UK star Taylor Rogers and the AP school-record holder in saves.
Kentucky will return to action on Friday, beginning a three-game series with Tennessee at Cliff Hagan Stadium, starting at 6:30 p.m. ET. The games will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the games live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
Following three and a half scoreless innings of play, Kentucky notched two runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the first lead of the evening. Reed led off the inning with a hard single on the ground through the right side and with one out Riddle walked to move Reed into scoring position. With two outs, Reida singled into leftfield, enabling Reed to trot home from second and give UK a 1-0 lead. With Riddle on second and Reida on first, Storm put the ball in play with a swinging-bunt single allowing Riddle to score from second and increase the Wildcats’ lead to 2-0.
Zellers opened the bottom of the fifth with a one-out single past the third basemen down the leftfield line and eventually stole second to move into scoring pitch. A wild pitch allowed Zellers to move over to third. After a strike out, Kuhn walked to give Kentucky runners on first and third with two outs. As a designed play, Kuhn took off for second and Zellers took advantage of the throw to second attempting to nab Kuhn and went towards home. Kuhn was eventually tagged out but after Zellers had crossed the plate, giving UK a 3-0 lead through five.
Austin Peay answered in the top of the sixth with a run of its own, lessening the Kentucky lead to 3-1. Kevin Corey led off the inning with a single down the rightfield line and Dylan Riner walked to give the Governors two runners on base. A sacrifice bunt put both runners in scoring position and forced Kentucky to make a change on the mound, bringing in Shepherd to replace Cody. Shepherd forced a ground out from the first batter he faced but the grounder allowed Corey to score from third. Shepherd struck the following batter out to end the inning and get the Wildcats out of the jam leading 3-1.
Kentucky responded with three runs in the bottom of the sixth as Thomas opened the rally with a one-out single into leftfield. A Reida walk put two on for Kentucky and forced Austin Peay to make a change on the mound. Storm knocked a solid groundball to the shortstop and an error gave Thomas the opportunity to come around from second and score. With two on still one out following the error, Barrett tripled down the rightfield line to clear the bases and give Kentucky an additional two runs. Kentucky led 6-1 through six.
The Governors weren’t ready to lay down, plating two runs in the top of the eighth to decrease the Wildcats’ lead to 6-3. P.J. Torres led off the inning with a double into right-centerfield and advanced to third on a single from Corey. With runners on first and third, a balk would bring home Torres from third and move Corey to second. Corey would eventually score on consecutive ground outs.