Kentucky rolls past Appalachian State 21-4

Photo: UK Athletics
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) -- Kentucky delivered an early knockout punch with a 10-run third inning on the way to a resounding 21-4 victory over Appalachian State on a sun-kissed Saturday afternoon at Kentucky Proud Park. The 21 runs were the most by the Wildcats in nearly six years, dating to a 26-run outburst in March 2014.

Trae Harmon continued his best Babe Ruth impersonation, pulverizing a 419-foot shot for his third home run of the season and second in as many days. He also doubled, scored a career-high four runs and tied his career-high with three RBI while reaching base all four times he came to the plate. The sophomore also made his first collegiate start in the field, and first-ever start in left field on any level of baseball.

Not to be outdone, senior Elliott Curtis capped the Cats’ wild 10-run inning with a three-run home run just inside the right field pole on his way to setting new career-highs in runs (four) and RBI (three) and tying a career-best with three hits. Senior Jaren Shelby added a two-run home run as part of a career-high four-RBI effort.

The Cats (3-3) took the drama out of things by putting a 10-spot on the scoreboard for the first time since the 2007 season when they also scored 10 runs against UT Martin on March 10 in a 27-0 rout. In the inning they drew four walks, three hit by pitch (including two by Matt Golda) and a balk as part of the rally. Golda later was hit by a third pitch.

Junior left-hander Mason Hazelwood earned his first victory of the season and three freshmen – Zack Lee, Will Gambino and Ron Cole – allowed just one hit and struck out seven over the final five innings to close things out.

SCORING

Top 2nd – Andrew Greckel was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Phillip Cole’s double inside the 3B bag. APP. STATE 1, UK 0.

Bottom 2nd – Trae Harmon walked and scored on Jaren Shelby’s home run to LF. UK 2, APP. STATE 1.

Top 3rd – Luke Allison reached on an error, stole second and advanced to third on Luke Drumheller’s ground ball. Allison scored on a balk, Drumheller to second. Kendall McGowan homered to LF, scoring Drumheller. APP. STATE 4, UK 2.

Bottom 3rd – Matt Golda was hit by a pitch and stole second. Elliott Curtis walked. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Oraj Anu beat out an infield single, scoring Golda and moving Curtis to third. Curtis scored on T.J. Collett’s groundout. Austin Schultz walked and Trae Harmon was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Coltyn Kessler walked, forcing in Anu. Shelby walked, forcing in Schultz. Harmon scored on a balk, Kessler and Shelby advanced. John Rhodes doubled down the LF line, scoring Kessler and Shelby. Golda was hit by a pitch for second time in the inning. Curtis homered to RF, scoring Rhodes and Golda. UK 12, APP. STATE 4.

Bottom 4th – Harmon doubled to RF and scored on Kessler’s double to LF. UK 13, APP. STATE 4.

Bottom 5th – Curtis, Anu and Collett all singled. Schultz hit a SAC fly to CF, scoring Curtis. Harmon homered to LCF, scoring Anu and Collett. UK 17, APP. STATE 4.

Bottom 7th – Curtis singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, to third on a groundout and scored on Breydon Daniel’s single to CF. Zeke Lewis reached on a fielder’s choice, Daniel safe at second on an error. Cam Hill hit by a pitch to load the bases. Tanner Holen hit by a pitch, scoring Daniel. Shelby hit into a fielder’s choice, Lewis scored. Chase Estep singled, scoring Hill. UK 21, APP. STATE 4.

NOTES

Kentucky set a new school-record by scoring in its 125th consecutive game and 201 of the past 202 dating to the 2016 season. The lone shutout came in a seven-inning game. It is the fourth-longest active streak in the country.

The Cats now have won 25 straight games against non-Power Five opponents, the longest streak in the SEC.

The Cats scored 10 runs in the third inning, the first time they have done that since March 10, 2007 vs. UT Martin (10 runs in the fourth inning). UK won that game 27-0.

The 21 runs are the most since scoring 26 on March 9, 2014 vs. Ball State.

Sophomore INF Austin Schultz has reached base safely in 46 of the past 48 games and 19 consecutive contests.
He has eight RBI in three games this week.

Sophomore 1B/OF Trae Harmon went 2-for-2 with four runs scored, three RBI, a double, a home run, a walk and HBP.

Harmon has homered in each of the first two games of the series.
He has three homers on the season.
The four runs set a new career-high and three RBI tied his previous high.
Four of his five hits on the season have gone for extra bases.

Senior INF/OF Elliott Curtis went 3-for-5 with four runs scored, three RBI, a home run and a walk.
Curtis hit his first home run of the season.
He set new career-highs in both runs and RBI.

Senior OF Jaren Shelby homered and set a new career-high with four RBI.

Freshman INF Chase Estep made his collegiate debut, drawing a four-pitch walk in his first plate appearance.
He delivered an RBI single in first official at bat, both collegiate firsts.

ON DECK

The series against Appalachian State concludes at Kentucky Proud Park on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 1 p.m. ET. The game will be aired on SECN+. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network.