LEXINGTON, Ky. – Ryan Shinn hit a two-run, walk-off home run to cap a doubleheader and series sweep as Kentucky once again produced late-game magic in its new Kentucky Proud Park. The blast was the first walk-off homer for the Wildcats since Dorian Hairston sent everyone home happy with a 12th inning shot on May 8, 2016.
Shinn launched a low pitch onto the concourse in left-centerfield, scoring freshman Austin Schultz, who had battled for a two-strike single to open the inning. The 5-4 victory gave UK its third weekend series sweep of the season and second doubleheader sweep in as many weekends. Shinn reached base safely in both games, extending his streak to 14 games.
The walk-off was the second for the Cats (11-4) in the first nine games at Kentucky Proud Park, both by a score of 5-4. The Cats previously scored four runs in the ninth to defeat Northern Kentucky, including Dalton Reed’s game-winning single up the middle.
Shinn’s shot ended a long day of 18 innings or baseball where the Cats’ pitching was terrific and the offense grinded through at bats to win both games in the final three innings. Junior right-hander Grant Macciocchi, making his first weekend start, threw 6.1 shutout innings and did not allow a hit until the seventh inning in improving to 2-0 on the season in the opener, while sophomore Jimmy Ramsey pitched three scoreless innings to earn the win in the nightcap.
Junior outfielder Jaren Shelby had multiple hits in both games and four total RBI, including a three-run double in the seventh inning that broke open the first game. Sophomore infielder/catcher Coltyn Kessler had a hit in each game to extend his career-long hit streak to nine games and has reached safely in 10 straight.
The Cats have home games against SIU-Edwardsville (Tuesday) and Western Kentucky (Wednesday) before traveling to Baton Rouge to open Southeastern Conference play next weekend.
GAME ONE SCORING
Bottom 7th – Breydon Daniel hit by pitch; Zeke Lewis advanced to second; Cam Hill advanced to third; Alex Rodriguez scored. Ryan Shinn flied out to RF; Zeke Lewis advanced to third; Cam Hill scored. Jaren Shelby doubled to LCF; Zeke Lewis, Breydon Daniel and T.J. Collett scored. Dalton Reed singled to RF, Jaren Shelby scored. UK 6, MTSU 0.
Bottom 8th – Zeke Lewis reached on an error at 2B, Cam Hill scored. UK 7, MTSU 0.
GAME TWO SCORING
Bottom 1st – Jaren Shelby doubled to LF, Breydon Daniel scored. UK 1, MTSU 0.
Top 2nd – Brycen Thomas homered to LCF. Blake Benefield homered to LF. MTSU 2, UK 1.
Bottom 3rd – T.J. Collett singled to LF, Austin Schultz scored. UK 2, MTSU 2.
Top 6th – Nick Carnevale singled to LF, Blake Benefield and J.T. Mabry scored. MTSU 4, UK 2.
Bottom 6th – Marshall Gei laid down a sacrifice bunt to 1B, Rook Ellington advanced to second; Jaren Shelby scored. MTSU 4, UK 3.
Bottom 6th – Ryan Shinn homered to LCF, Austin Schultz scored. UK 5, MTSU 4.
· Kentucky has scored in 79 consecutive games and 155 of the past 156 dating to the 2016 season. The lone shutout came in a seven-inning game. The current streak is the seventh-longest in school history.
· Kentucky is 38-5 in non-conference home games under coach Nick Mingione.
· The Cats are 74-4 under Mingione when leading after seven innings.
· The walk-off win was Kentucky’s second of the season and fourth in the Nick Mingione era.
o This was the first walk-off home run for the Cats since Dorian Hairston walked off No. 2 South Carolina in the bottom of the 12th on May 8, 2016.
o Each of the last three walk-off wins for the Cats have been by a score of 5-4.
· Junior RHP Grant Macciocchi pitched 6.1 shutout innings, giving up one hit, striking out seven and walking none.
o The 6.1 innings pitched and 74 pitches are career highs.
o The seven strikeouts are a career high.
o He did not give up a hit through the first six innings.
o It was his first career weekend start and second overall.
o In two starts, Macciocchi has given up just four hits and one run in 12.0 innings, walking one and striking out 13.
· Senior OF Ryan Shinn walked in the first inning of the first game and was hit by a pitch in the second game to extend his reached base safely streak to 14 games.
o His walk-off home run was the first of his career.
· Sophomore C/INF Coltyn Kessler singled in the fifth inning of the first game and doubled as a pinch hitter in the second game to extend his career-long hitting streak to nine games. He’s reached base safely in 10 straight games.
· Freshman INF Austin Schultz notched his first career multi-hit game in the nightcap.
· Junior OF Jaren Shelby had multiple hits in both games and drove in four total runs.
· Sophomore RHP Jimmy Ramsey picked up the win in the second game.
o He earned a win and a save in the three-game series.
The Cats continue their home stand on Tuesday afternoon when SIU-Edwardsville arrives for a 4 p.m. ET first pitch at Kentucky Proud Park. The game will be aired on SEC Network Plus. Audio coverage can be found via UKathletics.com.