LEXINGTON, Ky. – Cam Hill hit a game-winning two-run home run and Zack Thompson pitched the most efficient game of his career as Kentucky dispatched of Middle Tennessee, 4-1, in the Friday opener of a three-game series at Kentucky Proud Park.
Thompson, a projected top 20 Major League Baseball draft pick this summer, was dominant in seven innings, tying the longest outing of his career. The sophomore left-hander allowed just four hits, one run, struck out nine and did not walk a batter for this first time in 24 career starts. He retired the final nine batters he faced after the Cats took the lead.
Hill, a sophomore outfielder, erased a 1-0 deficit when he lined a two-out home run into the visiting bullpen in right field. It was the first blast of his career and was part of a two-hit day that also included his fifth steal of the season.
Junior infielder/outfielder Breydon Daniel also went deep an inning later in virtually the same spot as Hill, and junior infielder Zeke Lewis executed a perfect suicide squeeze bunt in the sixth inning to score Coltyn Kessler from third for the Cats’ fourth run of the game. Kessler, who had two hits, extended his career-long hit streak to seven games and now has reached base safely in eight straight games since missing the Texas Tech series due to illness.
Sophomore right-hander Jimmy Ramsey came on and pitched a perfect ninth inning to pick up his first career save.
Top 2nd – Brycen Thomas doubled to CF, moved to third on a SAC bunt and scored on a SAC fly by Myles Christian. MTSU 1, UK 0.
Bottom 4th – Coltyn Kessler walked and scored on Cam Hill’s home run to RF. UK 2, MTSU 1.
Bottom 5th – Breydon Daniel homered to RF. UK 3, MTSU 1.
Bottom 6th – Kessler singled to RF and advanced to third on Hill’s single to LF. Hill stole second. Zeke Lewis laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt for a hit, scoring Kessler. UK 4, MTSU 1.
· Kentucky has scored in 77 consecutive games and 153 of the past 154 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 36-5 in non-conference home games under coach Nick Mingione.
· The Cats are 73-4 under Mingione when leading after seven innings.
· The Cats stole three bases and now have 38 on the season. They entered the game fourth in the nation in that category.
· Junior LHP Zack Thompson pitched 7.0 innings, giving up four hits and one run, while striking out nine and walking none.
o The seven innings pitched tied his career-high set against Indiana on June 4, 2018 in an elimination game in the NCAA Lexington Regional.
o It was the first time in 24 career starts he did not walk a batter.
o He threw 86 pitches, 64 for strikes.
o He retired the final nine batters he faced and did not allow a baserunner after the Cats took the lead.
o Thompson now has 37 strikeouts in 22.2 innings pitched this season.
o He also owns a 5.3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the season.
· Sophomore RHP Jimmy Ramsey pitched a perfect ninth inning to record his first career save.
· Sophomore OF Cam Hill went 2-for-3 with a run, a steal and two-run home run.
o It was the first home run of Hill’s career.
o It was his third multi-hit game of the season and his career.
o It was his second multi-RBI game of the season and his career.
· Senior OF Ryan Shinn doubled in the first inning to extend his reached base safely streak to 12 games.
· Sophomore C/INF Coltyn Kessler singled in the second to extend his career-long hitting streak to seven games. He’s reached base safely in eight straight games.
o He has three multi-hit games on the season and four in his career.
The Cats and Blue Raiders pick up the series on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET at Kentucky Proud Park