Kentucky 11, Xavier 6: UK defensive changes in the seventh: Marcus Nidiffer (pinch-hitter) remained in the game as catcher; Gunner Glad moved from third base to first; Andy Burns took over at third, batting in the No. 7 slot where 1B Lance Ray had been. Nothing for Xavier in the top of the inning.
The Wildcats got a one-out single up the middle by Lance Ray. Marcus Nidiffer, pinch-hitting for Luke Maile, flied to center. Ray moved to second when Taylor Black was nicked by a pitch. Ray and Black scored on Chad Wright’s second double of the game, this one to the left-field corner. Wright came home on Chris Bisson’s third hit of the game, a sharp single to right-center. Bisson advanced on his second steal of the game and Braden Kapteyn walked. Xavier went to the bullpen, calling on 6-foot-5, 260-pound RH Zac Richard, who escaped further damage.
Kentucky 6, Xavier 5: In the fifth, Xavier greeted reliever Kyle Jackson with back-to-back singles up the middle by Bobby Freking and Phil Bauer. Freking was forced at third when Matt Kleifges tried to bunt the runners ahead. Ryan Bellamy singled to shallow left, which should have loaded the bases. When Chad Wright bobbled the ball in left, though, Bauer was able to score. Nick Kennedy came in to take over from Jackson on the mound. Kennedy caught Bellamy straying from first but Bellamy broke for second and 1B Lance Ray’s throw to second hit the runner in the back. Kennedy caught Seth Willoughby looking at a third strike, but walked John McCambridge to load the bases. Kennedy left the bases jammed, striking out Drew Schmidt.
Kentucky 6, Xavier 4 — With one out in the top of the fourth, Xavier’s John McCambridge reached on a bunt single, stole second and took third on a groundout. He scored on Neil Lindgren’s grounder, which 2B Chris Bisson muffed for his second error of the game.
The tie didn’t last long. Lance Ray led off the bottom of the inning with an infield single. One out later, Taylor Black crushed his first homer of the season, far over the left-field wall, to make it 6-4. Xavier starter Brian Muransky struck out Chad Wright, then gave way to RH Josh Deeg.
To open the fifth, UK called to the bullpen for RH Kyle Jackson.
Kentucky 4, Xavier 3 — RH Jordan Cooper took over UK pitching chores from Sam Kidd to open the third inning. Cooper walked leadoff man Ben Thomas. Bobby Freking singled up the middle, Thomas taking second. Phil Bauer bunted the runners to second and third. Both scored on Matt Kleifges’ single down the right-field line. Kleifges tried to stretch the hit to a double, but was gunned down, RF Cory Farris to SS Taylor Black.
Kentucky came back in the bottom of the inning with Cory Farris’ one-out, two-run homer to right. Chris Bisson, who led off the inning with his second hit of the game, also scored.
This just in from Richmond …
Eastern Kentucky has defeated Miami (Ohio) 7-3 at Turkey Hughes Field. Both teams are 8-10 after the Colonels snapped a four-game losing streak. LH Greg Terry (2-1) worked six innings to get the win. Jayson Langfels, Richie Allen and Jacob Daniel each had two hits for EKU. Anthony Ottrando and Michael Garcia each drove in two runs.
Back to the Wildcats and Musketeers …
Kentucky 2, Xavier 1 — In the top of the second, back-to-back errors by SS Taylor Black and Chris Bisson to start the inning and a two-out hit batsman loaded the bases for Neil Lindgren. RH Sam Kidd caught Lindgren looking at strike three.
Keenan Wiley led off the UK second with a double to right-center, then took third on a wild pitch. Lance Ray walked. After Luke Maile took a called third strike, Taylor Black put down a sacrifice bunt to score Wiley.
Xavier 1, Kentucky 1 – Xavier scratched out a run in the top of the first. John McCambridge led off with a high-hop single that pitcher Sam Kidd couldn’t field cleanly. A groundout moved McCambridge to second. He scored on Neil Lindgren’s looping single down the right-field line.
UK countered in the bottom of the inning. Chad Wright led off with a double to the gap in left-center, then took third on Chris Bisson’s bloop single down the left-field line. Braden Kapteyn’s line-drive single to right scored Wright.
Kentucky (15-5) is taking on Xavier (4-14) at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
XAVIER — John McCambridge CF; Drew Schmidt 2B; Neil Lindgren C; Ben Thomas DH; Bobby Freking 1B; Phil Bauer SS; Matt Kleifges LF; Ryan Bellamy RF; Seth Willoughby 3B. Pitching — RH Brian Muransky (0-4, 10.66).
KENTUCKY –Chad Wright LF; Chris Bisson 2B; Braden Kapteyn DH; Cory Farris RF; Gunner Glad 3B; Keenan Wiley CF; Lance Ray 1B; Luke Maile C; Taylor Black SS. Pitching — RH Sam Kidd (1-1, 6.91).
Umpires — Keith Schartzer HP; Scott Kennedy 1B; Bob Howard 3B.