Cats a win away from Super Regional

Published 3:43 pm Monday, June 5, 2023

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Kentucky is one win away from earning a ticket to the Super Regionals for the first time since 2017.

The Wildcats shut out West Virginia and then rolled to a 16-6 win over Indiana Sunday night to force a seventh and deciding game in the Lexington Regional. Kentucky (39-19) and Indiana (43-19) will meet for the regional title. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Kentucky needed to win its two games on Sunday after dropping a disappointing 5-3 loss to the Hoosiers on Saturday night, which dropped the host Wildcats into the elimination bracket. The Wildcats set a school record for most runs scored in an NCAA Tournament game, shattering the previous mark of 14 against Indiana six years ago at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky scored four times in the second inning and broke the game open with a seven-run outburst in the seventh inning.

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The Wildcats collected 14 hits against five Indiana pitchers, led by Hunter Gilliam, who had three hits and drove in a game-high five runs. Gilliam smacked a three-run home run in the seventh inning. Gilliam crossed the plate on McCarthy’s three-run shot in the second inning.

Kentucky pitchers Logan Martin, Evan Byers, Ryan Hagenow and Ryder Giles scattered 12 hits and struck out seven Indiana batters.

In the opener, the Wildcats collected nine hits and raced out to a 3-0 lead after the first two innings to set the tone for the rest of the contest. Kentucky crossed the plate three times in the eighth inning to put the game away.

Kentucky pitchers Austin Strickland, Magdiel Cotto and James McCoy combined for 10 strikeouts and limited the Mountaineers to just seven hots and didn’t allow an extra-base hit.

Reuben Church and Nolan McCarty sparked the Kentucky offense with two hits apiece. McCarty slapped a doubled and added a two-run home run. Jackson Gray and Jase Felker scored five runs for the Wildcats.

J.J. Wetherholt paced the Mountaineers with three hits.