Xavier Rallies Twice, But Falls Short To 17-Ranked Kentucky, 9-6
March 26, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. - No. 17 Kentucky got the best of Xavier in a back-and-forth affair on the diamond, winning, 9-6, in Lexington, Ky., on Wednesday evening. The loss is the fourth in a row for the Musketeers, who now hold a 12-11 record. Meanwhile, the Wildcats ran their record to 18-7.
Xavier starter Trent Astle had a hiccup out of the gate against the nation's top run-scoring offense. The Wildcats scored three runs in the first inning on RBI hits from Max Kuhn, Michael Thomas and Dorian Hairston.
Astle worked a spotless second and third, but Kentucky put up another three-spot in the home half of the fourth inning. Zach Arnold, Matt Reida and Austin Cousino drove in runs for the Wildcats, extending their lead to 6-3.
Again, Xavier answered in its next at-bat. Joe Forney led off with a double and Derek Hasenbeck joined him on the base pads with a walk. It appeared as though Xavier would get on the board when Vinny Nittoli drove a ball to right center, but Cousino made a diving catch to save a run. Jake Forrester sent a single through the left side to score Forney and cut XU's deficit to a pair, 6-4.
The Musketeers evened the score in the top of the sixth with two more runs. Stephen Schoettmer singled, David Morton reached on an error and Daniel Rizzie walked to load the bases. Forney connected on an infield single to plate the first run and the second scored on Nittoli's fielder's choice groundout.
Astle settled down again and worked through the fifth before getting into a jam in the sixth. UK put runners on second and third with one out, but Astle struck out Cousino and appeared to be out of trouble. However, a Musketeer error allowed the Wildcats to plate three more runs and grab a 9-6 advantage.
Neither team put a base runner on board the rest of the game and Spencer Jack converted his first save of the season for the Wildcats.
Seven Musketeers registered hits in the game, led by two each from Forney and Forrester. Both Musketeers scored once and drove in a run in the contest. Also collecting hits for XU were Rizzie, Hasenbeck, Bruening, Jernigan and Schoettmer.
Astle (1-2) suffered the loss after giving up nine runs, only six of which were earned, in 5.2 innings of work. Sean Campbell pitched the final 2.1 innings for the Musketeers without allowing a Wildcat to reach base. Campbell struck out on batter.
Kentucky was led by Kuhn, who drove in one run and scored twice. Seven pitchers took the mound for UK in the game and Kyle Cody picked up the victory to improve to 3-0 on the season.
Xavier will head to Louisville, Ky., for two games against Louisville and one versus Butler. XU will bookend games against Louisville on Friday and Sunday around a Saturday afternoon meeting with Butler.