Kentucky Pitches, Homers Way to Series Finale Victory

Kentucky Pitches, Homers Way to Series Finale Victory

by UK Athletics Communications and PR

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky clubbed three home runs and watched ace Zack Thompson do what he does best on the mound to split Sunday’s doubleheader with No. 5 Arkansas at Kentucky Proud Park and claim a fourth win over a Top 10 opponent this season.
The Wildcats saw Coltyn Kessler and Ryan Shinn hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning of game two to take a lead it would not relinquish while holding off the high-powered Razorbacks, 4-3. Sophomore right-hander Carson Coleman induced a game-ending double play grounder to save Thompson’s victory and keep the Cats right in the thick of a three-way race for a berth in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Thompson, who struck out 11 in 6.1 innings while allowing three runs, moved into sixth on the career strikeout list with 251 and his 113 this season are just two shy of fifth all-time and the most for a left-hander, set by James Paxton in 2009.
UK (23-24, 6-18) have played 30 games against the RPI Top 30, the most in the country but now have four wins against Top 10 teams and two against top five foes, which also includes a win over then-No. 4 Georgia. The win was also the 100th of Coach Nick Mingione’s career, making him the fastest UK coach to reach that mark. 
The Cats host No. 19 Indiana on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network before traveling to South Carolina for a three-game series beginning Friday night in Columbia.
Bottom 4th – Elliott Curtis singled to RF and advanced to third on Austin Schultz’s single to RF. Coltyn Kessler grounded out, scoring Curtis. UK 1, Arkansas 0.
Top 6th – Matt Goodheart singled to LCF and scored on Dominic Fletcher’s home run to RCF. Heston Kjerstad and Jacob Nesbit walked. Casey Opitz singled through the right side, scoring Kjerstad and moving Nesbit to third. Christian Franklin walked to load the bases. Nesbit scored on a wild pitch. Trevor Ezell singled to CF, scoring Opitz and Franklin. Arkansas 6, UK 1.
Top 7th – Jack Kenley walked and Nesbit reached on an error. Franklin homered to CF, scoring Kenley and Nesbit. Arkansas 9, UK 1.
Bottom 2nd – Coltyn Kessler homered to RF. Ryan Shinn homered to LCF. UK 2, Arkansas 0.
Top 3rd – Christian Franklin walked to open the inning and stole second on a pickoff attempt. Matt Goodheart singled to 1B, scoring Franklin. UK 2, Arkansas 1.
Bottom 4th – Elliott Curtis homered to RF. Shinn singled to RF and scored on T.J. Collett’s double to LCF. UK 4, Arkansas 1.
 Top 5th – Casey Opitz walked to open the inning and scored on Trevor Ezell’s double to RCF. UK 4, Arkansas 2.
Top 7th – Ezell doubled to LF and Casey Martin walked. Goodheart singled to CF, scoring Ezell and moving Martin to third. UK 4, Arkansas 3.

  • Kentucky has scored in 111 consecutive games and 187 of the past 188 dating to the 2016 season. The lone shutout came in a seven-inning game. The current streak is the second-longest in school history.
  • This was the 100th victory of Coach Nick Mingione’s career. He has the most wins of any UK coach in their first three seasons.
  • The back-to-back home runs by Coltyn Kessler and Ryan Shinn in game two is the first time the Cats have done that against an SEC opponent since May 19, 2018 at Vanderbilt (Kole Cottam and Luke Becker).
  • Kentucky has four wins over Top 10 opponents this season and two over top five foes.


  • Junior LHP Zack Thompson pitched 6.1 innings, allowing five hits, three runs, six walks and striking out 11.

    • The 11 strikeouts give him 251 for his career, moving him into sixth on UK’s career list. He stands two behind Alex Meyer (2009-11) for fifth.
      • It’s the fifth time in his career he’s reached double-digit strikeouts in a game.
      • He now has 113 strikeouts on the season, moving him into a tie for sixth with Brian Reed (1994) on the single-season list. He is one shy of tying James Paxton’s 2009 total of 115, which is the most for a left-hander in a single-season.


  • Freshman INF Austin Schultz has reached base safely in 34 of the past 36 games.
  • Senior OF Ryan Shinn hit his 13th home run of the season and 29th extra-base hit.
    • He has 16 multi-hit games this season and 19 for his career.
  • Sophomore C/INF Coltyn Kessler hit his fourth home run of the season.
  • Junior INF Elliott Curtis hit his second home run of the season.
  • Sophomore RHP Carson Coleman picked up his fourth save of the season.

The Cats host No. 19 Indiana on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network before traveling to South Carolina for a three-game series beginning Friday night in Columbia. The games will air of the radio on the UK Sports Network.

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