In Harm’s Way: Trae Harmon Powers Kentucky to Midweek Win
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Trae Harmon produced a laser show, smacking line drives all over Kentucky Proud Park as the Kentucky baseball team defeated Western Kentucky, 6-5, on Tuesday. It was the seventh consecutive victory for the Wildcats over their neighbors from Bowling Green.
Harmon, a junior first baseman/designated hitter making his first start of the season, went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI, delivering a go-ahead double in the sixth inning and the game-winning RBI single in the seventh after WKU had tied the game. Even Harmon’s two outs were loud – a self-defense catch of a line drive back at him by the pitcher and a deep drive to the gap that was run down by the centerfielder.
The Cats (8-2) didn’t make it easy on themselves but showed winning resolve, rallying from several deficits before taking the lead for good in the seventh. Senior right-hander Daniel Harper earned the win after extricating the team from a jam in the top half of the inning before giving way to freshman righty Austin Strickland (two strikeouts) in the eight. Senior right-hander Sean Harney came on in the ninth and worked around a leadoff double on a flare to left field, striking out two to pick up his fourth save of the season.
UK also got productive efforts from sophomore outfielder John Rhodes, whose first inning RBI double opened the scoring and extended his hitting streak to nine games, a new career-long, and junior utility man Austin Schultz, who drove in a pair of runs. Freshman infielder Reuben Church had two hits, giving him base knocks in each of his first nine collegiate games.
Bottom 1st – Oraj Anu reached on a fielder’s choice and scored from first on John Rhodes’ double to LF. UK 1, WKU 0.
Top 4th – Sims singled to LF and Gray singled to RF. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Sims scored on a groundout by Constantine. Gray advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw and scored on a wild pitch. WKU 2, UK 1.
Bottom 5th – Alonzo Rubalcaba singled. Kirk Liebert pinch ran for Rubalcaba and advanced to second on Ryan Ritter’s SAC bunt. Austin Schultz doubled to RCF, scoring Liebert. UK 2, WKU 2.
Bottom 6th – Reuben Church singled to third and advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt. Trae Harmon doubled to LCF, scoring Church. Liebert singled through the right side, scoring Harmon. Ritter singled through the left side, Liebert to third. Liebert scored on a fielder’s choice. UK 5, WKU 2.
Top 7th – Wilson reached on an infield single, Meyer singled to LF and Zuberer III walked to load the bases. Sims singled to LF to drive in a run. Meyer scored on a passed ball, Zuberer III and Sims advanced. Constantine hit SAC fly to RF, scoring Zuberer III. UK 5, WKU 5.
Bottom 7th – Rhodes singled to LF, advanced to second on a groundout and scored on Harmon’s two-out single up the middle. UK 6, WKU 5.
- UK now has won seven straight games vs. Western Kentucky.
- UK is 82-28 vs. non-conference opponents under head coach Nick Mingione.
- The Cats are 71-10 vs. non-Power Five conference opponents.
- The Cats are 63-11 in non-conference home games.
- The UK pitching staff has 24 consecutive games with seven or more strikeouts, including 20 with 10 or more.
- The UK pitching staff has struck out 111 batters and walked just 21 this season.
- The staff entered the game leading the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio.
- Junior 1B/DH Trae Harmon went 2-for-4 with a run, two RBI and a double.
- Junior IF/OF Austin Schultz went 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
- Schultz has reached base safely in 65 of 70 career games.
- Freshman IF Reuben Church went 2-for-4 with a run and a double.
- Church has a hit in all nine games of his career.
- Church has a team-leading six doubles this season.
- Church has six multi-hit games.
- Sophomore OF John Rhodes went 2-for-3 with a run, an RBI, a walk.
- Rhodes now has a career-long nine-game hitting streak.
- Rhodes has five doubles on the season.
- Freshman RHP Ryan Hagenow pitched 3.2 IP, allowing two hits, two runs (one earned), two walks and two hit by pitch. Hagenow struck out a career-high six.
- Senior RHP Sean Harney struck out a pair in the ninth to earn his fourth save.
- For the season he has struck out 12 and allowed just two hits in 6.0 innings.
The Cats return to Kentucky Proud Park on Friday to open a weekend series vs. Georgia State. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. ET. The game will be aired on SECN+. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network.