Late Heroics Power Kentucky to Postseason
Jake Plastiak looped a two-run, go-ahead single in the sixth inning and Mason Hazelwood delivered a terrific start before giving way to Tyler Guilfoil as Kentucky clinched its Southeastern Conference Tournament bid with a 6-3 comeback victory in the regular season finale.
Pitching in his final home game, Hazelwood was excellent and retired the final 13 batters he faced before a lightning delay ended his day after five innings. He allowed just one run on two hits and struck out six, his only blemish a two-out RBI double in the first.
Kentucky (30-24, 12-18) now has won four series against top 20 opponents, tied for the most top 10 wins in the SEC and has five victories vs. the RPI top five.
The Wildcats trailed 1-0 entering the sixth when Daniel Harris IV opened the inning with a double before racing home from second on an errant pickoff throw. Ryan Ritter, Adam Fogel and Devin Burkes all drew walks to load the bases for Plastiak, who served a liner over the shortstop’s head to give the Cats a lead they’d never relinquish. John Thrasher and Hunter Jump each followed with RBI singles as the Cats took control.
UK has scored in 295 of 300 games under Coach Nick Mingione.
Mingione now has 173 all-time wins at UK; two behind mentor John Cohen for third on UK list.
The UK pitchers have struck out 548 in 54 games.
Senior LHP Mason Hazelwood pitched 5.0 innings, allowing one run on two hits with six strikeouts.
Junior RHP Tyler Guilfoil pitched 4.0 innings, with two runs allowed on three hits with five strikeouts.
He finished the regular season with 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
Junior IF Chase Estep reached base safely in 50 of the 54 games this season.
Senior OF Oraj Anu has a hit in 10 of 12 games since returning returning to the starting lineup on April 26.
He has nine multi-hit games this season and 27 in his career.
Senior OF John Thrasher went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI.
He stole his 13th base of the season and 82nd in his career.
He has 10 multi-hit games this season.
He has seven multi-RBI games this season.
Junior IF Ryan Ritter extended his reached base safely streak to 15.
Redshirt Freshman C Devin Burkes has reached safely in 9 straight games and has a hit in five.
Kentucky will head to Hoover for the first round of the SEC Tournament on Tuesday. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network.