Feel the Burn: Kentucky Homers Way Past No. 20 Auburn
HOOVER, AL – Oraj Anu hit a ninth inning, tie-breaking home run and Adam Fogel followed with his own blast to make Kentucky a winner in Sean Harney’s brilliant start on the mound as the Wildcats became the first 12-seed in Southeastern Conference Tournament history to win a game, knocking off No. 20 Auburn 3-1 at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium on Wednesday.
The Cats (31-24) now will face LSU on Thursday.
Anu blasted a 428-foot shot to center field in the cavernous Hoover Met after SEC co-Player of the Year Sonny DiChiara tied the game at one with a solo shot of his own an inning before. Fogel then deposited a shot into the parking lot to provide the final score.
“This is a guy, this is his last year of college baseball, so this is it for him,” UK coach Nick Mingione said of Anu. “He and a bunch of our other guys, they just want to keep playing. I heard in the dugout multiple times, we’re not done yet, we want to keep playing.
The same could be said for Harney, who was untouchable until exiting in the eighth after hitting his head on the dugout ceiling the inning before. He turned in seven scoreless innings and now has given up just one earned run in 11.1 career innings in the SEC Tournament.
“I wanted the ball,” Harney said. “I was ready for it. So just gave it my all.”
- UK has scored in 296 of 301 games under Coach Nick Mingione.
- Mingione now has 174 all-time wins at UK; one behind mentor John Cohen for third on UK list.
- The UK pitchers have struck out 556 in 55 games.
- UK is 23-37 in 23 appearances in the SEC Tournament.
- UK is 2-4 in the SEC Tournament under Mingione and 6-7 overall in the postseason.
Junior RHP Sean Harney pitched 7.0 innings, allowing no runs on four hits with five strikeouts.
- In two career appearances at the SEC Tournament he has given up one earned run in 11.1 innings.
- Junior RHP Tyler Guilfoil scoreless innings to pick up the win.
- Junior IF Chase Estep reached base safely in 51 of the 55 games this season.
Senior OF Oraj Anu has a hit in 11 of 13 games since returning returning to the starting lineup on April 26.
- He hit the game-winning homer.
- Senior OF Hunter Jump went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
- Junior IF Ryan Ritter extended his reached base safely streak to 16 with an RBI single.
- Redshirt Freshman C Devin Burkes has reached safely in 10 straight games.
Kentucky will face LSU on Thursday in the SEC Tournament. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network.