Blackjack! Kentucky Puts Up 21 Runs to Sweep Southern Illinois
CARBONDALE, Illinois – Twenty-one, can you do something for me?
Kentucky roared through its 10th consecutive victory with a 21-3 beatdown of Southern Illinois at Itchy Jones Stadium on Sunday, completing a series sweep in the process. The Wildcats (14-2) plated their most runs in a game since scoring 20 at Xavier in 2018 and the most runs in a single inning – 14 in the fifth – during the Nick Mingione era.
First baseman Hunter Gilliam continued his torrid week with three more hits – including two doubles – and a career-high five RBI. He finished the week with 13 hits overall, five doubles, a triple and 11 RBI. He was boosted by infielder Emilien Pitre reaching base all five trips to the plate during a 3-for-3 day with a pair of doubles and four runs scored. Devin Burkes and Ryan Waldschmidt each homered and Jackson Gray scored four times.
- UK Coach Nick Mingione is in his seventh season at the helm and now owns a 190-131 career record.
- Kentucky is 123-38 in non-conference games under Coach Mingione.
- UK is 109-16 vs. non-Power Five opponents.
- UK is 76-33 in the month of March under Coach Mingione.
- UK pitchers have struck out 157 through 16 games.
- UK has held its opponents to three runs or fewer in 12 of 16 games.
- UK has scored in 315 of 321 games under Coach Mingione.
- The 21 runs were the most scored since 21 vs. Appalachian State in 2020.
- UK scored 14 runs in the fifth inning, the most in an inning in the Mingione era.
- The previous record was 11 vs. Western Michigan in 2022.
- In the three-game series UK drew 26 base on balls and eight hit by pitch.
- First baseman Hunter Gilliam has started 129 consecutive games at the collegiate level.
- He has reached safely in all 16 games this season and owns a 10-game hit streak.
- He has a team-high eight multi-RBI games and seven multi-hit games.
- He had 13 hits for the week.
- He was 13-for-21 (.619) with four runs, five doubles, a triple, 11 RBI, two walks and an HBP for the week. He had 20 total bases, .952 slugging percentage and 1.592 OPS.
- On Sunday, he was 3-for-5 with a career-high five RBI, two doubles and a run scored.
- Infielder Grant Smith has started all 132 games of his collegiate career.
- Infielder/Outfielder Jase Felker has reached base safely in 15 consecutive games.
- He went 1-for-2 with two runs, three RBI, a walk, a SAC fly and a SAC bunt.
- Catcher Devin Burkes was 2-for-4 with two runs, four RBI, and a home run.
- It was his team-best third home run of the season, a three-run shot.
- Burkes also threw out both SIU baserunners who attempted to steal bases.
- Outfielder Ryan Waldschmidt hit his first home run at UK, a two-run shot.
- Infielder Emilien Pitre has reached base safely in 14 consecutive games.
- He went 3-for-3 with four runs, two RBI, a walk, an HBP and two doubles.
- He reached safely in all five plate appearances.
- Outfielder Jackson Gray scored four runs and drove in two.
- He reached base safely in nine of 11 at bats in one stretch.
- Pitcher Zack Lee, pitching two hours from his hometown with a local youth league making the trip to see him, earned his third win with 4.0 innings.
Kentucky hosts Indiana on Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. ET at Kentucky Proud Park. The game will be streamed on SECNN+. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network.