LEXINGTON, Ky. - There will be Monday baseball at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Top-seeded Kentucky forced another game in the Lexington Regional final with its 8-6 win over No. 3 seed NC State in front of 3,261 fans on a clear Sunday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium. It was the second do-or-die win of the day for the Wildcats, who again will face the Wolfpack on Monday night in a winner-take-all game to advance to the Super Regional in Louisville next week.
Monday's game is set for 7 p.m. with NC State as the designated home team on the basis of having been the home team in fewer games during the regional.
The Cats (42-21) gave up two early runs in the second inning, but responded quickly in the bottom of the third when Connor Heady and Tristan Pompey crossed the plate on a one-out double from Zach Reks and a sacrifice fly from Kole Cottam. The Wolfpack tacked on another run in the top of the fourth inning, but Marcus Carson knotted the game back up in the bottom half of the inning with his second home run of the day.
Cottam barely missed another home run when he tripled off the top edge of the wall in right-centerfield. The sophomore catcher ended up scoring anyway when Riley Mahan singled, giving Mahan his 11th RBI in four regional games and the Wildcats their first lead of the game.
From there, the UK's offense stayed steady and scored at least one run in each inning from the second through sixth. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Cats were still able to push across four runs with three hits and three walks. Pompey and Reks finished with three hits each, while Reks and Mahan drove in four runs combined.
Brad Schaenzer started on the mound for UK, providing four innings of work before Chris Machamer entered. The freshman right-hander from North Canton, Ohio, settled in, struck out the side in the sixth inning, and nabbed four strikeouts. Logan Salow took to the mound with one out in the seventh inning, and it was over from there as the senior retired all eight Wolfpack batters that he faced paired with four strikeouts, earning his team-record tying 12th save of the season.
SCORING Top 2nd - Will Wilson laid down a bunt for a single and Brett Kinneman walked. Andy Cosgrove doubled to LCF, scoring Wilson and Kinneman. NC State 2, UK 0.
Bot 3rd - Connor Heady and Tristan Pompey both singled to RF. Zach Reks singled, scoring Heady, and advanced to second base on a fielding error by the left fielder. Kole Cottam placed a SAC fly in CF, scoring Pompey from third base. UK 2, NC State 2.
Top 4th - Kinneman singled and Brock Deatherage tripled to LCF. NC State 3, UK 2.
Bot 4th - Marcus Carson homered to RCF. UK 3, NC State 3.
Bot 5th - Cottam tripled to RCF. Riley Mahan singled to RF, scoring Cottam. UK 4, NC State 3.
Bot 6th - Pompey doubled and Evan White walked. Reks singled up the middle, scoring Pompey and moving White to third base. Cottam walked to load the bases, and Mahan walked, bringing White across the plate. Luke Becker singled down the third-base line, which scored Reks, and Cottam scored on a wild pitch. UK 8, NC State 3.
Top 7th - Stephen Pitarra walked, Josh McLain hit into a fielder's choice, and Joe Dunand homered to left-center field. UK 8, NC State 6.
ON DECK Kentucky will face NC State at 7 p.m. on Monday in a winner-take-all game to advance to the Super Regional in Louisville. The game can be heard on 630 AM and UKathletics.com. TV is to be determined.