SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The No. 8 Kentucky baseball team battled persistent drizzle and a slow start to sweep a doubleheader at USC Upstate on Saturday, moving to 3-0 on opening weekend of the 2018 season.
The Wildcats erased an early 5-0 deficit in the first game, fighting back to claim a 6-5 victory in 10 innings against the host Spartans at Harley Park. There were no such heroics necessary in the nightcap of the twin bill as junior right-hander Justin Lewis dazzled in his season debut, giving up just two hits, no runs and striking out a career-high nine in six innings of work.
In the opener a pair of two-strike, two-out, two-run singles allowed Upstate to push across five runs in a third inning that also saw the Cats walk four batters. Relievers Brad Schaenzer and Jimmy Ramsey - making his collegiate debut - did not yield a run over the next 5.2 innings as UK methodically closed the gap.
The Cats drew even with a pair of runs in the eighth inning before scoring the winning run in the 10th when Luke Becker hit a leadoff double and came home on Kole Cottam's two-out single back up the middle. Chris Machamer earned the win with two quick innings of work.
In the late game, UK jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before blowing the game open with a four-run sixth. Becker and T.J. Collett added no-doubt home runs in the eighth to add the icing on top of a long day of baseball.