HOUSTON - Luke Heyer hit a pair of home runs and the rest of the offense followed suit as No. 8 Kentucky routed No. 22 Houston, 14-2, in the opener of the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic at Minute Maid Park. The game was called after seven innings due to the event's mercy rule.
Heyer, who now leads the team with six home runs, belted a two-run shot into the Crawford Boxes in left field to get the Wildcats on the board against 2017 American Conference Pitcher of the Year and NCBWA First-Team All-American left-hander Trey Cumbie. Heyer later smoked a solo shot the opposite way for his first career two-homer game.
It wasn't just Heyer who found the home of the Houston Astros to his liking. Junior outfielder Ryan Johnson, whose hometown of College Station is just down the road, connected for a double and home run, his third consecutive game with a round-tripper. Junior outfielder Ben Aklinski drilled a bases loaded double in the Cats' five-run second as part of his four-RBI night and junior first baseman Kole Cottam cleared the high wall in left-centerfield for his 100th career hit.
On the mound, junior Sean Hjelle completed six innings, giving up six hits, two runs (one earned) and earning his 18th career win, moving him into 11th place on UK's career list. Through three starts the 6-foot-11 righty has a 0.92 earned run average.
The Cats (9-1) have a quick turnaround, facing Sam Houston State at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Bearkats erased a three-run deficit in the ninth against Vanderbilt with a pair of home runs and won on a walk-off homer in the 10th inning on Friday.