CINCINNATI - In the city where the Big Red Machine once was an offensive juggernaut, the Big Blue Bombers took center stage as No. 11 Kentucky bashed its way to a 20-4 victory over Xavier on Tuesday at Hayden Field. The game was called after eight innings due to darkness.
The 20 runs are the most the Wildcats have scored since posting 26 against Ball State on March 9, 2014.
The Cats (15-6) belted seven home runs in the game, including two each by junior Kole Cottam and senior Luke Heyer. They were joined by junior Ben Aklinski, senior Luke Becker and junior T.J. Collett in the home run parade as the Cats' prolific offense continued to pile up runs. Aklinski, Collett and Heyer each drove in at least four runs.
Coming off a tough weekend at Arkansas to begin Southeastern Conference play and with a third straight weekend against a top 10 opponent looming, the Cats avenged an earlier extra-inning loss to Xavier by jumping on the Musketeers early and often. After seeing a 5-1 lead sliced to 5-4 the Cats dropped eight runs in the fifth inning and another six in the seventh to get back on the winning track.
Cottam has been particularly hot of late, homering in three of the past four games, while Aklinski has now gone deep in back-to-back outings. The Cats are the only team in the country with three players who have at least nine home runs.
The Cats return to Lexington and host No. 6 Auburn in a three-game weekend series beginning Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. First pitch will be at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
Top 1st - Tristan Pompey walked and scored on Troy Squires' RBI double off the RCF wall. UK 1, Xavier 0.
Bottom 1st - Ryan Altenberger singled and stole second. Joe Gellenbeck grounded out, moving Altenberger to third. Altenberger scored on a wild pitch. UK 1, Xavier 1.
Top 3rd - Kole Cottam hit a leadoff home run. Alex Rodriguez walked and moved to third on Pompey's single to RF. Squires grounded out to 1B, scoring Rodriguez. Ben Aklinski homered to LF. UK 4, Xavier 1.
Top 4th - T.J. Collett homered to RF. UK 5, Xavier 1.
Bottom 4th - Gellenbeck doubled to RF. Conor Grammes was hit by a pitch. Chris Givin singled to CF, scoring Gellenbeck and moving Grammes to third. Natale Monastra singled through the right side of the infield, scoring Grammes and moving Givin to third. Matt Warkentin singled through the left side, scoring Givin and advancing Monastra to second. UK 5, Xavier 4.
Top 5th - Rodriguez walked, Ryan Shinn and Squires were both hit by pitches to load the bases. Aklinski singled to LF, scoring Rodriguez and Shinn. Luke Becker walked. T.J. Collett singled through the right side, scoring Squires and Aklinski. Luke Heyer homered to RF, scoring Becker and Collett. Cottam homered to CF. UK 13, Xavier 4.
Top 6th - Becker walked and advanced to both second and third on wild pitches. Collett singled up the middle to score Becker. UK 14, Xavier 4.
Top 7th - Cottam singled and Rodriguez walked. Squires grounded out to move both runners up. Aklinski singled, scoring both Cottam and Rodriguez. Becker homered to RF. Collett singled and scored on Heyer's home run. UK 20, Xavier 4.