Émilien Pitre tied his career-high with three hits, blasted the first Big Blue Bomb of his collegiate career and scored the game-winning run in a 6-2 Kentucky victory over Murray State on Tuesday at Kentucky Proud Park.
The game was played in a crisp two hours and 22 minutes as both pitching staffs appeared in control until the Wildcats (10-2) broke free for a three-run eighth inning. Pitre had his hand in a little bit of everything, as he lined an 0-2, two out pitch for a two-run shot in the first inning, later stole third and raced home when the throw was errant and made a lunging snare of a line drive in the eighth inning that stalled a potential Racers threat. UK now has won six in a row.
Infielder Hunter Gilliam was nearly as impressive as Pitre, rapping out three hits, including a two-run triple off the wall in left field into a stiff breeze. He also made two terrific scoop plays at first base.
On the mound, sophomore Jackson Nove earned his first collegiate win with three hitless innings in relief of starter Travis Smith, who set a new high-water mark with six strikeouts. Sophomore Mason Moore earned his third save with two hitless innings.
- UK Coach Nick Mingione is in his seventh season at the helm and now owns a 186-131 career record.
- Kentucky is 119-38 in non-conference games under Coach Mingione.
- UK is 105-16 vs. non-Power Five opponents.
- UK is 72-33 in the month of March under Coach Mingione.
- UK pitchers have struck out 128 through 12 games, 10.7 per game.
- UK has held its opponents to three runs or fewer in nine of 12 games.
- UK now is 80-43 all-time at Kentucky Proud Park.
- Infielder Emilien Pitre went 3-for-4 with a career-high three runs and two RBI. He clubbed his first career home run, a two-run, 0-2 shot in the first inning. He later stole third and scored the game-winning run when the catcher overthrew the fielder. He also made an impressive snare of a liner to second. He leads the team with a .465 batting average.
- First baseman Hunter Gilliam has started 125 consecutive games at the collegiate level. He has reached safely in all 12 games this season and owns a six-game hit streak. He went 3-for-4 with a run and two-run triple. He has 10 career triples. He leads the Cats with five multi-RBI games.
- Infielder Grant Smith has started all 128 games of his collegiate career.
- Pitcher Travis Smith earned the start and struck out a career-high six in 4.0 innings.
- Pitcher Jackson Nove earned his first collegiate win with three hitless innings of relief.
- Pitcher Mason Moore had two spotless innings to register his third save of 2023.
Kentucky will try to make it seven in a row on Wednesday, March 8 at 4 p.m. ET at Kentucky Proud Park. The game will be streamed on SECN+.