Kentucky scores early and often to rout WVU

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Kentucky Athletics

Photo: Kentucky Athletics

LEXINGTON, Kentucky- Austin Strickland, Magdiel Cotto and James McCoy combined on a seven-hit shutout as Kentucky beat West Virginia, 10-0, Sunday afternoon in the Lexington Regional of the Division I Baseball Tournament. NCAA played at Kentucky Proud Park.

With this victory, Kentucky (38-19) qualifies for a game Sunday night against Indiana. West Virginia, the Big 12 regular season tri-champion, was knocked out of the region. The Mountaineers finish the season with a 40-20 record, tying the school record for most wins in a season.

Strickland pitched the first six innings, allowing four hits with six strikeouts and one walk, improving his record to 4-1 on the season. Cotto pitched two innings, striking out three, and McCoy handled the ninth with one strikeout. The Wildcats pitched well against a WVU roster that had totaled 19 points in the first two games of the regional.

Kentucky got all the runs they needed in the first inning. Center Jackson Gray was hit by the pitch, followed by a double by third baseman Jase Felker. Later in the inning, a groundout by second baseman Emilien Pitre tackled Felker and the Wildcats had a 2-0 lead.

Great Britain hit a home run in the game, a two-run shot from right fielder Nolan McCarthy in the fourth inning, to take the lead to 5-0. McCarthy and designated hitter Reuben Church led the offense with two hits apiece. Receiver Devin Burkes finished the scoring with a three-run brace in the eighth inning.

WVU starting pitcher Grant Siegel gave up the first three runs, taking the loss to make his record 4-3. As usual, the Mountaineer offense was led by second baseman JJ Wetherholt, who had three hits, improving his total to 101 hits this season. Wetherholt finished the year with a .449 batting average, the highest for a mountaineer in a season since 1935.

Kentucky plays Indiana on Sunday at 6 p.m. The Hoosiers beat the Wildcats 5-3 on Saturday. An IU win on Sunday wins the regional. A win for the UK on Sunday night would send the teams into a win-win clash on Monday.

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