LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky baseball defeated Northern Kentucky 6-0 Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium, behind a complete-game shutout by Zack Brown. Brown only allowed two hits in his effort along with striking out 11 batters, which was a career high.
Brown (1-1) led the Cats (10-3) to their eighth win in a row, while retiring 21 of his first 23 batters faced.
In the third frame, the Cats jumped out to a 4-0 lead when Connor Heady and Riley Mahan both got hit by pitches and speedster JaVon Shelby walked to load the bases with two outs.
Ka’ai Tom then had a base hit to centerfield for two RBIs, and then stole second base. Thomas Bernal followed with a two-RBI base hit to leftfield.
In the bottom of the eighth frame, Kentucky put up two more runs after Heady drew a full-count walk, and then scored on Mahan’s RBI double down the rightfield line. Then a NKU wild pitch moved Mahan to third, which then allowed him to score on a sacrifice fly from Shelby.
This marks the first complete-game shutout for Kentucky since the time when Dylan Dwyer pitched a complete-game shutting out Cincinnati in 2014. This is also the first weekend complete-game shutout for UK since Alex Meyer shutout No. 1 Vanderbilt in a 2-0 victory in 2011.
Brown is the first Kentucky player to strikeout at least 10 batters in a contest since Jerad Grundy K’d 12 against Akron in 2013.
The super-hot Kyle Barrett continued his hitting streak to 11 games now, while Tom contributed an RBI hit, and Bernal logged two hits. Heady logged a hit and Mahan recorded a nice double. Shelby was hit by a pitch, walked, and scored a run.
Working three innings, giving up two hits, and four runs was Northern Kentucky (2-9) starter Matt Jefferson (0-4). Jefferson also struck out three hitters while giving up one base-on-balls. Alex Bolia, Evan Korson, Nick Beard and Pierce Knisley made relief appearances.
Kentucky and the Norse face off again on Sunday with a doubleheader scheduled for a 12 p.m. start at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The games will be broadcast on the UK Radio Network and will be televised live on SEC Network.