Kentucky’s Zack Brown Shuts Out Northern Kentucky

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

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.

About the Author

Matthew Gray
Matthew Gray is a national writer for College Baseball Central and a member of the National College Baseball Hall of Fame, granting him an official vote annually on which coaches and players will be inducted. Matthew is also a member of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, which gives him official votes in the Dick Howser Trophy (Player of the Year), Regional Players of the Year and NCBWA All-America voting. Matthew is college baseball's go to source for exclusive player, coach, scout and executive interview based articles. He is at the forefront of prospect knowledge in the nation, and owns a strong managerial and professional background which includes over 25 years of experience as an author, scout, coach and athlete. Matthew has two daughters, Shelby, and Michelle. Follow Matthew on Twitter @CBCBaseball95