Home Run Derby: Ryan Johnson Homers Three Times in Win

Kentucky hits six home runs, 12 total extra-base hits in offensive explosion

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Ryan Johnson The University of Kentucky baseball team defeats Eastern Kentucky University 16-5 on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky. Photo By Barry Westerman | UK Athletics

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Ryan Johnson homered three times as part of a six-homer night for Kentucky in a 15-4 victory over Western Kentucky at Bowling Green Ballpark on Tuesday. It is the first time a UK player has gone deep three times in a single game a decade.

Johnson, a senior two-way player who was re-inserted into the starting lineup last week after serving almost exclusively as a pitcher this season, doubled his career home run total in one evening at the home of Minor League Baseball’s Bowling Green Hot Rods. The blasts came in three consecutive at bats and were all solo shots.

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Despite the lineup missing juniors T.J. Collett and Jaren Shelby, who have combined for 31 extra-base hits and 68 RBI this season, the Cats (21-20) littered the diamond with extra-base hits, rapping five doubles, a triple and the six round-trippers. In addition to Johnson’s three home runs, Zeke Lewis, Austin Schultz and Ryan Shinn also cleared the fences.

Freshman left-hander Dillon Marsh earned a second win against the Hilltoppers in as many starts this season, going five innings and allowing two runs. Marsh pitched nine innings in two games, giving up five hits, two runs, one walk and striking out 10. He set a new career-high with seven whiffs on the evening.

A visit to Florida next weekend will be the next-to-last conference road series for the Cats, with first of three games coming Friday night in Gainesville.



SCORING
Top 2nd –Cam Hill doubled down the RF line with two outs and scored on Marshall Gei’s triple to RCF. UK 1, WKU 0.

Top 3rd – Ryan Johnson homered to LF. UK 2, WKU 0.

Bottom 4th – Jack Wilson worked an 11-pitch walk to open the inning and moved to third on Jake Sanford’s single to RCF. Dillon Nelson grounded a ball through the infield to score Wilson. UK 2, WKU 1.

Top 5th – Zeke Lewis and Johnson hit back-to-back home runs. Ryan Shinn walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, to third on Dalton Reed’s groundout and scored on a wild pitch. UK 5, WKU 1.

Top 6th – Johnson hit his third home run of the game. UK 6, WKU 1.

Bottom 6th – Wilson singled to LF and moved to third on Sanford’s double to RF. Nelson hit a SAC fly to CF, scoring Wilson and moving Sanford to third. Sanford scored on a wild pitch. UK 6, WKU 3.

Top 7th – Elliott Curtis doubled off the RF wall and scored on Austin Schultz’s homer to LF. UK 8, WKU 3.

Top 8th – Lewis reached on an infield hit, Johnson singled to RF and Shinn homered to LCF. Curtis doubled to LF, moved to second on a groundout and scored on a dropped pop-up in the infield. UK 12, WKU 3.

Bottom 8th – Sanford doubled to LF, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Kevin Lambert’s single to RF. UK 12, WKU 4.

Top 9th – Gei was hit by a pitch. Grant Macciocchi ran for Gei. Johnson walked. Trae Harmon hit a pinch hit double, scoring both runners. Harmon advanced to third on an error and scored on Alex Rodriguez’s SAC fly. UK 15, WKU 4.

NOTES
• Attendance for the game was 2,836.
• Kentucky has scored in 105 consecutive games and 181 of the past 182 dating to the 2016 season. The lone shutout came in a seven-inning game. The current streak now is tied for the second-longest in school history.
• The back-to-back home runs by Zeke Lewis and Ryan Johnson in the fifth inning marks the first time UK has done that since Kole Cottam and Luke Becker did so at Vanderbilt on May 19, 2018.

• Senior OF/RHP Ryan Johnson went 4-for-5 with three solo home runs, five runs scored and a walk.
o The home runs were the fourth, fifth and sixth of Johnson’s career.
o He is the first UK player to homer in consecutive at bats since Kole Cottam did so last season in the final at bat against Missouri on April 29 and first against Tennessee on May 4.
o He is the first UK player to homer three times in a game since Gunnar Glad against South Carolina on March 28, 2009.
o He has now tied the longest hit streak of his career at five games.
o It’s the first four-hit game for the Cats since Alex Rodriguez last season at Western Carolina (April 11, 2018).

• Junior INF Zeke Lewis homered for the second straight game.
o The home run is the first off a left-hander for the switch-hitter.
o He has two career home runs.

• Freshman INF Austin Schultz hit his second home run of the season.
o It was the first multi-RBI game of the freshman’s career.

• Senior C Marshall Gei hit the first triple of his career, driving in a run.
• Freshman 1B/DH Trae Harmon recorded his first career hit, a two-run, pinch hit double in the ninth.

• Freshman LHP Dillon Marsh pitched 5.0 innings, yielding four hits, two runs, one walk and striking out seven.
o The seven strikeouts set a new career-high, topping the six he had against Canisius earlier this season.
o In two starts against the Hilltoppers this season Marsh scored a pair of wins while completing 9.0 innings, giving up five hits and two runs, walking one and striking out 10.

• Senior OF Ryan Shinn connected on his 12th home run of the season.
o He has 27 total extra-base hits this season.

ON DECK
Kentucky travels to Gainesville this weekend to take on Florida beginning Friday night at McKethan Stadium. Friday night’s game will be on SEC Network Plus, Saturday on the SEC Network and Sunday on ESPN2. Audio coverage will be on UKathletics.com and the UK Sports Network.