LOUISVILLE, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Ryan Ritter’s coming out party came at the perfect time for Kentucky.
The sophomore shortstop drove in six runs with a three-run home run and three-run double in his first two at-bats, then delivered three breathtaking defensive plays as the Wildcats scored an 11-7 road victory over No. 5 Louisville on Tuesday night at Jim Patterson Stadium. It’s the Cats’ first road win over a top five team since 2017 and first in Louisville since 2013.
Ritter dazzled on a night when the Cats (19-7) needed to make a statement. He crushed a no-doubt three-run homer to straightaway centerfield to stake UK to a 3-0 lead and then narrowly missed a grand slam an inning later, settling for a three-run double off the top of the fence to put the Cats up for good. It’s just the seventh time since the beginning of the 2011 season a UK player has driven in at least six runs.
As good as he was offensively, Ritter may have been even better defensively. He ranged to the opposite side of second base on a ground ball and threw out one of the fastest runners in college baseball to save a pair of runs, made a sliding stop and throw on a ball deep in the hole and then leaped to snare a liner in the ninth that saved another two runs.
In a game that took longer than four hours to complete, the Cats rapped out 15 hits and saw seven of their own pitchers come to the mound, eventually culminating in Hunter Rigsby earning the first save of his career.
Top 2nd – Oraj Anu walked and Chase Estep singled up the middle. Ryan Ritter homered to CF, scoring Anu and Estep. UK 3, UL 0.
Bottom 2nd – Masterman walked and scored on Leonard’s double off the LF wall. Dunn looped a single to CF, scoring Leonard. Knapczyk singled through the left side, Dunn to third. Dunn scored on an Usher SAC fly. UK 3, UL 3.
Top 3rd – Coltyn Kessler, Anu and Estep walked to load the bases. Ritter doubled off the LCF wall, scoring all three. Austin Schultz reached on an error. T.J. Collett doubled off the LF wall, scoring Ritter and Schultz. UK 8, UL 3.
Bottom 3rd – Davis walked and scored on a Binelas HR to LF. UK 8, UL 5.
Top 5th – Ritter walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Schultz’s single to RF. Collett singled to RF. John Rhodes flied out to RF, advancing Schultz to third, who scored on Kessler’s SAC fly to CF. UK 10, UL 5.
Bottom 6th – Davis homered to CF. UK 10, UL 6.
Top 8th – Anu singled. Cam Hill pinch ran for Anu. Drew Grace singled. Ritter reached on an infield single, Hill scored from second after ball thrown away.UK 11, UL 6.
Bottom 9th – Davis and Masterman singled. Leonard singled to CF, Davis scored, Masterman to third. UK 11, UL 7.
- UK is 19-7 overall, 5-4 in SEC play.
- The Cats are 4-3 on the road this season.
- UK is 88-29 vs. non-conference opponents under head coach Nick Mingione.
- This is Kentucky’s first win over a top five opponent since defeating No. 5 Arkansas on May 5, 2019.
- This is Kentucky’s first road victory over a top five opponent since defeating No. 5 Florida in Gainesville on May 18, 2017.
- This is Kentucky’s first win at Louisville since 2013.
- The UK pitching staff has struck out at least seven in 37 of the past 40 games, including 25 with 10 or more.
- Sophomore IF Ryan Ritter went 3-for-4 with three runs, six RBI, a double, a home run and a walk.
- It was Ritter’s first multi-RBI game.
- It was just the seventh time since the beginning of 2011 season a UK player drove in six or more runs and first time since Breydon Daniel did so last season.
- Ritter fell just a triple short of the cycle.
- Senior 1B T.J. Collett went 2-for-3 with two RBI, a double, two walks and an HBP.
- Collett has reached base safely in 25 of 26 games this season.
- Going back to Saturday’s game at Mississippi State, Collett reached base safely in eight consecutive Abs.
- Junior IF/OF Austin Schultz singled, drove in a run and scored two.
- Schultz has reached base safely in 79 of 86 career games.
- Schultz has a hit in 20 of his last 22 games.
The Cats finally return home to Kentucky Proud Park for SEC play, welcoming LSU on Friday to open a three-game series. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. ET on SECN+. The radio call will be on the UK Sports Network.