LEXINGTON, Kty. – Kentucky starter Justin Lewis took a perfect game into the eighth inning and the UK offense hammered No. 23 UC Santa Barbara during three long rallies in Sunday's series finale at Cliff Hagan Stadium, resulting in a sweep-clinching 12-1 win.
After going 21-up, 21-down over the first seven innings, UCSB (4-7) junior first baseman Austin Bush ended Lewis' bid at a perfect game, no-hitter, and shutout in one fell swoop, lofting a solo home run to right-center and putting the Gauchos on the board.
Lewis bounced right back after Bush's roundtripper, coaxing three straight groundouts from UCSB before handing the ball off to Chris Machamer in the ninth.
With Lewis out of the game, UCSB had its most productive offensive inning in the ninth, but by that time the game was long since decided. The Gauchos were able to load the inning in the frame on a JJ Muno hit-by-pitch and base hits from Colton Burns and Billy Fredrick, but Machamer got out of the jam unscathed after rolling up a 6-4-3 double play ball to end the game.
UK (7-5) first baseman Evan White mashed a solo homer to left in the first inning to open an offensive onslaught from the Wildcats. The home squad went on to put up a four-spot in the second inning on three consecutive RBI singles, then blew it open with a three-run fourth. UK capped their scoring with four runs on four doubles in the sixth.
Right fielder Tristan Pompey (3-4, two RBIs) and shortstop Connor Heady (2-3, three RBIs) were the top offensive performers for the Wildcats.
UCSB junior right-hander Steven Ledesma was dealt the loss in his first career Division I start, dropping to 0-1 on the year. Though he entered the game with a 1.04 ERA, he struggled on Sunday allowing five earned and not making it out of the second inning.
The Gauchos will look to bounce back next week as they travel to Provo, Utah for a four-game set against BYU. The Cougars are 4-6 so far this season and are coming off a series loss to CSU Bakersfield.