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Cowgill hits two homers, Cohen wins 300th game


LEXINGTON, Ky. — All-America centerfielder Collin Cowgill belted two mammoth home runs and Sawyer Carroll added three RBI, as the No. 10 Kentucky baseball team notched a 7-3 win over the pesky Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, securing head coach John Cohen’s 300th career win, on Wednesday night, in front of a season-high 2,549 fans at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Cohen, in his fifth year at the helm at UK and his eighth season overall as a head coach, has compiled a 300-181-1, good for a 62-percent winning percentage. In his time at Kentucky, Cohen has guided UK to its first Southeastern Conference Championship in 2006, and following that dream season, UK’s skipper guided the team to 34 wins, tying the mark for the most successful two-year run in the program’s 103-year history. So far in 2008, the Wildcats have opened the season 19-0 for the second consecutive season, earning a national ranking as high as No. 2. At UK, Cohen has totaled a 154-97-1 (.611) record.

Cowgill turned the multi-homer trick for the second time this year, ripping his ninth and 10th home runs of the season, both no-doubt blasts over left, and left-centerfield. The junior’s two bombs marked the fourth time UK has had a player tally multi-homers this season, with Tyler Howe and Brian Spear tallying multi-home run games. The Lexington native and former Kentucky High School Mr. Baseball, finished the game 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. Cowgill, hitting .385 with 10 homers and 33 RBI on the year, extended his hit streak to a team-high seven games.

Kentucky, who is 18-0 at home this season, has not lost a non-conference game since a 2007 setback at Evansville on May 9. The Wildcats have claimed wins in 18 consecutive non-conference wins.

The Wildcats return to action on Friday, facing off with tradition-rich Mississippi State, a team that made the College World Series in 2007. First pitch on Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m.

Carroll, who is hitting for a .458 average with eight homers and 41 RBI on the season, finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Chris Wade, Brian Spear and Ryan Wilkes each added hits, with Spear and Wilkes each tallying runs scored.

On the mound, UK got three innings from starter James Paxton, who struck out two, allowing two hits and one run. Aaron Lovett, Clint Tilford, Andrew Albers and Brock Baber combined to hurl the final innings, with Lovett picking up his first win of the season. Lovett tossed two innings, allowing four hits and one run, striking out one.

Western Kentucky (15-11, 3-6 Sun Belt) two-way player Matt Hightower took the loss, working four innings and allowing six runs and seven hits. Rye Davis and Garrie Krueger finished out the game, with Krueger working 1 2/3 hitless innings to close out the game for WKU.

UK (23-4, 5-4 SEC) got the scoring started at its first chance, pushing across two runs on three hits in the first inning. Wilkes, batting leadoff for the second time this year, led off with a single into right field. After Cowgill lined out on a rope to deep centerfield, Spear worked a several-pitch at bat, singling through the left side. Carroll, UK’s cleanup hitter, followed, knocking in Wilkes with a single through the left side. With Spear on third, Troy Frazier, a Western Kentucky transfer, hung a sacrifice fly into center, scoring Spear.

Western answered in the third with a lone run, beginning with a lead-off walk issued to Jeremy Coleman. Scott Kaskie doubled down the left-field line, putting two runners in scoring position. Hightower grounded out to Spear at first, scoring Coleman from third.

The Wildcats answered with three runs in the third, as Cowgill singled with one out and Spear reached first on a fielding error charged to Hightower. Carroll scored the two runners with a single, later coming around to score in an RBI single from Wade.

WKU narrowed the lead with a run in the fourth, as Wade Gaynor singled with one out and Jake Wells scored him with a well-placed double into the left-centerfield gap.

UK tacked on a run in its half of the fourth,as Cowgill connected on a 0-1 offering, sending it towering above the scoreboard in left-centerfield, despite breaking his bat in the process.

In the seventh inning, Cowgill struck again, leading off with a homer over the left-field fence, a 1-0 offering sent bouncing into the neighborhood fence, well behind the outfield wall.

The Hilltoppers cut the lead to the final margin, 7-3, with a run in the eighth inning. Gaynor ripped a two-out double and Wells added his second RBI of the day with a single into left field, scoring Gaynor.

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