SPARTANBURG, S.C. – In the season opener for both UNC Asheville and #8 Kentucky the Wildcats used strong pitching and timely hitting to earn a 9-2 victory over the Bulldogs on Friday afternoon at Russell King Field.

“We had some tough luck today, and dug ourselves into a little hole,” said Asheville skipper Tom Smith. “I’m really excited about how we battled back throughout the game. Kentucky got key hits when they needed them, a couple of seeing-eye singles that led to runs that just got past us.”

With the victory UK improve to 1-0 on the year while the Bulldogs drop to 0-1.

Asheville’s Robert McIntosh went 3-for-3 at the plate, with a triple and a run batted in from the No. 3 spot in the lineup. Catcher Ian Graham collected three hits in four plate appearances, scoring one run for the Blue & White.

Starting pitcher Dean Roland (0-1) was credited with the loss for the Bulldogs, allowing four runs on eight hits, striking out two in five innings of work. 

Kentucky’s A.J. Reed (1-0) started for the Wildcats and pitched five innings, giving up two runs on six hits and striking out four to pick up the victory.

Reed was also the designated hitter, batting from the No. 3 spot, and went 4-for-5 at the plate with three RBI and two runs scored. 

The Bulldogs will be back in action tomorrow when they take on Georgetown at noon on the campus of USC Upstate. Right-handed pitcher Elliot Criss is set to start for Asheville, while the Hoyas will throw left-handed hurler Matt Hollenbeck.