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Kentucky baseball: Weekend update (March 11)

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Overall Record: 13-2
Record Last Week: 3-1

Recent Results
Wednesday, March 6 - defeated Xavier, 6-3
Friday, March 8 - defeated Michigan State, 2-1
Saturday, March 9 - lost to Michigan State, 1-6
Sunday, March 10 - defeated Michigan State, 3-1

Upcoming Schedule (times Eastern)

Tuesday, March 12 - vs. Ohio - 4 p.m.
Wednesday, March 13 - vs. Cincinnati - 4 p.m.
Friday, March 15 - at Florida - 7:30 p.m. (CSS)
Saturday, March 16 - at Florida - 12:00 p.m. (FSN)
Sunday, March 17 - at Florida - 1 p.m.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE
Paul McConkey

5-11 - Jr. - 3B - Knoxville, Tenn. (Halls)
Week Stats: .444 (4-for-9), 2B, HR, 3 RBI, 8 TB, .889 SLG%, .500 OB%

Notes: Junior Paul McConkey paced the Wildcats in multiple offensive categories during a four-game week, batting .444 (4-for-9) in three games ... The third baseman led UK to a series win over 2012 NCAA Tournament team Michigan State, a 37-win club in 2012 ... McConkey had three RBI and belted a homer during the week, reaching base at a .500 clip ...Hit the game-winning, two-run double in a 3-1 win on Sunday vs. Michigan State, good for his second game-winning RBI of the year ... On the year, McConkey has hit .324 (11-for-34) with three doubles, one triple, one homer and 11 RBI.

PITCHER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE
Corey Littrell
6-3 - Jr. - LHP - Louisville, Ky. (Trinity)
Week Stats: 1-0, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1.29 ERA, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO

Notes: Junior left-handed All-America starter Corey Littrell turned in his best start of the year in leading UK to a series win over Michigan State during a Sunday afternoon rubber match ... Littrell worked seven strong innings allowing only one run on four hits, walking one batter and striking out a career-high nine batters ... He carried a shutout into the seventh inning, only surrendering a single hit through his first six shutout innings ... Battled through the seventh after three consecutive hits plated the first run of the game for the Spartans, getting the final two outs to set up the UK bullpen for the save in the 3-1 game ... He fired 100 pitches in the start, with 69 going for strikes ... After an All-Southeastern Conference season in 2012 as the Sunday starter, Littrell reasserted himself as the series-winning starter in rubber matches, making his eighth rubber-match start in the last two years vs. Michigan ... In those eight series-deciding games, Littrell has led UK to eight wins and owned a 6-0 record with a 2.8 ERA ... On the year, Littrell had made four starts with a 2-0 record and a 3.42 ERA, tossing 23.2 innings, allowing 22 hits and eight walks, striking out 24 ... With his 17th career win on Sunday, Littrell had now moved into a five-way tie for 10th in UK career history, seven wins shy of the program mark.

TEAM NOTES
Seventh-ranked Kentucky completed a 3-1 week with a series win over Michigan State during the weekend, also picking up a midweek win over Xavier on Wednesday. The Wildcats will play five games during their spring break, including opening Southeastern Conference play at Florida over the weekend, with the Gators coming off three consecutive trips to the College World Series.  

Kentucky (13-2) started the week off with a 6-3 win against Xavier, as freshman right-hander Kyle Cody record his first career collegiate win, throwing five innings and striking out three.

UK opened the series with the Spartans - a 2012 NCAA Tournament team and 37-win club a year ago - with a 2-1 win on Friday night. Sophomore left-hander A.J. Reed worked seven shutout innings, allowing only five hits and two walks. All-American centerfielder Austin Cousino got UK on the board with a first-inning homer, before Max Kuhn slugged his first career homer in the bottom of the eighth as the game-winning bomb. On Saturday, Michigan State right-hander David Garner, a 2012 Cape Cod League All-Star, turned in a dominating performance, working 8.1 innings in a 6-1 MSU win. Kentucky rebounded to win the series on Sunday in another rubber-match win from junior southpaw Corey Littrell, making his eighth series-deciding start in the last two years. The All-American starter worked seven innings and allowed just one run, striking out a career-high nine.

During the week, UK was led offensively by Kuhn and McConkey, with each totaling three RBI. McConkey, a 5-foot-11 junior, started in three games during the week, batting .444 (4-for-9) with one double, one homer, three RBI, and a .500 on-base percentage. Kuhn, a sophomore infielder from Zionsville, Ind., started all four games this week for the Wildcats, batting .357 (5-14) with two doubles, one homer, three RBI and a .438 on-base percentage.

Junior Trevor Gott recorded three saves in three appearances during the week to move into a tie for the UK career record with 15 saves. Gott (2-0, 0.00 ERA) had four saves on the year, working 8.1 innings, allowing only four singles and two walks, striking out 10. In his 15 career saves, Gott has worked 16.1 innings, allowing four hits and three walks, striking out 24. Littrell's 17th career win also moved him into 10th place on the career UK win list.

On the year, UK has batted .308 as a team with 11 homers, a .435 slugging and a .410 on-base percentage in 15 games, stealing 24 bases and owning a .976 fielding percentage. On the mound, UK has a 2.42 ERA with four saves in 134 innings, walking only 33 and striking out 116.

UK's all left-handed weekend rotation of Reed (2-1, 3.22 ERA), Jerad Grundy (3-1, 1.35 ERA) and Littrell (2-0, 3.42 ERA) have been solid through four starts. In the bullpen, Gott leads the club with seven relief outings, also joining senior Walter Wijas (1-0, 1.12 ERA) with seven appearances. Freshman right-handers Zach Strecker (0-0, 2.25 RA), Tyler Cox (0-0, 0.00 ERA) and Cody (1-0, 7.00 ERA) have each been weapons in their collegiate debuts. Sophomore Chandler Shepherd (1-0, 2.92 ERA) has appeared in five games and worked 12.1 innings, while freshmen lefties Dylan Dwyer (1-0, 0.00 ERA) and Ryne Combs (0-0, 1.12 ERA) have been key pitching options.

Individually, J.T. Riddle leads the team in hitting with a .403 average, totaling three doubles, one triple, one homer and 13 RBI, stealing three bases. Catcher Micheal Thomas has a .394 average with eight RBI, while Reed has batted .362 with a double, triple, five homers and 23 RBI. Kuhn owns a .340 average with four doubles, one triple, one homer and 15 RBI, stealing five bases, while McConkey has a .324 average with a homer and 11 RBI. Cousino has hit .283 with three doubles, three homers and 11 RBI, stealing five bags. Shortstop Matt Reida owns a .260 average with two doubles and seven RBI, while outfielders Zac Zellers and Lucas Witt each have hit .234.

Kentucky will begin SEC play when they travel to Florida for a weekend series starting on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville., Fla., UK will face Florida on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The game on Friday will be televised by CSS and available on ESPN3.com, and the Saturday game will be televised on Fox Sports. All three games will be broadcast on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action.

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