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Kentucky baseball: Weekend update (March 25)

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Overall Record: 18-5, 4-2 SEC
Record Last Week: 2-2, 2-1 SEC

Recent Results
Tuesday, March 19 - lost vs. Western Kentucky, 3-6
Friday, March 22 - lost vs. No. 14 Mississippi State, 4-8
Saturday, March 23 - won vs. No. 14 Mississippi State, 3-2
Sunday, March 23 - won vs. No. 14 Mississippi State, 4-3

Upcoming Schedule (times Eastern)
Tuesday, March 26 - vs. Marshall - 6:30 p.m.
Friday, March 29 - vs. Georgia - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 30 - vs. Georgia - 2 p.m.
Sunday, March 31 - vs. Georgia - 1 p.m.

Pitcher of the Week nominee
Jerad Grundy

6-1 - Sr. - LHP - Johnsburg,Ill. (Johnsburg/Miami, Fla./Heartland)
Week Stats: 1-0, 2.25 ERA, 8.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 10 SO

Notes: Jerad Grundy worked eight strong innings to lead UK to a series-evening win over No. 14 Mississippi State, in the front end of a doubleheader on Saturday ... The senior worked into the ninth inning of UK's 3-2 win, allowing five singles and a solo homer, with two runs scoring ... He did not allow a walk and struck out 10 ... Grundy struck out the side in the second and fourth innings, not allowing a baserunner to reach scoring position till the fifth ... Retired 13 of the first 14 hitters he faced, with nine strikeouts in the first five innings ... It was Grundy's fifth quality start of 2013, with the southpaw owning a 5-1 record and a 1.99 ERA, working 40 2/3 innings, allowing 27 hits and only eight walks, striking out 38 ... In his two-year career, Grundy has made 22 weekend starts, owning a 11-4 mark and a 3.21 ERA ... In 2013, Grundy ranks third in the SEC in wins, fourth in innings pitched, sixth in strikeouts and seventh in opponent batting average (.189).

Freshman of the Week nominee
Kyle Barrett
5-11 - Fr. - OF - Douglasville, Ga. (Chapel Hill)
Week Stats: .385 (5-for-13), 2 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1-1 SB, .538 SLG%, .438 OB%

Notes: Kyle Barrett helped lead UK to a series win over No. 14 Mississippi State, making four starts in the outfield ... The speedy freshman outfielder hit .385 (5-for-13) with a pair of doubles and RBI, drawing two walks and stealing a base, starting all four games of the week  ... The Douglasville, Ga., native helped lead UK's walk-off win in the rubber match vs. the Bulldogs, starting the bottom of the ninth inning with a double and scoring the game-winning and series-clinching win.

Team notes
The eighth-ranked Kentucky baseball team completed a four-game week with a series win over No. 14 Mississippi State, spurred by a doubleheader sweep on Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. UK suffered a midweek loss to Western Kentucky and a series-opening setback to the Bulldogs, before rebounding to win the series with the twinbill sweep.

Kentucky (18-5, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) won its second consecutive series to open league play, also claiming the conference lidlifter at Florida last weekend. UK suffered an 8-4 loss on Friday night to the Bulldogs, as three errors in the sixth inning erased a UK lead and lifted MSU to a comeback win. UK opened the doubleheader with a dynamic pitching performance from senior southpaw Jerad Gundy, who fanned 10 in eight innings, allowing just two runs in a 3-2 UK win, with Trevor Gott recording his seventh save of 2013 in the ninth. In the finale, UK turned to Corey Littrell, who helped UK win its 10th consecutive rubber match in the last two years, with the southpaw owning a 7-0 record and a 1.85 ERA in those starts. UK posted a 4-3 win the finale, as Austin Cousino smacked first base with a walk-off, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning.

UK will host Marshall at 6:30 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium on Tuesday, before returning to SEC action in hosting Georgia for a three-game set. UK will welcoming the Bulldogs at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday, 2 p.m. ET on Saturday and 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

The Wildcats have hit .292 as a team in 23 games, with a .414 slugging and a .402 on-base percentage, stealing 33 bases and belting 15 homers. On the mound, UK has a 2.55 ERA, walking just 55 and striking out 176 in 205 innings. UK is coming off its series win over Mississippi State, the NCAA's second-ranked team in hits, where it limited the Bulldogs to a .206 batting average, with UK sporting a 2.00 ERA in the series.

UK has been led by junior second baseman J.T. Riddle, who has hit .360 with five doubles, one triple, one homer and 17 RBI, stealing four bases. Slugger A.J. Reed has a .356 average with four doubles, two triples, six homers and 28 RBI, while third baseman Max Kuhn has hit .318 with seven doubles, one triple, one homer and 19 RBI. Catcher Micheal Thomas has batted .291 with a double, homer and 14 RBI. Centerfielder Austin Cousino has batted .287 with four doubles, four homers and 16 RBI, stealing eight bases.

On the mound, UK's weekend rotation of Reed (2-3, 2.94 ERA), Grundy (5-1, 1.99 ERA) and Litttrell (3-0, 2.56 ERA) have been dynamic. In the bullpen, Gott (2-0, 0.73 ERA) has seven saves in as many chances, appearing in 11 games and striking out 15. Chandler Shepherd (1-0, 3.10 ERA) has pitched in eight games with 20 1/3 innings pitched, while senior Walter Wijas (2-0, 0.73 ERA) has worked in 10 games in relief, with 12 strikeouts and two walks in 12 1/3 innings.

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