Baseball Offense Erupts in Series-Evening Win over UIC
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Brian Adams, Taylor Black and Luke Maile each recorded three hits and junior right-hander Alex Meyer struck out seven in five innings, leading the Kentucky baseball team to a 13-3 series-evening win over the University of Illinois Chicago, on Saturday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (3-4) had its offense explode for 13 runs on 19 hits, drawing five walks getting hit by two pitches. The Wildcats were led offensively by a veteran trio that each recorded three hits, as Adams, Black and Maile paced UK at the plate. Black had the highlight moment of the game, belting his first homer of the season, a grandslam in the fifth inning that helped put the game out of reach. Black finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored, four RBI and a walk.
Maile added a 3-for-5 outing at the dish, ripping his fourth double of the season. A native of Crestview Hills, Ky., and the 2009 Kentucky High School Mr. Baseball, Maile leads UK in nearly every offensive category in his sophomore season. Through seven games, Maile has batted .481 (13-for-27) with four doubles and five RBI.
Adams, UK's sophomore centerfielder and wide receiver for the football team, also had a breakout day at the plate. Adams made his third start of the season as he has worked to get his rhythm back after playing football in the fall. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound native of Gainesville, Ga., went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI, adding his first double of the season.
On the mound, Meyer was solid through five innings, putting the Wildcats in position to even the series with the win. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound native of Greensburg, Ind., Meyer went five innings, allowing three hits and three runs, walking five and striking out seven. Meyer, who was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week after his 13-strikeout performance in his season-debut last week in Charleston, S.C., didn't allow a UIC hit until the fourth inning, with the Flames doing most of their damage on walks and wild pitches, as two of their three runs scored courtesy of a wild pitch.
UK also used sophomore right-hander Walter Wijas for the second consecutive game, as Wijas tossed two shutout innings in relief of Meyer. Lefty Alex Phillips made his second career appearance, tossing two shutout innings to close out the win.
The Wildcats got a hit from every member of the starting lineup, with Adams, Black and Maile leading the charge. Third sacker Thomas McCarthy uncorked his team-leading sixth double in seven games, going 2-for-5 with a walk and an RBI. Chad Wright, a native of Paducah, Ky., went 2-for-5 with two RBI and a pair of doubles.
Braden Kapteyn added a 2-for-3 outing with two RBI, a walk and a hit by pitch. Freshman infielder J.T. Riddle, making his second career start and his first career start in the outfield, recorded his first career hits, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. Riddle, the 2010 Kentucky High School Mr. Baseball out of Frankfort, Ky., also recorded his first career outfield assist, gunning out a runner at third base. The Wildcats also got hits from Michael Williams and freshman infielder Paul McConkey.
UIC starter Charlie Weinberg (0-2) took the loss, allowing eight hits and five runs through 3.2 innings. Matt Heaslip went the final 4.1 innings, allowing 11 hits and eight runs.
The series will resume on Sunday, with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with Dick Gabriel voicing the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the action live on WGVN 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com. UK will start sophomore Jordan Cooper on Sunday.
UIC (1-5) got on the board in the top of the second taking advantage of three walks and a wild pitch. Steve McGuiggan drew a walk to lead off and Jon Ryan followed with a walk. After a sacrifice bunt by Matt Serna and with Joe Betcher at the plate, McGuiggan scored on a wild pitch.
UK answered with a run in the bottom of the second, evening the game with one run on three hits. Maile led off the inning with a double into the right-centerfield gap, with Kapteyn singling to leftfield. After Maile was caught in between third and home on a fielder's choice, Adams poked a double to left-centerfield, scoring Kapteyn.
In the third, McCarthy led off the inning with a double into the gap, moving to third on Maile's single to left. With runners on the corners, Kapteyn drove in Maile with an RBI fielder's choice.
UIC added two hits and two runs in the fourth, breaking up Meyer's no-hit bid. After Meyer got Ryan to fly out to lead off, Serna drew a walk and stole second base. Betcher then singled, with Serna scoring on a pair of wild pitches. Harry Kammholz scored Betcher with a triple into right-centerfield.
In the fourth inning, McConkey led off the frame with a nice single up the middle, with Adams pushing him into scoring position with a single to leftfield. After Riddle laid down a nice sacrifice bunt and with Black at the plate, McConkey scored on a wild pitch. Black and McCarthy drew walks and Wright scored two with a double down the right-field line.
UK added to its lead with a five-run inning in the fifth. Kapteyn led off the frame with a walk and Williams got hit by a pitch. After McConkey's attempted sacrifice bunt got Kapteyn out at third, Adams loaded the bases by smoking a grounder to third base that was misplayed for an error. Riddle then recorded his first career hit with a knock to leftfield, scoring Williams. That brought up Black, who belted a no-doubt blast over the left-field wall for his first homer of the year, a grandslam.
The Wildcats stretched its lead with two runs on three hits in the seventh, as Black singled with one out and Wright drew a walk. Maile then scored Black with a single up the middle and Kapteyn's RBI single to leftfield scored Wright.
In the eighth inning, UK added one run on four hits. Adams reached on a one-out single to rightfield and Riddle ripped a single through the right side. After Black notched his third hit of the game, McCarthy scored Adams with an infield single.