A.J. Reed Homers Again as Baseball Sweeps Eastern Michigan

March 1, 2014

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A.J. Reed belted his seventh home run of the year and Max Kuhn collected career-highs with four hits and three RBI, leading No. 30 Kentucky to a series-sweep clinching 13-2 win over Eastern Michigan in the finale of a doubleheader, on Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky (9-2) won its seventh consecutive game with the doubleheader sweep over Eastern Michigan, with UK posting a 9-5 win in the first game of the twinbill and an 8-2 win in the series opener on Friday night. UK plated three runs in the first, four in the third, three in the sixth and single runs in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings, with UK allowing single runs in the sixth and eighth innings.

The Wildcats were led by Reed, the reigning consensus national and conference player of the week after belting a program-record five homers in three games last weekend. Reed, a native of Terre Haute, Ind., belted his Southeastern Conference-leading seventh homer of the year, going 1-for-2 with two runs and two walks. Reed’s week continued from his record-setting week at the Old Dominion Tournament last weekend, as the 6-foot-4, 240-pounder hit .417 (5-for-12) with a double, homer and three RBI during the week, drawing seven walks and not striking out. A member of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List, Reed came to the plate 19 times during UK’s four-game week, reaching base safely 13 times.

A native of Zionsville, Ind., Kuhn set new career highs with four hits and three RBI, scoring three runs while hitting No. 3 in the order for the 11th consecutive game to open 2014. Preseason All-America centerfielder Austin Cousino collected his eighth multi-hit game to open the year and the 50th of his career, going 3-for-5 with three RBI and three runs, including a pair of doubles and a triple.

UK also got hits from Kyle Barrett, Marcus Carson, Ka’ai Tom, Dorian Hairston, Thomas Bernal, Matt Reida, Zach Arnold and Greg Fettes, as eight of UK’s nine starters collected hits. UK got two-walk games from Barrett, Reed and freshman second-baseman Connor Heady.

Kentucky starter Kyle Cody (2-0) worked a predetermined four-inning start, allowing two singles and no walks, striking out three. The seventh-best sophomore in college baseball in the preseason, according to Baseball America, Cody has tossed 13.1 innings in 2014, with a 1.35 ERA.

UK junior Spencer Jack worked the fifth and sixth innings, allowing two hits and one unearned run, striking out one. Junior right-hander Andrew Nelson got two outs in the seventh inning, with sophomore righty Taylor Martin getting the final out of the seventh. Matt Snyder worked an inning in the eighth, allowing three hits and one run. Ryne Combs pitched the ninth inning without allowing an earned run, stretching his scoreless relief streak to 8.1 innings to open 2014.

UK’s numbers during the four-game week, that included a midweek win over Wright State, saw UK hit .353 as a team, drawing 23 walks, getting hit by six pitches, stealing 12 bases and striking out just 14 times. On the mound, UK owned a 0.75 ERA in 36 innings, holding opponents to a .188 average.  

Eastern Michigan (4-7) starter Charlie Land (0-2) worked two innings, allowing eight hits and seven runs – six earned – striking out one. Ben Dartnell, Sam Delaplane, Sterling Sharp and Matt Beaton worked in relief for EMU.

UK will return to action on Tuesday, traveling to Cincinnati for a 4 p.m. ET matchup at Marge Schott Stadium.

UK scored three runs in the first inning, as Cousino doubled off the leftfield wall with one out. Kuhn then singled to leftfield to score Cousino, taking second on a groundout from Reed. Tom then followed with a single into rightfield, scoring Kuhn from second base. Bernal then smacked a grounder to third base, with the ball skidding under the glove for an error, allowing Tom, who had stolen second, to score from second base.

In the third inning, UK added four runs, as Barrett singled and stole second to leadoff, scoring after Cousino drilled a triple off the centerfield wall. Kuhn then singled home Cousino with a two-strike single to rightfield. That brought up Reed, who smashed a line-drive homer over the rightfield fence, his seventh homer of the year.

Reed lifted UK to another run in the bottom of the fifth inning, as he drew a walk to leadoff the game, taking second on a passed ball. A pair of groundouts, with the final one coming from Bernal, forced home Reed for the eighth run of the game.

In the sixth inning, UK got back-to-back, one-out walks from Heady and Barrett, before Cousino doubled off the wall in right-centerfield, scoring the duo. Kuhn then followed with a single to score Cousino from second base for an 11-1 lead.

UK added a run in the seventh, as Fettes singled with two outs, taking second after JaVon Shelby drew a walk. Carson then singled through the right side to score Fettes.

EMU got a run in the top of the eighth inning, as Austin Wilson led off with a single, scoring on Mitchell McGeein’s RBI single.