Andy Burns Powers No. 23 Baseball to 5-2 Win
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Behind a three-hit, two-homer performance from sophomore third baseman Andy Burns and the third save of the year from junior Matt Little, the No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats posted a 5-2 win over Morehead State, Tuesday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
A native of Fort Collins, Colo., Burns belted two homers in the contest, the first multi-homer game of his young career. A 6-foot-2, 190-pounder, Burns finished a season-best 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. On the year, Burns leads the Wildcats with three homers, also adding a double and a triple, stealing 4-of-4 bases.
In the ninth inning, UK turned to Little, who tossed a perfect ninth inning for his third save in as many tries. A 5-foot-11 right-hander, Little tossed first-pitch strikes to all three hitters faced, fanning two to finish the game. In four appearances this season, Little has totaled a 1.29 ERA, fanning five in seven innings, allowing only two hits.
The win marks the seventh consecutive win for Kentucky (7-0) to start the season, the best start since the 2007 and 2008 seasons, when UK posted a 19-0 record to open the year, setting the school record.
The Wildcats utilized six pitchers in the game, starting sophomore right-hander Sean Bouthilette, who lasted 2.1 innings with five hits allowed and no runs. UK then used freshman right-hander Jordan Cooper, who pitched 1.2 innings, allowing only one hit. Freshman Sam Kidd (1-0) got his first career win, hurling two innings in the middle of the game, striking out two and allowing one run. Walter Wijas and Mike Kaczmarek threw the seventh and eighth innings respectively, with Kaczmarek allowing one run on two hits.
Burns led the charge offensively with his three-hit performance but preseason All-American third baseman Chris Bisson added a 2-for-3 game, with a walk and a stolen base. UK also got hits from Lance Ray, Gunner Glad, Marcus Nidiffer and Keenan Wiley. Bisson, a native of Orleans, Ontario, extended his hitting streak to a team-high seven games. So far in 2010, Bisson is hitting .414 (12-for-29), with eight runs scored, a triple, two homers and 10 RBI.
Morehead State (4-6) starter Josh Schneider (1-2) took the loss, after allowing three runs and four hits in his 1.1 innings of work. Lanky right-hander Trey Smith had the best pitching performance for the Eagles, going 2.2 innings without allowing a run.
Kentucky returns to action for a three-game road swing through California. UK will face San Diego State Friday at 9 p.m. ET in San Diego. The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with Dick Gabriel calling the action.
The Wildcats posted three runs in the first inning to take control of the game. The inning started with Bisson leading off with a broken-bat single up the middle, later stealing second to get into scoring position. After Chad Wright grounded out to first, Burns singled through the left side and advanced to second on a stolen base to put two runners in scoring position. UK would post the first run when Ray grounded out to second, scoring Bisson and advancing Burns to third. Glad then scorched and RBI single to left-centerfield to score Burns. Glad later scored when Nidiffer knocked his first double of the season over the left fielders head to give UK a 3-0 lead.
Kentucky scored again in the third inning when Burns sent a laser over the left-centerfield wall. Leading off the third, Burns took the first two pitches for a 2-0 count before slamming a line-drive bomb over the leftfield wall.
UK posted its fifth run by the second homer of the day for Burns to almost the same spot in left center field. The native of Fort Collins, Colo., hammered the pitch deep over the left centerfield wall for his third homer of the year and his first multi-homer game of his career.
Morehead State got on the board in the sixth inning after a bloop single to left center by Andrew Deeds. The inning started with Kidd getting a strikeout of Drew Lee. Morehead State then got back-to-back singles from Michael Bottoms and Taylor Davis to put a runner in scoring position. Bottoms would score on the single by Deeds. Kentucky got out of the inning when Eric Bainer grounded out and Luke Bainer struck out looking.
The Eagles scored their second run of the game in the eighth inning when Lee led off with a triple and Bottoms drove him home with a sacrifice fly to center. Kaczmarek got out of the inning without any further damage, getting deeds to groundout to third and Eric Bainer to strikeout.