Nidiffer Hits Slam, Bisson Adds Career-High Four Hits in 12-4 UK Win

March 6, 2009

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Marcus Nidiffer’s first career grand slam and a career-best four hits from sophomore infielder Chris Bisson helped lead No. 29 Kentucky to its school-record 25th consecutive non-conference home win, a 12-4 drubbing of Indiana State, on a beautiful Friday evening at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky (7-2) set a new school mark with its 25th straight home non-conference game, eclipsing the previous record set during the 1982 and 1983 seasons. UK has not lost a home non-conference game since a 2007 setback against Morehead State.

The Wildcats were led offensively tonight by Nidiffer and Bisson, in addition to shortstop Chris Wade, who each played a vital part of Kentucky’s eight-run second inning that blew the game wide open. Nidiffer plated half of the runs on one swing of the bat, his first career grand slam, a no-doubt jack that almost cleared the neighborhood fence, a good 100-feet behind the left-field fence. The catcher from Bristol, Tenn., also singled in the inning and finished the game with three hits, four RBI and two runs scored.

Bisson, fresh off his walk-off, two-run homer - first home run of his career – two nights before against EKU, recorded a career high in hits with four. The second baseman finished with two RBI and three runs scored. Wade also got his bat going tonight with three hits, two RBI and two runs scored. The 2008 Southeastern Conference leader in doubles, Wade, recorded his second double of the year, a line drive shot off the top of the left center field wall in front of the scoreboard, missing a homer by the narrowest of margins.

On the year, Bisson is hitting .469 (15-for-32) with two doubles and a team-best 11 RBI. As a team, the Wildcats are hitting .330 and on the mound, UK has recorded a staggering 95 strikeouts in 79 innings. Nidiffer joins Bisson with a lofty batting average (.387 avg.), as well as freshman Braden Kapteyn (.500 avg.).

Junior Friday starter James Paxton pitched another solid game for the Wildcats. In 5.2 innings of work, the lefty scattered 12 hits, striking out six batters, without issuing a walk. After four scoreless innings of work, Paxton finally allowed the Sycamores to get on the board with a three-run homer to left, with the ball utilizing high-power winds to sail over the fence. Paxton left the game in the sixth inning with a 11-3 lead and picked up his third win of the season. Another southpaw, in sophomore Logan Darnell, shut the door on ISU in the last 3.1 innings, giving up no runs and just three hits. Darnell, a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder also picked up his first career save.

Saturday, the Wildcats and Sycamores will play game two of the three-game set. Kentucky will send senior lefty Chris Rusin (1-1) to the mound. In his last start, the Canton, Mich., native, went five innings, allowing just two earned runs while striking out a career-high 12 batters. The game will be broadcast on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with the Voice of the Wildcats, Neil Price. Fans in Lexington can catch the action live on WGVN 1580-AM.

Kentucky got eight runs on the board in the second inning led by Nidiffer’s first career grand slam. The catcher led off the inning with a single into left center field. Then a perfect bunt single by designated hitter Neiko Johnson would advance Nidiffer to second and eventually to third on a throwing error by the second baseman. Nidiffer later scored on a single through the left side of the infield by Wade. Kentucky later loaded the bases when Spencer Korus hit a bunt single down the third base line. That would bring up freshman Chad Wright, who hit a dribbler back to the mound. The Sycamore pitcher would underhand the ball to the catcher for a force out at home, leaving the bases loaded for Bisson. The sophomore would continue his hot hitting, grounding a ball through the left side of the infield bringing home Johnson and Wade. After a Braden Kapteyn strikeout, Keenan Wiley sent a rope up the middle to score Wade. Kentucky would load the bases again for the second time in the inning on an infield single by Frazier. The next pitch, Nidiffer got his second home run of the season with a grand slam well over the left field fence, giving Kentucky a 8-0 lead.

The Wildcats posted another rally in the third inning, getting a leadoff double off the very top of the wall by Wade. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Kentucky would get their ninth run of the game when Wade scored on a Korus groundout to short stop.

In the fourth inning, the Wildcats put a run on the board with a fielder’s choice by Wade. Frazier would start the rally with a one-out walk, advancing to second on a hard-hit single through the left side of the infield by Nidiffer. A wild pitch would then advance the runners to third and second, and after ISU decided to intentionally walk Johnson to load the bases, Frazier would score on Wade’s fielder’s choice.

Paxton got in trouble in the fifth inning when he gave up back-to-back singles to Ryan Strausborger and Koby Kraemer and then a three-run homer to Nick Ciolli. After UK head coach Gary Henderson had come out and talked to Paxton, Ciolli sent the ball just over the left field fence. It was the right fielders third homer of the season. The next batter hit an infield single to Wade and then Paxton gave up his fifth-straight hit on a line drive through the right side, putting runners on first and second. But Paxton settled down and after striking out Tyler Graham, the lefty got Bronco Lefrenz to ground out to Wade, sending Kentucky to the bottom of the fifth up 10-3.

Center fielder Keenan Wiley picked up an RBI in the fifth inning on a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher. Chad Wright started the inning with a walk, advancing to second when Bisson reached on a bunt single, moving to third on a throwing error on the shortstop. Bisson, a native of Orleans, Ontario, then advanced to second on a wild pitch, putting runners on second and third with one out. The second out of the inning came when Wright was thrown out at the plate on Kapteyn’s fielder’s choice, advancing Bisson to third, who scored when Wiley hit a perfect sacrifice bunt towards first base.

Paxton left the game in the top of the sixth inning when Darnell came in with runners on first and third and two outs. On the first pitch of the game for the lefty Darnell, Ciolli, who hit a three-run homer in his last at bat, lined a hard hit single into left center field, scoring Meggs. Darnell would get out of the inning, getting the next ISU batter to ground out to Bisson.

Kentucky added an insurance run in the seventh inning when Kapteyn got his second double of the year. With one out and Bisson on second after a single and a stolen base, Kapteyn would send a rocket into deep center field over the center fielders head to plate Bisson, giving the Wildcats a eight run lead.