No. 23 Baseball NCAA's Lone Unbeaten after Saturday Win
March 10, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Behind a career-long 7.1 shutout innings from junior starter Jerad Grundy and a three-hit game from freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino, No. 23 Kentucky improved its NCAA-leading record to 15-0 with a 7-5 win over Canisius, clinching the series on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (15-0) now sits as the only team in college baseball still undefeated after previously unbeaten Gonzaga suffered a loss on Friday. The Wildcats are off to the third-best start in program history, equaling the 15-0 opening the 2000 team posted under Keith Madison. UK set the school record in 2007 and 2008 with a 19-0 start.
UK's league-leading offensive attack again exploded against the Golden Griffs, as UK pounded out 12 hits and nine runs, a game after posting a season-best 22 hits and adding 19 runs in the series-opening win on Friday. The Wildcats got a homer for the second consecutive game from junior outfielder Cameron Flynn, his club-best fourth of the year.
A native of Dublin, Ohio, Cousino charted three hits in four at bats, extending his hitting streak to 14 games, with multi-hit games in 11 of his 14 career contests. The freshman centerfielder has reached base safely in every game of his NCAA career and his 14-game hitting streak ranks as the best for a UK player since first-team All-America outfielder Sawyer Carroll ended his UK career on a 16-game hitting streak.
UK also got a game-high three RBI from freshman slugger A.J. Reed, who went 2-for-4 while hitting No. 4 in the order for the second consecutive game. Second baseman J.T. Riddle went 2-for-3 with two RBI, while shortstop Matt Reida delivered his third consecutive multi-hit game, batting 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk. The Wildcats also got a hit from catcher Michael Williams, who returned to the field after not making a start behind the plate since Feb. 25.
Grundy turned in a strong start for the Wildcats, his second consecutive dominating start. The junior southpaw tossed a career-long 7.1 shutout innings, allowing only three hits and two walks, striking out seven and facing only four over the minimum in his final pre-Southeastern Conference tune up. UK used freshman righty Taylor Martin in his second career appearance for the final two outs in the eighth inning, before Walter Wijas got one out in the ninth. With runners on the corners and one out after a fielding error in the ninth inning, UK turned to sophomore Trevor Gott, who allowed three hits without an earned run, and got the final two outs of the game by strikeout.
Canisius (7-7) starter Garrett Cortright (2-2) went six innings, allowing 11 hits and seven runs, walking three and striking out one. He was relieved by Alex Tufts, who tossed the final two innings of the game for the Golden Griffs.
The series will conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM and online at UKathletics.com. UK will send sophomore southpaw Corey Littrell (2-0, 1.89 ERA) to the mound to face off with CC standout freshman right-hander Devon Stewart (0-1, 3.12 ERA).
UK took an early lead in the bottom of the second inning, as Flynn led off with a monster home run into the deck behind the right-centerfield fence. The homer was Flynn's team-high fourth of the year and marked the second consecutive game with a homer for the Lexington, Ky., native.
The Wildcats added two runs in the bottom of the third inning, taking a 3-0 lead. Reida led off the inning with a single up the middle, moving to second after Cousino laced a single to centerfield. Zac Zellers then laid down a sacrifice bunt and Luke Maile loaded the bases with his 10th walk of the year. Reed then singled home two with knock through the right side, plating Reida and Cousino.
UK stretched its lead to 4-0 with a run on two hits in the bottom of the fourth inning. Riddle reached on a one-out single through the right side, swiping second base during Reida's at bat for his second steal of the season. Reida then smacked a single up the middle to score Riddle from second.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, UK plated three runs on three hits for a 7-0 advantage. Zellers drew a walk, taking second on a groundout up the middle from Maile. Reed then singled up the middle to score Zellers, advancing to second on a passed ball. Williams pushed Reed to third base with a single through the left side and McCarthy loaded the bags with a walk. Riddle then ripped a double down the rightfield line, with Reed and Williams scoring and McCarthy gunned down at the plate for the final out.
Canisius got on the board courtesy of the UK error in the ninth inning, plating five runs on four hits for the final margin 7-5.
GAME NOTES: Senior Michael Williams made his first start behind the plate since Feb. 25 vs. Buffalo ... Freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino singled to lead off the bottom of the first inning, extending his hitting streak to 14 games ... Cousino has hit safely in every game of his UK career ... Cousino's 14-game hitting streak is the longest for a UK player since consensus first-team All-America outfielder Sawyer Carroll finished his career on a 16-game hitting streak in 2008 ... Cameron Flynn hit his team-leading fourth homer of the year in the second inning ... Flynn homered in back-to-back games for the first time in his career, the first UK player to hit homers in consecutive games since Zac Zellers belted bombs in back-to-back games vs. Buffalo ... Cousino has multi-hit games in 11 of his 14 career collegiate games ... Luke Maile drew his team-leading 10th walk of the year ... A.J. Reed extended his hitting streak to six games with his two-RBI single ... Reed now owns a team-high six multi-RBI games ... With a single in the third, Matt Reida has now reached base safely in 10 consecutive games ... J.T. Riddle stole his second base of 2012 in the fourth inning ... Riddle delivered a clutch two-RBI, two-out double in the fifth inning, his second double of the year ... Jerad Grundy worked a career-long 7.1 innings, allowing only three hits and no runs ... UK's 15-0 start equals the third-best start in program history, with the 2000 team opening 15-0 ... UK is now the only undefeated team remaining in college baseball, owning the most wins and the longest winning streak in the nation.