No. 1 Baseball Belts Six Homers to Win 20th Straight Home Game
April 5, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- No. 1 Kentucky launched a season-high six home runs - including a two-homer game from catcher Luke Maile and a grand slam from outfielder Zac Zellers - to lead UK to its school-record 20th consecutive home win with a 19-6 shellacking over Dayton, on Wednesday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (28-2) has now opened its season with a school-record 20 consecutive wins at Cliff Hagan Stadium, eclipsing the previous record of 16 consecutive home wins in 2006 and 2007. The Wildcats passed their first test as the newly ranked top-ranked team in the nation in a ranking by Collegiate Baseball, ranking No. 4 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll, No. 7 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll and No. 8 in the Baseball America top-25.
The NCAA leader in wins, UK is off to the best start to a season in program history sitting alone atop the Southeastern Conference standings after just three of 10 league weekends. UK is coming off SEC series wins on the road at No. 18 Georgia and Tennessee, in addition to a series sweep over two-time defending NCAA Champions, No. 2 South Carolina.
The Wildcats had a season-best 24 hits and belted a season-best six homers, the first six-homer game for UK since cranking six at Tennessee on April 30, 2010. UK got two homers from Maile, a grand slam from Zellers and homers from Thomas McCarthy, J.T. Riddle, and the first career homer from shortstop Matt Reida. Maile and Zellers each had four RBI, with Maile batting 3-for-5, with Zellers going 3-for-3 with a career-high four RBI. McCarthy finished 3-for-4 with three RBI, three runs and his fourth homer of the year. Reida also collected a career-high three hits, going 3-for-5 with two runs.
UK got multiple-hit games from Austin Cousino, J.T. Riddle, Jeff Boehm and Micheal Thomas, with UK also getting hits from Tyler Raymond, Lucas Witt, Steven Hoagland and Michael Williams. Cousino went 2-for-4 at the top of the order with his seventh steal and his team-high 11th double of the year, while Riddle hit his third homer, batting 2-for-5 with two RBI. Boehm recorded his first career double, going 2-for-2. Hoagland's hit was his first career knock, going as a double, with Raymond recording his second career hit.
UK starter Chandler Shepherd did not make it out of the first inning, allowing four hits and four runs, not issuing a walk and striking out two, plunking two hitters in his sixth career start. He was relieved with two runners on and two outs in the first inning by freshman Sam Mahar (2-1), who got out of the jam, before working a career-high 4.1 innings without allowing an earned run, walking one and striking out a career-best five.
Freshman A.J. Reed worked a perfect inning, striking out two, before turning it over to freshman Taylor Martin for his third career appearance, working one inning, allowing two hits and one run, striking out one. Freshman Spencer Drake worked the eighth inning, striking out his first three career hitters with one hit allowed. Junior Walter Wijas got the final three outs in the ninth.
Dayton (12-18) starter Tim Bury worked one inning, allowing two hits and one run, striking out one. Tommy Konrad (3-2) followed and worked one inning, allowing six hits and six runs, striking out one. UD also used Trent Haughn, Bryce Lahrman, Matthew Miller, Denton Sagerman and Mike Hauschild in relief.
UK will return to action for a pivotal three-game series between two of the hottest teams in the nation, hosting No. 10 Ole Miss, starting Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The games will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, available in Lexington on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
The Flyers got on the board in the top of the first inning, as Bobby Glover reached on a one-out single up the middle, taking second on Brian Blasik's seeing-eye single through the right side, just out of reach of Riddle's diving effort. After Shepherd hit C.J. Gillman to load the bases, A.J. Ryan doubled into the left-centerfield gap, scoring Glove and Blasik. After Shepherd got a strikeout with a runner at third and one out, Joe Gayda doubled over the wall in right-centerfield, scoring two to make it 4-0 Flyers.
Kentucky got a run back in the bottom of the first, as McCarthy drove a homer into the right-centerfield gap, clearing the wall for his fourth homer of the year and his second consecutive game with a blast.
Dayton got that run back in the top of the second, as Glover again singled up the middle with one out, bouncing high off the bag and into shallow centerfield. Blasick then singled up the middle, with the ball skidding by Cousino in centerfield for a two-base error, allowing Glover to score from first base.
In the bottom of the second, UK gained the lead for the first time, plating six runs on six hits to take a 7-5 lead. Zellers led off with a hard-hit single through the left side and Riddle followed with a high chopping infield single. Williams loaded the bases with a single to centerfield to bring up Reida with the bases loaded and no outs. Reida grounded back to the pitcher, who got the lead runner out at the plate, with Reida reaching on a fielder's choice to reload the bases with one out. Cousino then singled up the middle to score a pair and McCarthy followed with a single through the left side to score one. Maile then cranked a no-doubt, three-run homer over the centerfield fence, his seventh homer of the year.
In the bottom of the third, UK added two runs to its lead to take a 9-5 advantage. Zellers drew a walk to leadoff and Riddle deposited his third homer of the year over the rightfield fence, a line-drive blast that landed on the storage containers 50-feet behind the wall in right.
UK stretched its lead in the fourth inning, as Maile connected on his second homer of the night, a solo blast to the deepest part of the park, his eighth of the year.
The Wildcats got total of five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, taking a 15-5 lead. Reida launched his first career home run to right-centerfield to leadoff the inning, a line-drive shot that gave UK an 11-5 lead. Reida's first career homer came in his 182nd career at bat. Cousino and McCarthy then drew walks and Flynn loaded the bases with a two-out walk. Zellers then deposited his fourth homer of the year into the deck in right-centerfield, going as a grand slam to put UK up 15-5.
UK added a run in the bottom of the sixth inning, as Thomas led off with a double down the line, taking third on Reida's infield single. McCarthy then scored Thomas with a RBI single through the left side, his third hit of the game.
Dayton got a run in the top of the seventh inning, as Blasik led off with a single through the right side, scoring on a double into the gap from Zac Stewart.
UK got a run in the bottom of the seventh frame, as Boehm led off with a single up the middle and Witt was hit by a pitch. Riddle then hit into a line-drive double play, with Boehm out on the play. Thomas then recorded his career-high second hit of the game, with Reida following with an infield single, with Witt scoring on an error in the hole on the right side.
In the eighth inning, UK got another run, as Raymond singled to centerfield and Boehm poked a double down the opposite-field line. Witt then singled to third base to score Raymond, with Hoagland then making his third career collegiate at bat. Hoagland ripped a liner up the middle, bouncing off the glove of the shortstop and going as a double in his first career hit, allowing Witt to score the 19th run of the game for UK.
GAME NOTES: Freshman right-hander Chandler Shepherd worked a career-low 0.2 innings in his sixth career start ... Freshman reliever Sam Mahar has now inherited 12 runners on the year, allowing four to score ... Thomas McCarthy hit his fourth homer of the year, his second consecutive game with a homer ... Luke Maile drove his seventh double of the year to the opposite-field wall, bouncing high off the 30-foot wall in rightfield ... Maile's two-out double was his 10th two-out hit of the year ... McCarthy has now reached base safely in 21 consecutive games with his home run ... Michael Williams extended his hitting streak to a team-high seven games ... Austin Cousino has now reached base safely in 28 of his 29 career collegiate games ... Maile hit his team-leading seventh homer of the year in the second inning, evening him with Cameron Flynn for the club best ... Cousino clubbed his team-leading 11th double of the season ... Maile hit his eighth homer of the year in the fourth inning and his second homer of the game ... Maile is the first UK player to hit two homers in a game since Cameron Flynn launched two vs. Buffalo on Feb. 25 ... Zellers notched his seventh double of the year with one out in the fourth inning ... Matt Reida hit his first career homer in the fifth inning, coming in his 183rd career at bat ... Cousino stole his seventh base of the year in the fifth, tying him with Maile for the team lead ... Zellers hit his fourth homer of the year as a grand slam in the fifth, the first UK grand slam since A.J. Reed hit a grand slam in his first career home at bat on Feb. 24 ... UK's six-homer game is the most for a UK team since hitting six in a win at Tennessee on April 30, 2010, the final year before the bat standards were changed ... Micheal Thomas notched his third double of the year as a pinch hitter in the sixth ... Thomas recorded his first career multiple-hit game ... Spencer Drake made his second career pitching outing ... Reed had his streak of reaching base safely in 21 consecutive games snapped ... Drake recorded his first career strikeout ... Jeff Boehm set a new career high with two hits, including his first career double ... UK had a season-high 24 hits ... Steven Hoagland recorded his first career hit as a double in the eighth.