A.J. Reed Shines in 15-1 Rout at Tennessee
May 1, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- A.J. Reed worked eight, one-run innings on the mound and hit his NCAA-leading 20th home run of the year, with No. 25 Kentucky also getting homers from Storm Wilson, Matt Reida and Ka'ai Tom in a 15-1 rout of Tennessee, on Thursday night in front of 1,894 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
Kentucky (28-17, 10-12 Southeastern Conference) posted a series-opening rout over the Volunteers on ESPNU's Thursday Night SEC Game of the Week. The Wildcats busted open a 1-1 game with a six-run third inning, before plating two in the seventh and three runs in each the eighth and ninth innings.
UK was led by Reed, who worked eight innings on the mound while also belting his nation-leading 20th homer of the year. Reed, a 6-foot-4, 240-pounder, was walked on four pitches twice in his first three at-bats, before cranking a monster, three-run homer over the 40-foot batter's eye in dead centerfield in the eighth inning.
A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed (8-2) worked eight innings on the mound, allowing just three hits and one run, walking four and striking out nine. He finished his outing retiring nine straight hitters, after a leadoff walk started the sixth. Reed worked his ninth quality start in 12 outings in 2014 and the 18th of his career. Reed has worked at least seven innings in nine of his starts in 2014.
Reed has now hit .373 in 2014, with 12 doubles, one triple, 20 homers and 62 RBI, owning a .819 slugging and a .498 on-base percentage. On the mound, Reed made his 26th consecutive weekend opening start, lowering his ERA to 2.20 in 82 innings, striking out 58.
Reed became the eighth player in UK history to hit 20 or more homers and the first since 2006 SEC Player of the Year Ryan Strieby hit 20 during UK's league championship run. The midseason national player of the year by Perfect Game, Reed now has 37 homers and 157 RBI in his three-year career to rank tied for third in UK career history in both categories. In his pitching career, Reed has a 15-13 record and a 2.97 ERA - the fourth-best ERA in school history - in 218 innings, striking out 161.
UK also got the first career homer from Tom, who cranked a three-run shot in the third inning. Wilson completed the most exciting play in baseball later in the inning, lining a laser that got under the diving glove of leftfielder Christian Stewart, allowing Wilson to race home for an inside-the-park homer, his fourth of the year and his third in the last four SEC games. Reida hit his second homer of the year and the fourth of his career in the ninth inning, a three-run shot.
The Wildcats pounded out 15 runs on 10 hits, six walks and one hit batter, while turning two double plays to equal the SEC lead with 43 twin killings in 2014. UK got two-hit games from Wilson and catcher Micheal Thomas, with eight of nine UK starters notching hits and all nine starters scoring at least one run. Austin Cousino, Thomas Bernal and JaVon Shelby each added hits, with Max Kuhn drawing a walk and scoring twice.
After Reed exited with a 14-run lead to start the ninth inning, UK turned to sophomore Zach Strecker in relief, who worked around a pair of singles in a shutout ninth.
Tennessee (26-17, 8-14 SEC) starter Hunter Martin (3-3) worked six innings, allowing seven hits and seven runs - one earned - walking four and striking out eight. Martin allowed a single UK run in the second in a 1-1 game, before the Wildcats exploded with the six-run rally in the third inning. Righty Zac Grotz worked two innings, allowing two hits and five runs. Eric Martin came on to work the ninth, allowing three runs on one hit.
The series resumes on Friday at 6 p.m. ET at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.com, with Bob Kesling and Charlie Puleo calling the action. The game will also be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com. UK will send sophomore southpaw Dylan Dwyer (5-2, 3.96 ERA) vs. senior UT righty Nick Wiliams (4-4, 3.80 ERA).
The Vols got on the board in the bottom of the first inning, as Will Maddox led off with a chopping single up the middle, with A.J. Simcox following with a four-pitch walk. Maddox took third on a fly ball to centerfield, with Cousino holding Simcox to first base with a throw to second. Nick Senzel then lofted a fly ball to centerfield, allowing Maddox to score from first.
The Wildcats immediately answered with a run in the top of the second inning. Bernal led off the inning with a single to leftfield and Tom followed with a full-count walk. After a failed sacrifice bunt attempt put Thomas and Tom on first and second, Wilson then doubled down the opposite-field line, scoring Tom from second to make it 1-1.
UK then scored six runs in the top of the third inning, as Shelby started off the inning with a single to centerfield. Cousino then chopped a grounder to the right side, with Shelby and Maddox colliding on Maddox's attempted tag for a double play, going as an error. Kuhn then drew a 3-1 walk to load the bases for Reed. Martin got Reed to strike out swinging on a changeup, bringing up Bernal with the bases loaded and one out. Bernal then hung a line drive to left-centerfield, allowing Shelby to score for a 2-1 UK lead. Tom then smashed a no-doubt, three-run homer with two outs, his first career homer over the rightfield fence. Thomas then singled up the middle to bring up Wilson. Wilson lined a ball to leftfield, with it skidding under the diving glove of Christian Stewart. Wilson motored all the way home for an inside the park homer, giving UK a 7-1 lead.
UK added two runs in the top of the seventh inning, as Reed drew a four-pitch walk to leadoff the inning and Bernal was plunked by a pitch. After a hard-hit lineout from Tom, Thomas singled down the rightfield line, with Reed scoring from second base and Thomas taking second on an error. Wilson then hung a sacrifice fly to very shallow centerfield, with Bernal motoring home to beat the throw from Jackson, which was late and sailed up the first-base line.
UK added three runs in the top of the eighth, as Kuhn and Shelby reached with one out and Reed smashed a three-run homer over the batter's eye in centerfield, his NCAA-leading 20th homer of the year.
UK blew the game open with three runs in the top of the ninth inning, with Thomas drawing a leadoff walk and Wilson reaching on an error. Reida then smashed his second homer of the year over the rightfield videoboard, giving UK a 14-run lead.