Joe Devine Pitches UK to Win in Non-Conference Finale
PADUCAH, Ky. -- In his third career start, Kentucky sophomore right-hander Joe Devine tossed a career-high 5.1 innings and struck out a career-best four, helping lead UK to a 6-3 win over Murray State in the final non-conference game of the 2010 regular season on Tuesday night in front of 1,571 fans at Brooks Stadium.
Kentucky (30-23) got a strong outing from Devine, who gave UK a strong start in the final nonconference game of the 2010 regular season. A native of Henderson, Ky., Devine tossed 5.1 innings, allowing three hits and one run, walking one and striking out a career-best four, with the lone run coming as a solo homer. Freshman Walter Wijas and junior Mike Kaczmarek then blanked the Breds out of the bullpen, before Logan Darnell picked up his first save of the season and the fourth of his career.
The win gives UK its 30th win of the season, the 13th 30-win season in program history and its fourth since 2000. With a 30-23 record in 2010 and with three regular-season games to play, UK has clinched its sixth consecutive winning season. UK has had winning seasons in six consecutive seasons only three times in program history, with the last coming in 1959-65.
The Wildcats were led at the plate by All-American second baseman Chris Bisson, who had the lone multi-hit game for the Wildcats, going 2-for-5 at the top of the UK order. Shortstop Taylor Black led the team with two RBI, both coming on a two-run double in the ninth inning. UK also got hits from Paducah, Ky., native Chad Wright, Andy Burns, Braden Kapteyn, Gunner Glad and Lance Ray.
Murray State (25-23-1) starter Dan Huff (1-3) lasted two innings for the Breds in what was a bullpen by committee game for Murray State. Huff, who went eight innings against the Wildcats earlier this season, allowed three hits and two earned runs, all in the first inning, against the Wildcats this time around. MSU then turned to Marc Harmon out of the bullpen, going two scoreless innings, allowing no hits and striking out four. Alex Love replaced Harmon in the top of the fifth inning, also going two scoreless innings with no hits allowed and one strikeout. MSU closer Matt McGaha tossed scoreless seventh and eighth innings, allowing only one hit and striking out one. The Breds turned to Derek Hayden to start the ninth inning, giving up a leadoff walk to Ray, prompting MSU to turn to Will Handlin. Handlin struggled, pitching one inning and allowing four hits and three runs, two earned while walking one.
UK will return to action with its final game of the 2010 regular season traveling to Georgia for a three-game series, beginning Thursday at 6:30 p.m. ET in Athens, Ga. The games will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the games live on WLAP 630-AM and in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM, in addition to complete coverage on UKathletics.com.
Kentucky started the scoring by plating two runs in the first inning. The inning started when Bisson doubled to right field, stealing third after Wright lined out to left for the first out. Glad then doubled home Bisson for the Wildcats first run of the inning with Glad scoring the second run when Ray singled through the right side, giving UK a 2-0 lead. The inning ended when Marcus Nidiffer and Kapteyn flied out.
MSU scored a run in the bottom of the fourth inning when Jason Laws blasted as solo homer over the right-field wall. The homer for Laws was his fourth of the season and cut the UK lead to 2-1.
UK sealed the game by tacking on four insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning behind several crazy plays. The inning started with a walk to Ray before two quick outs and a walk to Wiley to put two on for Black. Black would then double down the line, scoring two. Burns then stepped to the plate, singling in Black and scoring after stealing second and advancing home when the throw went into center field.
MSU got two runs back in the bottom of the ninth on a two-run homer by pinch hitter Daniel Hill.