Baseball Opens 2015 at the Battle at the Beach

Feb. 12, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky baseball team will open its 2015 season in Wilmington, N.C., in a three-game weekend at Brooks Field on the campus of UNC Wilmington. UK will face off with Ball State on Friday to open the season at 12 p.m., before a matchup with Richmond on Saturday at 12 p.m. UK will conclude the weekend with a 1:30 p.m. finale vs. UNCW.

All three games will be broadcast live on the UK Radio Network, with Dick Gabriel voicing the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the games live on Fox Sports 1580-AM, or online at UKathletics.com

UK will turn to a weekend rotation of junior righty Dustin Beggs for the season opener, with Beggs making his NCAA debut vs. a Ball State club that won 39 games a year ago. UK will then hand the ball to junior right-hander Kyle Cody (4-0, 2.84 ERA in 2014) on Saturday vs. Richmond, with the Wildcats yet to announce a starter for Sunday. UK will be opposed by Ball State ace righty Zach Plesac (12-2, 2.11 ERA in 2014) on Friday, Richmond senior southpaw Zak Sterling (5-5, 3.35 ERA) on Saturday and junior righty Evan Phillips (2-4, 6.54 ERA in 2014) on Sunday.

A 6-foot-3 righty out of Roswell, Ga., Beggs will be making his first career appearance with the Wildcats. It will mark the first time UK has started a rookie in its season opener since Taylor Rogers picked up the win vs. West Virginia in 2009 in Charleston, S.C. Beggs was a 17th round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals out of Georgia Perimeter College. In 2014, Beggs had a 11-4 record and a 1.65 ERA, working 103.2 innings, walking only 13 and striking out a junior-college leading 125. 

Cody, a 6-foot-7, 245-pound product of Chippewa Falls, Wis., enters the season as a third-team preseason All-America selection by Baseball America and is also rated as the 19th-best prospect available for the 2015 MLB Draft. In his two-year career, Cody has a 7-3 record and a 4.05 ERA, saving five games in 33 appearances, making 16 starts. In his SEC career, Cody has a 3.18 ERA and three saves. Sterling worked 91.1 innings in 2014, with a 5-5 record and a 3.35 ERA.

A 6-foot-2 junior, Phillips is coming off a 2-4 record and a 6.54 ERA in 11 games and eight starts in 2014.

Kentucky (37-25 in 2014) is coming off its eighth all-time NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014. UK must replace the nation’s most explosive offensive attack, as UK led all major conferences in runs scored. UK’s 2014 was highlighted by the feats of AJ Reed, the unanimous national player of the year. Reed had one of the top individual seasons in the history of the sport, leading the NCAA in homers, slugging and OPS, while pacing the SEC in pitching wins.

Kentucky owns a 59-41-3 all-time record in season openers. The Wildcats had their school-record streak of winning seven consecutive season openers snapped in 2011 loss at No. 20 College of Charleston. That streak bested the previous record of five consecutive seasons-opening wins. UK has won three consecutive season openers, besting Wofford in 2012, UNC Asheville in 2013 and No. 1 Virginia in 2014.

Ball State (39-18 in 2014) had a great season a year ago, posting a 22-4 record in the Mid-American Conference.

Richmond (24-28-1 in 2014) posted a 13-12 record in the Atlantic-10 in 2014. The Spiders return seven position starts and 12 pitches from its 2014 club. Junior infielder Doug Kraeger hit .308 with 20 doubles and 35 RBI, with outfielder Tanner Staley hitting .296 with five doubles and 23 RBI. Junior infielder Matt Dacey belted 12 homers and had 47 RBI in 2014.

UNC Wilmington (30-27 in 2014) finished 10-9 in the Colonial in 2014. UNCW was led in 2014 by first baseman Corey Dick, who had a .315 average with six homers and 38 RBI. Luke Dunlap hit .305 with 15 doubles and 22 RBI, with Casey Golden hitting .269 with four homers, 29 RBI and nine steals. Terrence Connelly hit .246 with a homer and 24 RBI.

2014 Records
Kentucky – 37-25, 14-16 SEC
Ball State – 39-18, 22-4 MAC
Richmond – 24-28-1, 13-12 A-10
UNC Wilmington – 30-27, 10-9 Colonial

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change)
vs. Ball State * Friday, Feb. 13 * 12 p.m.
vs. Richmond * Saturday, Feb. 14 * 12 p.m.
at UNC Wilmington * Sunday, Feb. 15 * 1:30 p.m.

Radio (UK IMG Network with Dick Gabriel)
Friday, February 13

  • Fox Sports 1580-AM in Lexington

Saturday, February 14

  • Fox Sports 1580-AM in Lexington

Sunday, February 15

  • Fox Sports 1580-AM in Lexington

Tentative Pitching Matchups
Friday vs. Ball State
Jr., RHP Dustin Beggs (junior college transfer) vs. So., RHP Zach Plesac (12-2, 2.11 ERA in 2014)
Saturday vs. Richmond
Jr., RHP Kyle Cody (4-0, 2.84 ERA in 2014) vs. Sr., LHP Zak Sterling (5-5, 3.35 ERA in 2014)
Sunday at UNC Wilmington
TBA vs. Jr., RHP Evan Phillips (2-4, 6.54 ERA in 2014)


Sunday at UNC Wilmington
TBA vs. Jr., RHP Evan Phillips (2-4, 6.54 ERA in 2014)