Baseball Hosts UIC in Weekend Series

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After exploding offensively in wins over Morehead State and Eastern Michigan during the week, the Kentucky baseball team will return to action with a three-game weekend series with the University of Illinois-Chicago, with first pitch in game one on Friday set for 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The two teams will also meet on Saturday and Sunday, with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. ET.

The three-game series will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the Friday and Saturday games. On Sunday, Dick Gabriel will voice the action. The games can be heard live in Lexington on WGVN 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com.

Kentucky (2-3) is coming off a pair of impressive wins in the midweek, after falling in a three-game season-opening weekend at No. 20 College of Charleston. The Wildcats suffered losses at COC on Friday in the season lidlifter and fell to Marshall and Miami (Ohio) on Saturday and Sunday. After posting a .181 team average on opening weekend with a lineup full of first-year starters, the Wildcats exploded for 12 runs on 20 hits in a 12-3 win at Morehead State on Tuesday, before posting a 10-hit outing in a 5-2 win over EMU, a team that posted a win at No. 4 Clemson on opening weekend.

In Wednesday's win, UK got a dynamic pitching performance from freshman southpaw Corey Littrell, who carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his first career start. The Trinity High School product didn't allow a hit until the seventh inning, when EMU's No. 3 and No. 4 hitters tagged him for back-to-back hits, with the cleanup man turning on a first-pitch two-run homer. Littrell tossed only 77, with pitches 51 going for strikes in his first career start.

Through five games, the Wildcats have been led offensively by sophomore catcher Luke Maile, the 2009 Kentucky High School Mr. Baseball out of Covington Catholic. Maile has batted .444 (8-for-18) with three doubles and four RBI. Junior Braden Kapteyn has batted .350 (7-for-20) with two doubles, one homer and five RBI, while third baseman Thomas McCarthy leads the team with four doubles, batting .333 (6-for-18) with an RBI and two stolen bases. Junior outfielder Chad Wright has batted .333 (5-for-15) with two doubles, one homer and four RBI, drawing a team-best five walks and stealing three bases. Senior shortstop Taylor Black - rated as the 26th-best senior prospect in college baseball - has batted .278 (5-for-18) with three doubles and a triple.

In the bullpen, UK freshman right-hander Trevor Gott (0-1, 0.00 ERA) has worked 3.2 innings and struck out seven, while Kapteyn (0-0, 0.00 ERA) has tossed 1.1 innings with two strikeouts. Sophomore right-hander Walter Wijas (1-0, 0.00 ERA) has appeared in two games and hurled 5.1 shutout innings, allowing three walks and striking out five.

The Wildcats will start sophomore southpaw Taylor Rogers (0-0, 3.00 ERA) in the Friday matchup with the Flames, who will counter with sophomore right-hander Joe Begel (0-1, 8.53 ERA). On Saturday, UK will start junior right-hander Alex Meyer (0-1, 1.29 ERA), who was named the Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week on Monday, against UIC sophomore righty Charlie Weinberg (0-1, 6.00 ERA). UK will turn to sophomore right-hander Jordan Cooper (0-0, 11.25 ERA) on Sunday against UIC junior right-hander Matt Salemi (0-0, 1.80 ERA).

Rogers is coming off a strong start against Marshall in his season debut, taking a no decision after allowing two runs in six innings with no walks and seven strikeouts. A native of Littleton, Colo., Rogers allowed two runs in the first inning, off four hits, before settling down to throw five consecutive shutout innings. In his first start of the year for UIC, Begel tossed 6.1 innings, allowing 10 hits and six runs, walking four and striking out two.

A native of Greensburg, Ind., Meyer tossed the best game of his career in his season debut on Sunday against Miami (Ohio), earning Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week accolades. The 6-foot-9, 220-pounder struck out a career-best 13 in a career-high seven innings, allowing one earned run and suffering the hard-luck loss after UK made an error at the plate allowing the go-ahead run to score. In his seven frames, Meyer walked three and allowed only three hits. Weinberg took the loss in his first start of the year, allowing eight hits and five runs in six innings, walking three and striking out three.

UK will turn to Cooper on Sunday, with the sophomore coming off his first career save on Wednesday. After making the start in the season opener on Friday at No. 20 COC, Cooper was used in relief to get some work on Wednesday, throwing just six pitches to record his first career save in the win over EMU. In his first start of the year, Cooper allowed six hits and five runs through three innings, walking three and striking out three. UIC's Salemi had the best start of the opening weekend for the Flame, hurling five innings and allowing three hits and one run, walking three and striking out two.

Records
Kentucky - 2-3, 0-0 SEC
UIC - 0-4, 0-0 Horizon

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Friday, Feb. 25 * vs. UIC * 4 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 26 * vs. UIC * 1 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 27 * vs. UIC * 1 p.m.

Radio (BBSN with Neil Price/Dick Gabriel)
Friday: WGVN 1580-AM in Lexington
Saturday: WGVN 1580-AM in Lexington
Sunday: WGVN 1580-AM in Lexington

Internet Coverage
Live video, audio and stats on UKathletics.com

Tentative Pitching Matchups
Friday vs. UIC
So., LHP Taylor Rogers (0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. So., RHP Joey Begel (0-1, 8.53 ERA)
Saturday vs. UIC
Jr., RHP Alex Meyer (0-1, 1.29 ERA) vs. So., RHP Charlie Weinberg (0-1, 6.00 ERA)
Sunday vs. UIC
So., RHP Jordan Cooper (0-0, 11.25 ERA) vs. Jr., RHP Matt Salemi (0-0, 1.80 ERA)

Stadium
Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)

Parking
Parking at Cliff Hagan Stadium is free.

UK will utilize two lots: the C8 lot behind Shively Sports Center, and brand-new Parking Structure 7 on the corner of Complex Drive and Jerry Claiborne Way. Both parking lots are only steps away from Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Fans who park in the PS7 lot will be given a parking value card to exit the structure free of charge. Value cards should be picked up at the baseball ticket booth prior to the fifth inning.

Fans should not use the university "R" lots adjacent to the dorms or on the south side of Nutter Training Facility. These lots are patrolled by the university 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fans that park in these lots may be ticketed or towed. Plenty of parking will be available in the C8 and PS7 lots.

Tickets
SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors

SEASON TICKET PRICES
$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating