No. 23 Baseball Hosts Morehead State in Tuesday Tilt
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Off to an unbeaten start to the season, the 23rd-ranked Kentucky baseball team will host Morehead State for a Tuesday tilt before hitting the road for a three-game California road swing. First pitch Tuesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium is slated for 2 p.m. ET.
The game 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 game live on WGVN 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
Gates will open at noon and no admission will be charged.
Kentucky (6-0) is off to its third unbeaten start in the last four seasons, as the Wildcats opened with a school record 19-0 start in both 2007 and 2008. UK has notched three wins to claim the Caravelle Resort Invitational - including a 3-2 win over No. 12 Coastal Carolina - and posted a three-game sweep of Bowling Green last weekend.
Following the sweep of BGSU, UK has moved up in the polls after ranking as high as No. 29 last week. UK has cracked the Baseball America top 25, ascending to No. 23 while climbing to No. 25 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper top 30. The Wildcats are now ranked in all four major polling services, checking in No. 29 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association top 30 (NCBWA poll from last week) and receiving votes (essentially No. 27) in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, in addition to checking in No. 22 in the Rivals.com/Yahoo! Sports top 25 and No. 17 in the Ping! Baseball top 25.
The Wildcats have been led offensively by its preseason All-American second baseman, junior Chris Bisson. The Orleans, Ontario, native leads UK with a .385 (10-for-26) average, adding two doubles, one triple, two homers and 10 RBI, drawing four walks. Seniors Keenan Wiley (.350 avg., two 2B, HR, six RBI) and Marcus Nidiffer (.308 avg., two RBI, six BB) have also helped pace the UK offensive attack that has hit for a .285 average.
UK will start sophomore right-hander Sean Bouthliette, a native of Elizabethtown, Ky. Bouthilette, a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder, appeared in nine games with five starts last season, posting a 2-1 record and a 7.79 ERA. Bouthilette, who hasn't pitched in 2010, tossed 17.1 innings in 2009, allowing 27 hits and 20 runs, 15 earned, issuing seven walks and striking out 11. The Eagles will counter with redshirt sophomore right-hander Josh Schneider (1-1, 22.50 ERA). Schneider has tossed two innings this season, with five hits and five runs allowed, issuing two walks and striking out one.
Morehead State (4-5) has posted wins over Mercer and Lehigh so far on the young season, suffering setbacks at UNC Wilmington and at Louisville. The Eagles have been led by sophomore Taylor Davis, who has hit for a team-high .400 (14-for-35) average with a double and two homers, adding six RBI. All-America shortstop Drew Lee has added a .353 (12-for-34) average with four homers, and 11 RBI, while J.D. Ashbrook has totaled a .364 (12-for-33) average with three homers and seven RBI.
In the last meeting between the two schools, UK posted an 18-10 win in the home finale for the Wildcats in 2009. UK started Clint Tilford, who allowed eight hits and six runs with three walks in 1.1 innings, before Jonathan Huff, Mike Kaczmarek and Braden Kapteyn finished off the contest for UK on the mound, with Kapteyn fanning three and allowing just one hit in two frames. UK faced a 10-9 deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning before erupting for nine unanswered runs to claim the win. UK has led by a four-hit, five-RBI game from departed shortstop Chris Wade and a 4-for-5, four-RBI game from Kapteyn. Cory Farris added a career-best three hits and five RBI, with Gunner Glad belting two homers in a three-hit performance. MSU started Tyler Hieneman, who allowed seven runs in his two innings of work, with Trey Smith tossing four innings and allowing two runs in relief. Tyler Bess took the loss for the Eagles, allowing five runs in his inning of work.
UK owns a 41-25 all-time lead in the series with the two schools, winning two consecutive. Morehead State sprang a 9-6 loss on the Wildcats in a rain-impacted game in Lexington in 2007, with the contest finishing well after midnight due to weather delays.