Undefeated Baseball Hosts UIC in Three-Game Set

March 1, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Off to the fourth-best start to a season in the over 100-year history of the program, Kentucky baseball returns to its homestand, hosting Illinois-Chicago in a three-game series, starting Friday at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The series will resume on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Baseball gameday

Kentucky - 8-0, 0-0 SEC
Illinois-Chicago - 2-5, 0-0 Horizon
Lexington, Ky.
Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)

UK Game Notes


UIC - Friday, March 2, 4 p.m.

Jr., LHP Taylor Rogers (2-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Sr., RHP Matt Heaslip (0-1, 8.38 ERA)

Radio: UK IMG (1580 AM in Lexington)
Live Audio
Live Video (subscription)
Text Updates

UIC - Saturday, March 3, 1 p.m.
Jr., LHP Jerad Grundy (1-0, 4.66 ERA) vs. Jr., RHP Joey Begel (0-2, 11.45 ERA)

Radio: UK IMG (630 AM in Lexington)
Live Audio
Live Video (subscription)
Text Updates
UIC - Sunday, March 4, 1 p.m.
So., LHP Corey Littrell (1-0, 2.77 ERA) vs. Sr., RHP Matt Salemi (0-0, 8.38 ERA)

Radio: UK IMG (1580 AM in Lexington)
Live Audio
Live Video (subscription)
Text Updates
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.
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors

$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating

Kentucky (8-0) joined the 1987, 2000, 2007 and 2008 teams to open up undefeated through its first eight games. Led by UK fourth-year head coach Gary Henderson, the Wildcats have been paced by an explosive offense, a lock-down defense and an effective pitching effort through the opening eight games. Henderson became just the third UK head coach in program history to lead UK to an 8-0 record to open up the season, joining Keith Madison and John Cohen.

The Wildcats are coming off a pair of mid-week wins, posting a 3-2 result over Morehead State on Tuesday and a 9-2 win over Xavier on Wednesday. UK has opened up the season with wins at Wofford and USC Upstate, a neutral-site win over Eastern Michigan and a series sweep over Buffalo last weekend to open the home schedule.

All three games will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with Dick Gabriel calling the action. The Friday and Sunday games will be on WGVN 1580-AM live in Lexington and online at UKathletics.com. The Saturday game will be on WLAP 630-AM in Central Kentucky and online at UKathletics.com.

UK will send its regular weekend rotation of Taylor Rogers (2-0, 3.00 ERA), Jerad Grundy (1-0, 4.66 ERA) and Corey Littrell (1-0, 2.77 ERA) to the mound. UIC will counter with right-handers Mat Heaslip (0-1, 8.38 ERA), Joey Begel (0-2, 11.45 ERA) and Matt Salemi (0-0, 8.38 ERA) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

A native of Littleton, Colo., Rogers enters his third start of the year leading the Southeastern Conference in strikeouts. Rogers has tossed 12 innings in 2012 with nine hits and four runs allowed, walking two and fanning 18. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound junior southpaw has made 29 career starts during his three-year career, owning nine wins and 106 strikeouts. Heaslip will start against UK, his third start of the year. He has tossed 9.2 innings in his two starts, allowing nine hits and 10 runs, walking six and striking out three.

Grundy, rated as the 57th-best prospect available in the 2012 MLB Draft in the preseason by Baseball America, will be making his third consecutive weekend start on Saturday. In his fist two career UK starts, Grundy - a transfer from Miami (Fla.) and Heartland CC - has tossed 9.2 innings, allowing 10 hits and five runs, walking five and striking out seven. In his previous two starts, Begel has hurled 11 innings, allowing 20 hits and 15 runs, walking five and striking out nine.

A native of Louisville, Ky., Littrell will make his third weekend start of the year on Sunday vs. UIC. The 2010 Louisville Slugger Kentucky High School Player of the Year, Littrell has tossed an SEC leading 13 innings in 2012, allowing only nine hits and four runs, walking two and striking out 13. On Sunday, Matt Salemi will draw the start, his second of the year. Salemi has tossed 9.2 innings in 2012 with 11 hits and 10 runs, walking five and striking out four.

Kentucky has been paced by a .330 team average, a 3.12 ERA and a crisp .987 fielding percentage. Individually, freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino leads the team with a .424 average (14-for-33) with five doubles, one triple, one homer and eight RBI, stealing two bases. Outfielder Zac Zellers owns a .412 (7-for-17) mark with a double, triple, two homers and five RBI, while fellow outfielder Lucas Witt has batted .360 (9-for-25) with five RBI. Catcher Luke Maile has charted a .400 average (12-for-30) with two doubles, three homers and 10 RBI, drawing seven walks without a strikeout and stealing four bases. Outfielder Cameron Flynn has launched two homers, two doubles and hit .357 (5-for-14), while second baseman J.T. Riddle has batted .333 (9-for-27) with a double and six RBI in 2012. Freshman A.J. Reed owns a .261 average (6-for-23) with two doubles, one homer and a team-best 11 RBI, drawing six walks.

In the pen, junior righty Tim Peterson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) has appeared in a perfect four games, not allowing a hit or a baserunner in 3.1 innings with seven strikeouts. Sophomore Trevor Gott (1-0, 6.00 ERA) owns the lone save for UK, striking out six in three innings, while lefties Sam Mahar (0-0, 0.00 ERA) and Alex Phillips (0-0, 1.42 ERA) have each appeared in three games in relief. Right-hander Walter Wijas (1-0, 5.06 ERA) has appeared in three games in relief, with six strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Reed (1-0, 1.35 ERA) has appeared in two games with one start, striking out three without a walk in 6.1 innings.

UIC (2-5) has hit .251 as a team through the first seven games, with a .948 fielding percentage and a 7.62 team ERA. UIC has been led offensively by Alex De Larosa and Jon Ryan, with both hitting .292. Ryan leads UIC with eight RBI, while Joe Betcher has hit .286 with five RBI. Ryan Shober paces the club with three doubles and four RBI. In the bullpen, UIC has been paced by Chris Hoffman (0-0, 2.45 ERA) who has appeared in a club-best four games in relief. Tim Suminski (1-0, 2.08 ERA) and Collin Weyer (0-1, 10.80 ERA) have each appeared in three games in relief.

The Wildcats leads the all-time series with UIC, 2-1, winning the series last season in Lexington. UK opened up the series with UIC with a 10-8 loss on Feb. 25. UK owned an 8-6 lead entering the top of the ninth inning before the Flames got to UK's early-season closer, Braden Kapteyn, who suffered his first career loss with four runs in the frame. Rogers made the start, going 6.2 innings, and allowing seven this and six runs - three earned - walking one and striking out six. Wijas tossed 1.1 shutout innings to set it up for Kapteyn. UK got a three-hit game from Michael Williams, who launched two homers and had three RBI. In a series evening 13-3 win on Saturday, UK got five innings from starter Alex Meyer, who walked five and struck out seven. Wijas pitched for the second consecutive game, with two shutout innings and Phillips finished off the game with two shutout frames. Taylor Black led UK at the plate with three hits and four RBI, while UK got three hits from Maile and Brian Adams, with Adams going 3-for-5 with an RBI. On Sunday, UK won the series with a 3-1 rubber match victory. Jordan Cooper started and went 5.1 innings, allowing one run and striking out one. Gott tossed 2.1 shutout innings, while Mike Kaczmarek picked up the save with 1.1 innings to conclude the game.

UK ranks throughout the league stats, checking in second in the SEC in average (.330), first in slugging (.530), third in on-base percentage (.432), fourth in runs scored (67), fourth in hits (92), fourth in RBI (63), second in home runs (11) and fourth in walks (42). On the mound, UK ranks fourth in strikeouts and defensively, its .987 fielding percentage ranks second in the league.

Individually, Maile ranks 11th in the league in average (.400), fifth in slugging (.767), seventh in on-base percentage (.526), first in runs (12), 10th in hits (12), eighth in RBI (10), fourth in total bases (23), 10th in walks (seven) and fifth in stolen bases (four). Cousino ranks seventh in average (.424), seventh in slugging percentage (.727), fifth in hits (14), second in doubles (five) and third in triples (one). Reed ranks second in the SEC in RBI (11). Littrell leads the SEC in innings pitched (13.0), ranking eighth in strikeouts (13), while Rogers checks in seventh in innings pitched (12.0) and first in strikeouts (18).

Coaches Clinic Announced for March 10
The Kentucky baseball team has announced its annual coaching clinic for March 10 at Cliff Hagan Stadium, set for 8-10 a.m. ET before UK's Saturday contest with Canisius.

The coaching clinic will consist of the UK coaching staff and several UK players going through a variety of drills and skills designed to help improve the skill sets of youth baseball players.

Please RSVP to Spencer Bridges (spencerbridges@uky.edu) in the UK Athletics Marketing Office (859.257.8022) no later than March 8th in planning on attending.