Baseball Opens Home Season with Midweek Tilts
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After an exhausting 10-game, three-week road stretch, the Kentucky baseball team will open its 2015 home schedule, playing host to Murray State and Wright State in a pair of midweek tilts, slated for Tuesday and Wednesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. UK will face Murray State on Tuesday in a doubleheader, starting at 1:30 p.m., before hosting Wright State on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
The final two midweek games will be UK’s first baseball telecasts on the SEC Network+, with Jeff Piecoro and Doug Flynn voicing the action. The games will also be broadcast on the UK Radio Network, with Keith Elkins on the call. Fans can hear the games in Lexington on Fox Sports 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
Last week, with Kentucky displaced from its home-opening week due to inclement weather, the Wildcats scrambled to find opponents and a venue. UK traveled to play in the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla., sweeping Nebraska-Omaha in two games, also posting single wins over Northeastern and Mount St. Mary’s.
Kentucky (7-3) extended its winning streak to five games over the week, dating back to a series finale win at No. 16 UC Santa Barbara last Sunday. UK posted a 6-5 win over Nebraska-Omaha in opener on Friday, a 14-inning marathon that ended with a Thomas Bernal walk-off single with the bases loaded. UK then posted a 5-1 win over UNO in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, with Kyle Cody firing seven no-hit innings as UK narrowly missed its first combined no-hitter since 1974. UK then fought through a rain delay that left the facility without electricity in the nightcap, rallying from behind to post a 5-4 win over Northeastern. UK wrapped up the weekend with an 8-2 win over Mount St. Mary’s on Sunday, as Robert Zeigler made his first career start and picked up his first career win.
UK’s pitching staff posted a 1.76 ERA over the four-game week, holding two different teams to only two hits in UK wins. As a team, UK has hit .313 with six homers and 62 runs scored offensively, owning a 4.01 team ERA, walking 37 and striking out 86 in 92 innings.
Individually UK has been led at the plate by junior leftfielder Ka’ai Tom, a 2014 first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection. Tom has hit .472 with four doubles and nine RBI, owning a .553 on-base percentage and Zach Arnold has charted a .375 mark. Centerfielder Kyle Barrett has hit .429 with four doubles and six RBI, with Bernal batting .366 with four doubles and a team-best 12 RBI. Freshman first baseman Evan White has a .333 average with a homer and seven RBI, with sophomore shortstop Connor Heady sporting a .286 mark, with a homer and two RBI. Sophomore second baseman JaVon Shelby has a .282 mark with a double, triple and two homers, with Storm Wilson charting a .256 mark with three RBI and five steals. Freshman shortstop Riley Mahan has added a .250 mark, with a double and triple, and catcher Greg Fettes has two homers and eight RBI.
Murray State (3-7) opened up its season with a sweep at the hands of Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss. The Breds’ then picked up a win in a three-game series with IPFW and Dayton, also earning a midweek win at Southern Illinois.
The Breds’ have hit .229 as a team in 2015, belting 18 doubles, three triples, five homers and scoring 44 runs in 10 games. On the mound, Murray has a 6.54 team ERA in 85.1 innings, walking 35 and striking out 83.
Individually, Murray has been paced at the plate by Tyler Lawrence, who has hit .294 with a double, two triples and two homers. Taylor Mathews has a .278 average with a double, with Matthew Johnson belting a homer with three RBI.
In the bullpen, Murray State has picked up a save from Cody Maerz, who has worked 7.2 innings. Tyler Anderson (1-1, 3.68 ERA), Brandon Hicks (0-1, 4.66 ERA), John Lollar (0-0, 5.06 ERA) and Andrew Bramley (0-2, 9.95 ERA) have each worked in at least four games.
Wright State (5-4) opened its season with three wins in Nashville, including two vs. Toledo and one vs. Belmond. The Raiders then ventured to face No. 18 Ole Miss, picking up one win in the three-game set. WSU is coming off a trip to No. 11 Miami, picking up the win in the finale.
The Raiders have hit .279 with 16 doubles, three triples and seven homers, scoring 59 runs in nine games with a .370 on-base percentage. On the mound, WSU has a 3.81 ERA as a team, saving three games, working 75.2 innings, walking 31 and striking out 58.
At the plate, WSU has been led by a .412 average from Ryan Fucci, who has four doubles, a triple, three homers and 11 RBI. Mitch Roman has hit .333 with four doubles and seven RBI. Gabe Snyder has added a .320 mark with two doubles, two homers and 10 RBI.
In the bullpen for WSU, Logan Blair (0-0, 0.00 ERA) has worked in five games, with E.J. Trapino (1-0, 3.18 ERA) owning a club-best six appearances. Andrew Elliot (0-2, 6.35 ERA) has two saves in five outings.
Murray State: 3-7
Wright State: 5-4
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Tuesday, Feb. 25 * vs. Wright State * 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 26 * vs. Dayton * 6:30 p.m.
Television (SEC Network+ with Jeff Piecoro and Doug Flynn)
SEC Network+ and WatchESPN
Radio (UK Radio Network with Keith Elkins)
Tuesday: Fox Sports 1580-AM in Lexington
Wednesday: Fox Sports 630-AM in Lexington
Live audio and stats on UKathletics.com
Tentative Pitching Matchups
Tuesday vs. Murray State
TBA vs. Sr., RHP John Lollar (0-0, 5.06 ERA)
Tuesday vs. Murray State
TBA vs. TBA
Wednesday vs. Wright State
TBD vs. TBD
Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)
Free gameday parking is available in the C-8 lot beyond rightfield or in the E lot adjacent to Cliff Hagan Stadium. The C-8 lot will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Once C-8 is filled, vehicles will be directed to park in the E lot next to Cliff Hagan Stadium. After the E lot is full, a limited amount of parking will be available in Parking Structure No. 7 on the ground floor. If you’re parking in PS#7, please exchange your ticket for a pink payment voucher at the ticket booth, prior to the end of the fourth inning. Additionally, overflow parking will be available in the smaller E lots close to Cooper Dr., as well as the C-6 lot at Commonwealth Stadium. All fans are asked to please follow the signage provided to the nearest parking location.
SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors
SEASON TICKET PRICES
$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating