No. 29 Baseball Hosts Red-Hot ISU in Three-Game Set

March 5, 2009

UK Game Notes | Indiana State Game Notes

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Fresh off a dramatic comeback win over state rival Eastern Kentucky, the No. 29 Kentucky Wildcats seek to set a new school record with its 25th consecutive home non-conference win, facing Indiana State in a three-game set, beginning Friday at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky (6-2) has won 24 consecutive non-conference home games, equaling the 1982-83 clubs' record of 24 straight. The Wildcats notched its 24th straight win in walk-off fashion Wednesday, getting a two-out, bottom of the ninth homer from infielder Chris Bisson to edge EKU 9-8. UK has not lost a home non-conference game since the 2007 campaign, a setback against Morehead State.

UK will open the series with Indiana State Friday at 4 p.m., resuming the series Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. ET start times. The games will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with live audio and video available on

The Wildcats will start junior southpaw James Paxton in the series opener against the Sycamores. Paxton has posted wins in each of his first two starts, notching a 2.31 ERA in 11.2 innings, striking out a staggering 17 and issuing just one walk. In his last start, Paxton hurled 5.2 innings, striking out 11. Saturday, Chris Rusin will get the call, fresh off his first win of the season against Western Michigan, a game that saw Rusin strike out a career-high 12. Rusin leads the conference with 20 strikeouts this season, with Paxton ranking second in the league.

Offensively, Bisson has helped lead the way with a .407 average, including two doubles, one homer and a team-best nine RBI, swiping two bags. Catcher Marcus Nidiffer has added a .346 average with a triple, a homer and six RBI. Center fielder Keenan Wiley and shortstop Chris Wade had each swiped a club-high four bases, with Wiley contributing a .310 average. Third baseman Chris McClendon has played in six of UK's eight games with five starts due to a minor injury, but his totaled a .333 average, with a homer and two RBI. Freshman Braden Kapteyn has hit a staggering .538 (7-for-13) in four games, with a double, homer and four RBI.

Indiana State (9-2) is off to a stellar start to the season, opening the year with a four-game series win at traditional power Citadel and posting a win over Indiana. The Sycamores have been led offensively by Brady Shoemaker (.452 avg., 5 2B, HR, 9 RBI), Nick Ciolli (.408, 5 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBI) and Luke Fieser (.393 avg., 2 2B, 3B, 10 RBI). As a team, ISU has hit .309 in 11 games, stealing 13-of-16 bases and fielding at a .979 percentage. On the mound, Michael Manus (1-0, 0.77 ERA), Eric Valdez (1-0, 2.19), Jacob Petricka (1-0, 2.45 ERA), Cordell Greene (1-0, 5.62 ERA) and Joe Rodriguez (1-0, 6.92 ERA) have each made two starts. As a team, ISU has posted a 4.34 ERA with 104 strikeouts in 103.2 innings.

The Wildcats lead the all-time series with ISU 5-4, with the Sycamores claiming the last two meetings, both in 2003 in Lexington.

UK Adds Two Games to 2009 Schedule
After losing a scheduled game due to weather last weekend, Kentucky has scheduled two make-up games for the 2009 season.

UK will play host to Georgetown (Ky.) College Tuesday, March 10 at 4 p.m. ET and Wright State Wednesday, April 1 at 6 p.m. ET.

Kentucky - 6-2, 0-0 SEC
Indiana State - 9-2, 0-0 MVC

Kentucky -No. 29 (Collegiate Baseball), RV (USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll)
Indiana State - not ranked

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) - Lexington, Ky.
Friday, March 6 * 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 7 * 1 p.m.
Sunday, March 8 * 1 p.m.

Tentative Pitching Matchups
Friday vs. ISU
LHP James Paxton (Jr., 2-0, 2.31 ERA) vs. TBA
Saturday vs. ISU
LHP Chris Rusin (Sr., 1-1, 6.75 ERA) vs. TBA
Sunday vs. ISU

Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)

Coaches Clinic
The Kentucky baseball program will hold its third annual FREE coaching clinic, Saturday, March 7, prior to UK's game with Indiana State. The clinic will be held from 8-10 a.m. ET at Kentucky's Cliff Hagan Stadium.

The clinic will include an intense breakdown of drills pertaining to pitching, fielding, hitting, base running and catching.

All coaches in attendance will receive free admission to the UK-Indiana State tilt Saturday, for themselves and a guest. All participants should follow regular baseball game parking guidelines, starting in the C-8 lot behind right field.

Parking at Cliff Hagan Stadium is free.

We 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