Baseball Hosts Niagara in Weekend Set
March 10, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- In the midst of an 11-game homestand, the Kentucky baseball team returns to action, hosting Niagara in the final weekend non-conference series of the season, with first pitch of game one set for 4 p.m. ET on Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
All three games 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 games live on WGVN 1580-AM and online at UKathetics.com.
Kentucky (6-7) is playing 11 consecutive games at home and is currently in the midst of a stretch of five games in a six day span. The Wildcats posted an 8-1 win over Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday, before suffering a 9-5 loss to Middle Tennessee State on Wednesday. The weekend series is the last non-conference weekend of the year, as UK begins conference play next weekend, hosting Tennessee.
On Tuesday, UK rode a career-performance at the plate from senior shortstop Taylor Black, who charted a career-high four hits, stealing two bases and totaling a double and a triple. UK freshman southpaw Corey Littrell made his second career start and tossed a career-high seven innings, allowing only one run and three hits, with a career-best five punchouts.
In the loss on Wednesday, UK fought back with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game at 3-3, before an error allowed six unearned runs to score with two outs in the top of the seventh and lift MTSU to a 9-5 win.
The Wildcats will start its weekend rotation of sophomore southpaw Taylor Rogers (0-1, 5.40 ERA) on Friday vs. Niagara freshman Drew Fittry (2-0, 4.61 ERA). On Saturday, UK junior right-hander Alex Meyer (1-2, 3.86 ERA) will face sophomore right-hander Cody Kasper (0-3, 14.54 ERA). On Sunday, UK will turn to sophomore righty Jordan Cooper (1-0, 3.86 ERA) to face Niagara freshman lefty Joel Klock (0-4, 11.02 ERA).
Niagara (2-9) has played a stout early season schedule, traveling to face Wichita State on opening weekend, in addition to series at Virginia Tech and George Mason. The Purple Eagles posted impressive one-run wins at VT and George Mason, with Fittry recording both wins. As a team, Niagara has hit .243 with three homers and 47 runs through 11 games, fielding .961. On the mound, Niagara owns a 9.50 ERA in 90 innings, walking 45 and striking out 49.
Individually, Adam Wagner leads the Purple Eagles at the plate with a .353 average (12-for-34) with three doubles and three RBI. Wynton Bernard leads the team with 10 RBI, adding a .271 average (13-for-48) with one double. Cam Stykemain has hit .279 (12-for-43) with two doubles and five RBI, while Brian Deering has hit .244 (10-for-41) with seven RBI. In the bullpen, Geoff Soja (0-0, 3.86 ERA) has appeared in five games, along with Connor Sullivan (0-0, 15.26 ERA). Deering (0-0, 6.23 ERA) owns the lone save for the club, striking out five in 4.1 innings.
Rogers, a native of Littleton, Colo., is coming off a start in the opening day at the 2011 Houston College Classic in Minute Maid Park. Rogers faced high-powered No. 17 Rice and defending NCAA Player of the Year Anthony Rendon. A 6-foot-3, 170-pounder, Rogers went 5.1 innings, allowing 10 hits and six runs, walking one and striking out three. On the year, Rogers has made three starts - including two quality starts - tossing 18.1 innings with 24 hits, walking only two and striking out 16. Fittry owns the lone wins on the year for Niagara, as the freshman has posted wins at Virginia Tech and George Mason. In three games and two starts, Fittry has tossed 13.2 innings, allowing 11 hits and seven walks, striking out three.
Saturday, UK will turn to Meyer, a 6-foot-9, 220-pound native of Greensburg, Ind. Meyer is coming off a solid start at the HCC, going 6.2 innings, allowing five hits and four runs - with two runs scoring as inherited runners off the UK bullpen. Meyer has made three starts this year, tossing 18.2 innings, allowing only 11 hits and 11 walks, striking out a staff-best 26. Niagara will turn to Kasper, who has made four appearances and three starts, hurling 13 innings and allowing 24 hits and 23 runs, walking five and striking out nine.
Cooper will make his third start of the year on Sunday, with the Shelbyville, Tenn., native coming off the best start of his career in a win over red-hot Utah in the Houston College Classic last Sunday at Minute Maid Park. Cooper went seven innings, allowing only three hits and one run, striking out a career-high nine. On the year, Cooper owns 16.1 innings, allowing 17 hits and seven walks, striking out 13 and totaling a save in his lone relief outing. Niagara will start Joel Klock, who has made four starts on the year. Klock has hurled 16.1 innings with 27 hits allowed. Klock has allowed 27 hits and 21 runs, walking 10 and striking out 10.
UK has been led offensively by Black, who has totaled a .340 average (18-for-53) with five doubles, two triples, one homer and 12 RBI, drawing five walks and striking out just four times, stealing four bases. Centerfielder Brian Adams has hit .393 (11-for-28) in nine starts, adding three doubles and four RBI. Braden Kapteyn has hit .326 (15-for-46) with three doubles, one triple, two homers and 10 RBI, while catcher Luke Maile has added a .319 average (15-for-47) with four doubles, one homer and nine RBI. Outfielder Chad Wright has hit .313 (15-for-48) with four doubles, one homer and 11 RBI, stealing six bases. Third baseman Thomas McCarthy has added a .308 average (16-for-52) leading the team with seven doubles and adding four stolen bases. Freshman infielder/outfielder J.T. Riddle has hit .269 (7-for-26), while catcher Michael Williams has batted .240 (12-for-50) with two homers and eight RBI.
In the bullpen, freshman Trevor Gott (1-1, 0.00 ERA) and sophomore right-hander Walter Wijas (1-0, 1.59 ERA) have each appeared in a team-high six games in relief, with Gott striking out 13 in nine innings and Wijas fanning nine in 11.1 frames. Gott, Cooper and senior Mike Kaczmarek (0-0, 0.00 ERA) have each tallied saves.
COACHING CLINIC ON SATURDAY
The Kentucky baseball team will once again hold a youth baseball coaching clinic on Saturday morning before UK's game with Niagara at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The clinic will be held from 8 a.m. ET until 10 a.m. ET and is open to all youth coaches.
The clinic will feature talks from each member of the UK coaching staff. The clinic is free and each coach will receive a ticket for themselves and a guest for the game, set for a 1 p.m. ET first pitch. Please RSVP to Nathan Schwake at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (859) 257-5526
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.
SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors
SEASON TICKET PRICES
$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating