No. 16 Baseball Hosts Wright St., Murray St. in Midweek Action

March 12, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Off to a NCAA-leading 16-0 start to the season and owning the best offense in the Southeastern Conference, No. 16 Kentucky hosts a pair of midweek tilts during the week before opening up league play, hosting Wright State on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET and Murray State on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky (16-0) is off to the third-best start to a season in program history, eclipsing the 15-0 opening from the 2000 team. UK is just three wins shy of equaling the school-record for the longest winning streak and the best start to a season, set in 2007 and 2008 with a 19-0 start. UK is the only undefeated team remaining in college baseball, among teams with at least four games played, and owns the NCAA’s longest winning streak and the most wins in college baseball.

The Wildcats are coming off a three-game weekend sweep over Canisius and two midweek wins over Tennessee Tech and Marshall. UK has outscored its opponents 147-57 through the first 16 games. UK moved into the top-25 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches for the first time in 2012, checking in No. 20, also moving up to No. 16 in the Collegiate Baseball weekly top 30.

Kentucky ranks as the top offensive team in the league, pacing the SEC with a .349 average, a .452 on-base percentage, 147 runs scored, 191 hits and 136 RBI. UK also ranks second in the league in fielding percentage.

The two games will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, 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 UKathletics.com.

The Wildcats will send freshman southpaw A.J. Reed (2-0, 2.31 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday for his third career start. He will face the Raiders, who have yet to announce a starting pitcher at the time of this release. Reed has appeared in three games with two starts, tossing 11.2 innings, allowing only eight hits and three walks, striking out 10.

UK has been led offensively by its outfield tandem of freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino, junior Cameron Flynn, junior Zac Zellers and sophomore Lucas Witt. Flynn leads the team with a .441 average and four homers, adding four doubles and 13 RBI. Cousino has emerged as a jaw-dropping, electric talent in his first collegiate season, batting .326 with seven doubles, one triple, one homer and 13 RBI, stealing four bases and reaching base safely in every game of his collegiate career. Zellers owns a .364 average with four doubles, one triple, three homers and 10 RBI, while Witt has hit .353 with seven RBI. Catcher Luke Maile has batted .386 with five doubles, three homers and 21 RBI, while Reed leads the team with 23 RBI, adding a .333 average with five doubles and one homer. Through UK’s 16 games, Maile leads the club with six game-winning RBI.

In the bullpen, UK has been paced by junior righty Tim Peterson (1-0, 1.00 ERA) who has appeared in a team-best eight games, striking out 13 and allowing only four hits in nine innings. Trevor Gott (1-0, 3.18 ERA) leads the team with two saves, striking out 10 in 5.2 innings and seven relief outings. Lefty Sam Mahar (0-0, 2.16 ERA) has appeared in seven games, along with righty Walter Wijas (1-0, 7.56 ERA). Senior Alex Phillips (1-0, 2.31 ERA) has appeared in six games, with 14 strikeouts in 11.2 innings.

Wright State (6-7) has hit .259 as a team, with two homers and 45 RBI through 13 games. The Raiders have posted a .956 fielding percentage and a 6.05 ERA on the mound as a club, striking out 87 in 116 innings. Individually, Corey Davis leads the team offensively with a .339 average, with five doubles and six RBI. Ryan Ashe has hit .327 with two doubles, two triples and three RBI. Jake Hibberd owns a .300 average with four doubles and five RBI, while Justin Kopale has the two homers on the year for WSU. In the bullpen, Michael Schum (0-0, 2.57 ERA) leads the team with three saves and six relief outings, striking out 13 in 14 innings. Jordan Marker (3-1, 5.91 ERA) has appeared in seven gaems, with 12 strikeouts in 10.2 frames.

Murray State (8-8) has totaled a .264 average as a team, belting three homers through the first 16 games. The Breds have fielded .966 as a club, with a 5.41 ERA as a team with 100 strikeouts in 154.2 innings. Individually, Ty Stetson has paced the team with a .33 average, with five doubles and two triple. Mike Kozlowski has hit .323 with thre doubles, one triple and six RBI. Paul Ritzheimer owns a .306 average with three doubles, one homer and 10 RBI. In the pen, Luke Shuemaker (0-0, 0.77 ERA) has appeared in seven games with two saves, striking out 21 in 23.1 innings. Will Handlin (2-0, 2.55 ERA) has also appeared in seven games with one save, while Bryan Babin (1-0, 4.12 ERA) has made seven appearances, including three starts.

The Wildcats rank throughout the SEC stats, leading the league in average (.349), on-base percentage (.452), runs (147), hits (191), RBI (136), total bases (283), hit batters (33), batters struck out (163), wins (16) and runners picked off (seven). UK also ranks among the league leaders in nearly every offensive category, ranking second in slugging (.516), second in doubles (38), third in homers (16), second in walks (80) and second in fielding percentage (.981). Individually, Cousino ranks fifth in average (.426), 11th in slugging (.603), first in hits (29), third in doubles (seven), third in total bases (41) and second in at bats (68). Maile ranks 11th in average (.386), eighth in slugging (.632), seventh in on-base percentage (.507), second in runs (19), eighth in hits (22), fourth in RBI (21), seventh in total bases (36), ninth in walks (10), third in hit by pitches (six) and fifth in stolen bases (six). On the mound, Corey Littrell ranks ninth in ERA (1.88), ninth in innings pitched (24), sixth in strikeouts (28) and first in pickoffs (three). Taylor Rogers leads the SEC in strikeouts (33), ranking second in wins (three) and first in batters struck out looking. At shortstop, Matt Reida ranks second in the league in defensive assists (55).

UK leads the all-time series with Wright State, 8-7, including a win in 2010 in the last meeting in Lexington. The Wildcats posted an 11-1 win over WSU in 2010 in Lexington, as WSU plated a run in the top of the fourth inning before UK scored 11 unanswered for the win. UK starter Kyle Jackson, who went five innings without allowing an earned run. Mike Kaczmarek, Wijas, Chase Greene and Joe Devine all worked in the game, with Jackson picking up his lone career win. UK was led offensively by three-RBI games from Taylor Black and Keenan Wiley, with Chad Wright, Braden Kapteyn, Gunner Glad and Wiley each charting two hits. Max Friedman started for WSU, allowing four runs in one inning in the loss.

The Wildcats lead the series with Murray State, 12-5, winning 10 consecutive meetings in the series. UK posted a 7-6 win over Murray State in Lexington in 2011. Murray State took an early 5-0 lead over UK through three innings, before the Wildcats plated three runs in the fourth and sixth innings and one run in the fifth for the win. UK started Littrell, who worked 5.2 innings, allowing five earned runs with six strikeouts. Wijas, Gott and Kaczmarek each worked for UK, with Kaczmarek picking up a save with the final two outs of the game. UK got a two-hit, three-RBI game from Riddle off the bench, who replaced Witt in rightfield after the Lexington, Ky., native was injured. Maile, Brian Adams and Dallen Reber each added two hits.

Records
Kentucky – 16-0, 0-0 SEC
Wright State – 6-7, 0-0 Horizon
Murray State – 8-8, 0-0 OVC

Rankings
Kentucky: No. 16 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 20 (USA Today/ESPN coaches)
Wright State: not ranked
Murray State: not ranked

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Tuesday, March 13 * vs. Wright State * 4 p.m.
Wednesday, March 14 * vs. Murray State * 4 p.m.

Radio (BBSN with Neil Price)
Tuesday: WGVN 1580-AM in Lexington
Wednesday: WGVN 1580-AM in Lexington

Internet Coverage
Live video, audio and stats on UKathletics.com

Tentative Pitching Matchups
Tuesday vs. Wright State
Fr., LHP A.J. Reed (2-0, 2.31 ERA) vs. TBA
Wednesday vs. Murray State
TBA vs. TBA

Stadium
Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)

Parking
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.

Tickets
SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors

SEASON TICKET PRICES
$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating