Baseball Opens Homestand Tuesday with Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After a four-game week on the road last week, the Kentucky baseball team will open a four-game homestand with a Tuesday matchup with Ohio in non-conference action, with first pitch at Cliff Hagan Stadium slated for 4 p.m.
Kentucky (13-6) will host Ohio in a Tuesday tilt at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game will serve as a non-league matchup for the Wildcats in advance of a home weekend series with Southeastern Conference foe, No. 20 Mississippi State.
The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network+ and WatchESPN, with Dick Gabriel and Keith Madison calling the action. The game will also be broadcast live on the UK Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action.
The Wildcats will turn to sophomore right-hander Robert Zeigler (1-0, 5.91 ERA) for his third career start in the matchup with the Bobcats. Ohio will counter with sophomore righty Jake Rudnicki (1-1, 11.74 ERA). Zeigler has worked in four games with two starts, tossing 10.2 innings, allowing nine hits and four walks, striking out 14. In his two starts, Zeigler has a 1-0 record and a 3.24 ERA in 8.1 innings. Rudnicki has made six starts, tossing 15.1 innings, allowing 29 hits and 14 walks, striking out 18.
Last week, the Kentucky baseball team completed a four-game road week during its SEC opener at No. 7 South Carolina, with the Gamecocks sweeping the Wildcats. UK picked up a 9-1 midweek win at Cincinnati on Wednesday, in a game that was originally scheduled for Tuesday in Lexington.
The Wildcats posted a 9-1 win in midweek play at Cincinnati on Wednesday, as junior leftfielder Ka'ai Tom hit for the second cycle in the history of the program and the first since Jeff Abbott in 1994. UK then traveled to face the seventh-ranked Gamecocks, seeking its first win in Carolina Stadium and its first since 2008. After a 10-1 setback in the opener, on the strength of a fifth-inning go-ahead grand slam from Max Schrock, USC then edged UK 4-3 on Saturday to clinch the home series. In a wild series finale, UK fell behind early on a pair of pop-ups that were allowed to drop into the infield that led to two runs. UK fought back to take a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth before Elliott Caldwell homered to even the game and Kyle Martin ended it with a two-run homer in the 10th inning.
On the year, UK has hit .293 as a team with a .384 slugging and a .376 on-base percentage, scoring 109 runs in 19 games, with seven homers. On the mound, UK has a 3.67 ERA in 171.2 innings, allowing 144 hits and 63 walks, striking out 166.
Individually, UK has been led by Tom, who sports a .389 average with six doubles, one triple, one homer and 19 RBI, stealing four bases. Catcher Zach Arnold has hit .383 with four doubles and two RBI, with centerfielder Kyle Barrett hitting .364 with five doubles, nine RBI and five steals. Second baseman JaVon Shelby has a .324 average with three doubles, one triple, two homers and 14 RBI. Freshman Riley Mahan has a .306 average with four doubles, one triple and six RBI. First baseman Evan White has a .306 average with a double, homer and 10 RBI. Third baseman Thomas Bernal has hit .275 with five doubles and 16 RBI. Shortstop Connor Heady has a .261 average with a homer and three RBI. Rightfielder Storm Wilson has a double, triple, .222 average and a club-best six steals. Catcher Greg Fettes has belted two homers and driven in nine runs.
On the mound, junior right-hander Zack Brown (1-2, 2.77 ERA) leads UK among its weekend starting staff a week ago, with junior righty Dustin Beggs (2-2, 3.23 ERA) and Kyle Cody (2-1, 3.62 ERA) rounding out UK's trio. In relief, southpaw Logan Salow (1-1, 5.91 ERA) has a save in a team-leading eight games, with senior Andrew Nelson (2-0, 4.00 ERA) also appearing in eight games with a save.. Senior Spencer Jack (0-0, 8.31 ERA) has two saves in seven games, with Zach Logue (1-0, 1.38 ERA) and Zach Strecker (1-0, 5.14 ERA) each appearing in seven games.
Ohio (10-6) is coming off a series loss to Siena over the weekend. The Bobcats has hit .310 as a team in 16 games, with 121 runs scored, a .400 slugging and a .392 on-base percentage, stealing 18 bases. Defensively, Ohio has fielded .969, turning six double plays and catching nine runners stealing in just 16 attempts. On the mound, OU has a 4.85 team ERA in 143 innings, allowing 153 hits and 84 walks, striking out 143.
The Bobcats have been led at the plate by Tyler Well, who has a .392 average with three doubles, three homers and 14 RBI. Mitch Longo has hit .375 with two doubles, two homers, 13 RBI and four steals. Manny DeJesus has a .375 average with four doubles and 11 RBI, with Ty Black hitting .346 with a homer and 10 RBI. Jake Madsen has a .345 mark with five doubles and 15 RBI, with Cody Gaertner hitting .318 with a homer and 13 RBI. John Adryan has hit .264 with two doubles and 10 RBI and Garrett black has a .242 mark.
In the bullpen, Ohio has seen a team-learing eight relief outings from Christian Botter (0-0, 1.54 ERA), Jake Miller (1-1, 2.38 ERA) and Tom Colletti (1-0, 5.56 ERA). Jeremy Cronk (0-0, 4.15 ERA), Spencer Sapp (0-0, 4.50 ERA), Corey Wells (0-0, 6.23 ERA) and Logan Jacik (0-0, 10.80 ERA) have each appeared in at least four games.
UK leads the all-time series with Ohio, 9-7, including an 8-6 all-time mark in games played in Lexington. UK has won four consecutive meetings, including a 6-3 result in the matchup in 2013.
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Tuesday, March 17 * vs. Ohio * 4 p.m.
SEC Network+ with Dick Gabriel and Keith Madison
SEC Network+ and WatchESPN
Radio (UK Radio Network with Neil Price)
Tuesday: Fox Sports 1580-AM in Lexington
Live audio and stats on UKathletics.com
Tentative Pitching Matchups
Tuesday vs. Ohio
So., RHP Robert Zeigler (1-0, 5.91 ERA) vs. So., RHP Jake Rudnicki (1-1, 11.74 ERA)
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