Baseball Hosts Pair of Midweek Tilts
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Winners of eight of its last 10 games and coming off a series victory over Tennessee to open conference play, the Kentucky baseball team will step out of league action to face Cincinnati on Tuesday and Canisius on Wednesday, with both games set for a 6:30 p.m. ET first pitch at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (12-8, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) has suffered only two losses in its last 10 games, including besting Tennessee in a three-game series to open league play last weekend. The Wildcats also posted a win over state rival Murray State last Tuesday, rallying from behind for a 7-6 win.
The two games will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with Neil Price and Dick Gabriel voicing the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the games live on WLAP 630-AM and online at UKathletics.com. The game on Tuesday is part of UK's Two-for-Tuesday promotion, where fans can buy any single-game ticket and get another single-game admission free.
UK will turn to its midweek starting staff for the two games, as freshman southpaw Corey Littrell (2-1, 6.75 ERA) will start on Tuesday vs. Cincinnati and freshman righty Jonathan Paquet (0-0, 5.14 ERA) will make the start on Wednesday vs. Canisius. Littrell will be making his fourth midweek start of the year and his sixth appearance of the season, owning 17 strikeouts in 21.1 innings pitched. In his last outing, Littrell – who was named SEC Freshman of the Week after his start against Eastern Kentucky – went 5.2 innings, striking out six and allowing five earned runs. Paquet has made two midweek starts this season, hurling seven innings in his two outings. The 6-foot-4 native of Quebec, Canada, has allowed 10 hits and four runs in his seven frames, walking three and striking out five. In his first career start, Paquet helped UK win at Morehead State on Feb. 22, also getting a starting assignment vs. Middle Tennessee State on March 9. Both Cincinnati and Canisius have yet to announce a starting pitcher.
Last weekend, UK welcomed red-hot Tennessee to Cliff Hagan Stadium for the SEC opener, claiming game one Friday night 5-3, before falling 12-8 on Saturday. In the rubber match on Sunday, UK rode a four-hit game from senior closer/outfielder Mike Kaczmarek and a three-RBI outing from freshman J.T. Riddle to a 7-3 series-clinching win.
Riddle had a monster week, batting .538 during the four games with a homer and eight RBI. Riddle's breakout game on Sunday included a three-run homer in the first inning, his first career homer, and a spectacular diving catch in rightfield to save extra bases. On the year, Riddle leads the Wildcats with a .381 average (16-for-42) with four doubles and 10 RBI, stealing 4-of-4 bases. After his dynamic week at the plate and in rightfield, the SEC tabbed Riddle the SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday afternoon.
As a team, UK has batted .303 with 120 runs scored, 15 homers and 38 stolen bases. On the mound, UK has a 3.86 ERA with seven saves in 177 innings, striking out 166, with the Wildcats posting a .976 fielding percentage. Individually, Riddle has led the Wildcats, with juniors Chad Wright and Braden Kapteyn helping carry the offensive load. Wright has batted .329 with seven doubles, three homers and 17 RBI, adding 10 steals, while Kapteyn has hit .320 with three homers and 17 RBI. Senior shortstop Taylor Black has added a .316 average with 14 RBI.
Cincinnati (10-6, 0-0 Big East) is coming off a series win over Western Michigan last weekend. The Bearcats have a .300 team batting average, with 98 runs scored through 16 games, slugging seven homers and stealing 26 bases. On the mound, Cincy has a 3.71 ERA and have fielded .970 as a club.
Individually for UC, Lexington native Justin Riddell leads the team with a .371 batting average (23-for-62) with six doubles and 18 RBI through 16 games. Jake Proctor has a .365 average (19-for-52) with a team-high three homers and 15 RBI, adding eight steals. Sam Vandebheuvel has hit .333 (16-for-48) with a double and four RBI, while Justin Glass has added a .323 average (20-for-65) with a homer and 10 RBI. Chris Peters has stolen seven bases and batted .304 (17-for-56) with seven RBI. In the bullpen, Zach Isler (1-1, 7.04 ERA) has made a club-high seven outings, with two saves in 7.2 innings. Cory Hough (1-0, 1.64 ERA) has a save in 11 frames and Matt Ring (1-0, 2.70 ERA) has struck out eight in 6.2 innings and five outings.
UK leads the all-time series with Cincy, 53-29-2, including wins in three of the last four meetings. In games played in Lexington, UK owns a 36-13-1 lead. Last year, UK rode a strong offensive game from Luke Maile to an 11-2 at Marge Schott Stadium in the Queen City.
Parking at Cliff Hagan Stadium is free.
UK will utilize three lots during UK's spring break: the C8 lot behind Shively Sports Center, the "R" lot, adjacent to the dorms or on the south side of the Nutter Training Facility, and the brand-new Parking Structure 7 on the corner of Complex Drive and Jerry Claiborne Way. All three 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.
Cliff Dwellers: Be sure to register at the gazebo to earn your way towards an official Cliff Dweller T-Shirt. Attend any four SEC home games and get a white version, eight games for the blue version and 12 games for the black version.
SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors
SEASON TICKET PRICES
$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating