No. 8 Baseball Hosts Marshall Wednesday

March 26, 2013

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Coming off a series win over No. 14 Mississippi State last weekend, No. 8 Kentucky returns to midweek action in hosting Marshall at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

The game was originally scheduled to be played on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. ET but inclement weather forced a rescheduling for 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday at The Cliff. UK has already lost two games of its 56-game schedule due to weather in 2013, non-conference tilts vs. Akron and Cincinnati.

Kentucky (18-5, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) picked up its second consecutive league series win to open conference play last weekend, besting the Bulldogs, a week after a series win at Florida. The Wildcats suffered a loss in the series opener on Friday night after three errors in the sixth erased a UK lead and led to three unearned runs. In a doubleheader on Saturday due to weather on Sunday, the Wildcats swept the twinbill with a 3-2 win in the opener and a 4-3 result in the finale.

UK will turn to sophomore righty Chandler Shepherd (1-0, 3.10 ERA) for his first start of the year in his ninth appearance. Shepherd will be making his 10th career start and his first since the 2012 NCAA Tournament Regional Championship game vs. No. 25 Kent State. Shepherd has worked 20.1 innings in 2013 in relief, walking seven and striking out 16. In his career, Shepherd has appeared in 26 games with nine starts, owning a 4-1 record and a 3.64 ERA, owning a save in 76.2 innings, walking 23 and striking out 49. Marshall has yet to announce a starting pitcher for Wednesday.

The Wildcats have been led by an offensive attack that sports a .292 average, a .414 slugging and a .402 on-base percentage. UK has hit 38 doubles, belting 15 homers and stealing 33 bases. On the mound, UK has a 2.55 ERA in 205 innings, walking 55 and striking out 176. Defensively, the Wildcats have a .971 fielding percentage, 21 double plays turned and have picked off six runners, allowing only six steals in 12 chances.

Individually, junior second baseman J.T. Riddle has hit .360 with five doubles, one triple, one homer and 17 RBI, stealing four bases and owning an 11-3 walk-strikeout ratio. Slugger A.J. Reed has hit .356 with four doubles, two triples, six homers and 28 RBI, with third baseman Max Kuhn hitting .318 with a club-best seven doubles, one triple, one homer and 19 RBI, leading the team with 20 walks and stealing five bases. Catcher Micheal Thomas has hit .291 with a double, homer and 14 RBI, while All-America centerfielder Austin Cousino has a .287 average with four doubles, four homers and 16 RBI, swiping eight bases. Paul McConkey has hit .273 with three doubles, one triple, one homer and 11 RBI, with outfielder Zac Zellers hitting .263 with a double, homer and nine RBI. Shortstop Matt Reida has a .231 average with three doubles, with outfielder Lucas Witt owning a .216 average with 10 RBI and five steals.

In the bullpen, Trevor Gott (2-0, 0.73 ERA) leads the team with 11 appearances, saving seven games in seven chances, working 12.1 innings, allowing only eight singles and three walks, striking out 15. Senior Walter Wijas (2-0, 0.73 ERA) has appeared in 10 games, tossing 12.1 innings, walking two and striking out 12. Freshmen lefties Ryne Combs (0-0, 1.35 ERA) and Dylan Dwyer (1-0, 0.00 ERA) have been weapons in the bullpen, with freshmen right-handers Tyler Cox (0-0, 4.15 ERA) and Zach Strecker (1-0, 1.42 ERA) appearing in a combined 12 games in the bullpen.

Marshall (10-12, 0-0 Conference USA) has hit .270 as a team, slugging .343 and reaching base at a .353 clip. The Herd has hit 38 doubles, two triples and four homers, stealing 16 bases. On the mound, Marshall has a 3.92 ERA in 186 innings, walking 72 and striking out 155. Defensively, Marshall has a .950 fielding mark, turning 20 double plays, picking off one rubber and allowing 38 steals.

Individually, Nathan Gomez leads the team with a .333 average, belting five doubles, one homer and 12 RBI. Andrew Dundon has hit .325 with four doubles, 10 RBI and three steals. Gray Stafford has batted .301 with seven doubles, one triple, one homer and 12 RBI, with Issac Ballou batting .294 with four doubles, nine RBI and four steals. Chase Vogelbach has a .293 mark with four doubles, one triple and 11 RBI.

In the bullpen, Ryan Hopkins (1-1, 2.55 ERA), Kolin Stanley (0-0, 8.59 ERA), Matt Hummel (0-0, 1.29 ERA), Wayland Moore (0-0, 4.32 ERA), King (0-0, 4.35 ERA) and Matt Margaritonda (0-3, 6.00 ERA) have each appeared in at least seven games in relief. Margaritonda has three saves in six innings, King has two saves in 10.1 frames and Hopkins has recorded one save in 17.2 innings pitched.

UK leads the all-time series vs. Marshall, 28-11, including a 22-8 mark in games played in Lexington. UK has won four of the last five meetings and has not lost at home since 2004, a 2-6 Marshall win.

In the meeting last year with Marshall, UK posted a 7-3 win, getting single runs in the first, fourth and seventh innings and two-run innings in the third and fifth. UK started Reed in the midweek tilt, with the lefty working five innings, allowing four hits and two runs, walking three and striking out seven. UK used Sam Mahar for 2.2 innings in relief, allowing just one run, with Wijas and Gott combining to work the eighth and ninth. UK was led by a three-hit game from Reida, with Cousino and Thomas McCarthy adding two-hit games. Thomas made his lone start of 2012 vs. the Herd, going 1-for-2 with three runs scored and two walks. Marshall starter Joe McGillicuddy got one out in the first, with the Herd using 10 pitchers in the game. The two teams met in 2011 in Charleston, S.C., with the Herd claiming a 6-4 win. UK started Taylor Rogers in Charleston, with the southpaw working six innings, allowing two runs and striking out seven. Gott suffered the loss in two innings of relief in his first career outing, dazzling early before UK allowed four unearned runs to score off the then freshman. Marshall starter Mike Mason worked five innings with two runs and seven strikeouts. Braden Kapteyn and Luke Maile each had two hits, with Maile driving in two runs.

Kentucky enters its 20th consecutive week ranked, checking in as high as No. 8 in the Baseball America top 25 poll. UK is also ranked No. 9 in the Collegiate Baseball top 30 and No. 10 in both the USA Today/ESPN and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association polls.

The Wildcats rank throughout the SEC stats, checking in No. 5 in average (.292), No. 4 in slugging (.414), No. 4 in on-base percentage (.402), No. 4 in runs (163), No. 3 in RBI (149), No. 4 in homers (15), first in hit batters (46), No. 4 in ERA (2.55) and No. 5 in double plays turned (21). Individually, Riddle ranks 12th in average (.360) and 14th in on-base percentage (.453). Reed ranks fifth in slugging (.655), 11th in on-base percentage (.462), sixth in RBI (28), fourth in homers (six) and sixth in total bases (57). Cousino ranks eighth in runs (23), seventh in homers (four), third in hit by pitches (eight) and ninth in steals (eight). Kuhn ranks 13th in on-base percentage (.454) and fifth in walks (20). Thomas ranks second in the SEC in HBP (10). Jerad Grundy ranks 11th in ERA (1.99), eighth in opponent average (.189), fourth in innings (40.2), sixth in strikeouts (38) and third in wins (five). Corey Littrell ranks fifth in innings (38.2), 10th in strikeouts (35) and second in runners picked off (three).  

Kentucky: 18-5, 4-2 SEC
Marshall: 10-12, 0-0 C-USA

Kentucky: No. 8 (Baseball America), No. 9 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 10 (USA Today/ESPN), No. 10 (NCBWA)
Marshall: not ranked

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Wednesday, March 26 * vs. Marshall * 3 p.m.

Radio (UK IMG Network with Dick Gabriel)
Wednesday: WLAP 630-AM in Central Kentucky

Internet Coverage
Live video, audio and stats on

Tentative Pitching Matchups
Wednesday vs. Marshall
So., RHP Chandler Shepherd (1-0, 3.10 ERA) vs. TBA

Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)

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 is available in the C8 and PS7 lots.

$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors

$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating