No. 19 Baseball Hosts No. 8 Louisville in Rivalry Tilt
March 31, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After facing top-five teams on consecutive weekends for the first time in program history, No. 19 Kentucky will step out of Southeastern Conference play to host No. 8 Louisville in a rivalry tilt on Tuesday, with first pitch slated for 6 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The game will be televised live regionally on Fox Sports South and CWKYT-TV locally, with Dick Gabriel, Doug Flynn and Brian Milam calling the action. The game will also be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the game. Fans can hear the game live in Central Kentucky on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
With Kentucky softball hosting Louisville on Wednesday at the John Cropp Stadium, fans are encouraged to take part in a dual promotional opportunity to attend both midweek tilts. Softball season ticket holders will be able to show their Louisville ticket at the baseball game to receive free admission. Baseball fans will be able to show their Cliff Dweller bracelet at softball to receive free admission. Students receive free admission to both games with thei ID. Fans who attend both games will be eligible for a Nike prize pack. Fans can register at the Marketing Gazebo at baseball and bring their registration to the softball game for the drawing. A winner will be chosen during the softball game. Must be present to win.
UK and Louisville are both consensus top-25 teams, which marks the fifth consecutive meeting between the two teams as ranked foes. UK is ranked as high as No. 17 by Perfect Game, No. 19 in the USA Today/ESPN top 25, No. 21 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 22 by Baseball America. Louisville is ranked No. 8 by USA Today/ESPN, Collegiate Baseball and Perfect Game USA, also ranking No. 11 by Baseball America.
The Wildcats will turn to sophomore southpaw Dylan Dwyer (1-1, 4.12 ERA) to start against the Cardinals. Dwyer has appeared in six games with four starts, throwing one complete-game shutout in a midweek game vs. Cincinnati. Dwyer has worked 24 innings in 2014, allowing 17 hits and seven walks, striking out 27 and holding opponents to a .195 average. Louisville with counter with freshman left-hander Josh Rogers (0-0, 3.18 ERA), who has appeared in three games with one start in 2014. Rogers has worked 5.2 innings, allowing five singles and one walk, striking out four.
Kentucky (19-9) is coming off a series loss at No. 5 Vanderbilt over the weekend, claiming the opener, 4-2 behind a strong pitching performance from A.J. Reed and Kyle Cody. The Dores evened up the series on Saturday with a 9-3 win, before claiming the rubber match with a 6-2 win on Sunday.
With the win over No. 5 Vandy on Friday, the Wildcats have now charted a 4-3 record vs. top-five opponents in 2014, with UK’s trip to No. 5 Vandy and home series with No. 1 South Carolina marking the first time in program history that UK has faced top-five foes in consecutive weekends, with records dating back to 2003. UK has two wins over No. 1 USC, and a win over No. 1 Virginia and No. 5 Vandy to open the 2014 season.
Kentucky, last week’s NCAA leader in runs for the third straight week, has hit an SEC-leading .307 in 2014, with 57 doubles, six triples, 21 homers and 240 runs, stealing 48 bases and charting a .442 slugging and a .412 on-base percentage. UK has posted a 3.08 ERA on the mound, with three saves in 248 innings, walking 75 and striking out 181.
UK has been led at the plate by junior centerfielder Austin Cousino, who has hit .370 with nine doubles, two triples, two homers and 18 RBI, stealing 12-of-12 bases. Senior catcher Micheal Thomas has hit .359 with seven doubles, five homers and 29 RBI, with junior A.J. Reed leading the SEC in homers (nine), RBI (33), slugging (.704) and on-base percentage (.496), adding a .357 average. Third baseman Max Kuhn has hit .327 with nine doubles, two homers and 22 RBI, with leftfielder Ka’ai Tom hitting .324 with four doubles and eight steals. Rightfielder Kyle Barrett has hit .280 with five doubles, one homer and 17 RBI, stealing 10 bases. First baseman Thomas Bernal has a .261 average with 10 RBI, with freshman second baseman JaVon Shelby hitting .250 with five doubles, one triple, two homers and eight RBI.
The Wildcats have used the weekend rotation of Reed (5-1, 2.20 ERA), Chandler Shepherd (5-1, 3.26 ERA) and Andrew Nelson (1-2, 3.21 ERA) for four consecutive weeks, with Reed and Shepherd ranking tied for third in the SEC in wins. Reed owns a 3-0 record in his three starts vs. top-five opponents in 2014, including wins over No. 1 Virginia and No. 1 South Carolina.
In relief for UK, junior Spencer Jack (1-0, 0.56 ERA) has appeared in a team-high 13 games with one save in 16 innings, striking out 12. Freshman Logan Salow (1-1, 0.93 ERA) has a save in 9.2 innings and nine outings, striking out 12. Sophomore Kyle Cody (3-0, 1.10 ERA) has a save in 16.1 innings, making three starts in six appearances.
Louisville (21-6) is coming off a midweek win over Western Kentucky, a pair of wins over Xavier on the weekend, and one win over Butler. The Cardinals have hit .297 in 27 games in 2014, with 53 doubles, 11 triples, 14 homers and 193 RBI, stealing 63 bases. Defensively, UL has fielded .971, turning 24 double plays and allowing 24 steals. On the mound, UL has a 2.90 team ERA in 242 innings, with five saves, walking 101 and striking out 220.
The Cards have been led at the plate by Jeff Gardner, who has hit .385 with nine doubles, two triples, three homers and 24 RBI. Grant Kay has a .337 average with seven doubles, three homers and 30 RBI, stealing 13 bases. Cole Sturgeon has hit .304 with seven doubles, four triples, one homer and 16 RBI, stealing 10 bases. Danny Rosenbaum has hit .286 with 15 RBI, with Alex Chittenden hitting .275 and Zach Lucas hitting .272. Sutton Whiting leads the team with 17 steals, batting .260.
In the bullpen for UL, the Cardinals are paced by the hardest thrower in college baseball, closer Nick Burdi (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who took the loss in the first meeting in the series in 2013 in Louisville. Burdi has four saves in 10 games, working 10.1 innings, allowing five singles and three walks without a run surrendered, striking out 19. Sturgeon (1-0, 1.18 ERA) has appeared in nine games, along with Kyle McGrath (1-1, 1.40 ERA), who has 23 strikeouts in 19.1 innings. Robert Strader (0-0, 2.61 ERA) and Drew Harrington (1-0, 3.86 ERA) have each appeared in eight games, with Strader notching a save.
UK leads the all-time series with Louisville, 66-25-1, including a 32-14 all-time mark in games played in Lexington. UK and Louisville have split its two-game series four of the last six years, with UK sweeping in 2011 and Louisville sweeping during UK’s school-record 45-win season in 2012.
In the series last year, UK won the first meeting, 5-4 in 10 innings in Louisville, before the Cardinals posted a 12-5 win in the finale in Lexington. In the first meeting on April 2 in Louisville, UK plated two runs in the first inning, with the Cardinals getting a run in the bottom of the frame, before taking a lead with two in the third. UK evened up the game with a run in the sixth, before taking a 4-3 lead with a run in the top of the ninth inning. Louisville rallied with an unearned run off UK closer Trevor Gott in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. UK plated an unearned run in the top of the 10th inning off UL closer Nick Burdi to post the win, with Gott securing the win in the bottom of the 10th inning. UK started Kyle Cody, who worked 6.1 innings, allowing four hits and three runs – two earned – walking one and striking out four. UK used Ryne Combs, Chandler Shepherd and Gott in relief. Louisville started Kyle Funkhouser, who allowed two runs in two innings, walking three. Cody Ege worked three shutout, one-hit innings, with Dace Kime, Kyle McGrath and Burdi each tossing in relief. The Cardinals avoided the two-game sweep with a 12-5 win in Lexington on April 16, exploding for five runs in the third and six runs in the fifth for the win. UK started Cody, who allowed eight runs in four innings. Zach Strecker and Dylan Dwyer combined to work 2.2 innings, allowing three unearned runs after an error at second base by J.T. Riddle. UK got a three-RBI game from A.J. reed and a three-hit game from Kyle Barrett, with UL’s Jeff Gardner going 4-for-4 with four RBI. Jared Ruxer started for UK, working two innings and allowing three runs. Ege picked up the win with 2.2 innings in relief, allowing one run on three walks.
Kentucky ranks as the SEC leader in average (.307), slugging (.442), on-base percentage (.412), runs (240), RBI (205), homers (21) and total bases (430). UK also ranks second in hits (298), second in doubles (57), second in hit batters (53) and third in walks (127) and steals (48). Individually, Austin Cousino leads the SEC in hits (44) and steals (12), ranking fourth in average (.370), 10th in slugging (.529), 15th in on-base percentage (.424), second in runs (31), 10th in doubles (nine), second in total bases (63). A.J. Reed leads the SEC in homers (nine), RBI (33), slugging (.704) on-base percentage (.496) and total bases (69), also ranking ninth in average (.357), 14th in hits (35) and third in walks (21). Reed also ranks third in innings pitched (49) and third in wins (five). Micheal Thomas ranks eighth in average (.359), third in slugging (.598), eighth in on-base percentage (.440), ninth in runs (23), third in homers (five) and ninth in total bases (55). Max Kuhn leads the SEC in runs (34), ranking eighth in hits (37), ninth in total bases (52), 10th in doubles (nine) and ninth in RBI (22).
UK currently owns the No. 4 RPI in the nation according to the latest projections from Boyds World. UK will host Louisville, RPI No. 63, and No. 89 RPI Florida during its four-game week. UK has nine games remaining against teams currently ranked in the RPI top 20 and has four wins over RPI top-10 teams and five wins over top-20 RPI teams to open the 2014 season.
Kentucky – 19-9
Louisville - 21-6
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change)
vs. No. 8 Louisville * April 1 * 6 p.m.
Television (UK IMG Network with Dick Gabriel, Doug Flynn, Brian Milam)
• Fox Sports South
Radio (UK IMG Network with Neil Price)
• WLAP 630-AM in Central Kentucky
• WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville
Tentative Pitching Matchups
Tuesday vs. Louisville
So., LHP Dylan Dwyer (1-1, 4.12 ERA) vs. Fr., LHP Josh Rogers (0-0, 3.18 ERA)
Live audio and stats on UKathletics.com
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 the 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.
SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors
SEASON TICKET PRICES
$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating