Baseball Hosts Xavier in Tuesday Tilt
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Winners of seven consecutive non-conference games, the Kentucky baseball team returns to action, playing host to Xavier in a Tuesday tilt, with first pitch at Cliff Hagan Stadium set for 6:30 p.m. ET.
The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WGVN 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
Kentucky has not lost a non-conference game since falling to Middle Tennessee State on March 9 at Cliff Hagan Stadium, reeling off seven consecutive non-league wins.
The Wildcats will turn to sophomore right-hander Jordan Cooper (1-1, 6.25 ERA) on Tuesday for his first non-conference start since facing Louisville on April 28, 2010. Cooper has made six weekend starts for UK and appeared in two relief outings, tossing 31.2 innings with 14 walks and 20 strikeouts. Cooper will be opposed by Xavier redshirt freshman right-hander Vinny Nottoli (3-0, 3.78 ERA). Nittoli has made six starts for XU this year, tossing 33.1 innings with 11 walks and 27 strikeouts.
Xavier (16-13, 2-4 Atlantic 10) has totaled a .295 average with 17 homers and 165 RBI through its first 29 games in 2011. As a team on the mound, XU has a 4.80 ERA and has posted a .977 fielding percentage. The Musketeers have been led by Ben Thomas, who has hit .429 with eight homers and 27 RBI. John McCambridge has hit .363 with three homers and 21 RBI, stealing 10 bases, while Ryan Bellamy has batted .352 with a homer and 14 RBI and Phil Bauer has hit .325 with a homer and 20 RBI.
Kentucky (15-14, 2-7 SEC) completed a four-game week on Sunday, posting a midweek win over Tennessee Tech, before falling in three games at defending NCAA Champion, No. 3 South Carolina. UK rode a 4-for-4, four runs scored outing from senior shortstop Taylor Black to the win over TTU on Tuesday, posting an 11-8 result.
The Wildcats then embarked on a trip to face South Carolina at the sparkling-new Carolina Stadium. UK suffered a 3-1 loss on Friday night, as USC Friday-night starter Michael Roth turned in a strong start in an electric atmosphere, outdueling UK righty Alex Meyer, who tossed his second complete game of the year, fanning eight. On Saturday, UK rallied from behind to take a 3-2 lead into the eighth inning, before USC struck with a game-tying run to force extra innings in front of a capacity 8,542 fans at Carolina Stadium. A one-out misplayed pop up in shallow centerfield turned into a double and the walk-off run in the bottom of the 10th inning. In the Sunday game, USC struck for two runs in the first inning, before UK starter Taylor Rogers settled in, hurling six consecutive scoreless frames. Facing a 4-0 hole UK rallied to load the bases in the seventh, eighth and ninth inning, getting a run in the eighth inning. Lefty Bryan Harper got the final out for the save in the ninth inning, leaving the bases loaded in a 4-1 loss, with the red-hot Gamecocks - who won the series at No. 1 Florida last weekend - sweeping the Wildcats.
As a team, the Wildcats have posted a .294 batting average through 29 games, owning a 3.83 ERA with eight saves in 254 innings, striking out 237. UK has been led by freshman J.T. Riddle, who owns a .342 average through his first 24 career games, adding two homers and 14 RBI. Junior outfielder Chad Wright has hit .333 with eight doubles, three homers, 21 RBI and 12 stolen bases. Centerfielder Brian Adams has batted .319 with seven doubles and six steals, while Black has added a .314 average with 19 RBI and nine steals.
On the mound, Meyer (3-4, 3.10 ERA) leads UK and the SEC with 62 strikeouts in his 49.1 innings, ranking fifth in the NCAA. UK freshman Corey Littrell (4-1, 4.82 ERA) had a strong week, making a pre-determined three-inning start to pick up the win over TTU and hurling a quality start in his first career SEC start at USC, in front of the capacity crowd. Littrell has tossed 37.1 innings in six starts and nine total appearances, striking out 28. In his six starts alone, Littrell has totaled a 4-0 record and a 2.91 ERA, striking out 22 in 34 frames, hurling a staff-high five quality starts. Freshman righty Trevor Gott (1-3, 0.47 ERA), sophomore Walter Wijas (3-0, 1.29 ERA) and senior Nick Kennedy (0-0, 2.61 ERA) have each appeared in 12 games, while lefty Alex Phillips (1-1, 2.51 ERA) has posted a club-best 13 relief outings. As a whole, UK's bullpen has totaled a 2.95 ERA.
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.
SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors
SEASON TICKET PRICES
$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating