Baseball Travels to Louisville for Tuesday Tilt

April 13, 2009

Live Blog from Cat Scratches

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Winners of 11 of the last 15 meetings in the series, the Kentucky Wildcats travel to Louisville for a mid-week matchup with the Cardinals Tuesday, with first pitch slated for 6 p.m. ET at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Kentucky (18-16) leads the overall series with Louisville, 62-31-1, including a 21-15-1 mark in Louisville. The Wildcats have owned the series since 2000, dropping only four matchups in 15 meetings, with two coming in the last two seasons. The two clubs have split its home and home series the last two seasons, squaring off in some memorable contests.

In the series last year, UK won the first meeting at Cliff Hagan Stadium, battling in a 12-inning affair that saw a walk-off home run from Wildcat center fielder Keenan Wiley, his first career homer in 244 at bats entering the heroic plate appearance. In the UK win, Clint Tilford got the starting assignment and pitched the best game of his career, going 6.2 innings with one earned run allowed, striking out five, issuing one walk and allowing only four hits. Wiley led the way in the UK win with four hits and two RBI, with senior second baseman Ryan Wilkes adding a 4-for-6 performance. In the Louisville win, UL posted single runs in the bottom of the eighth and ninth to erase a 5-4 UK lead and post a 6-5 win on a walk-off hit from Chris Dominguez. The walk-off came on a bases-loaded, two-out situation in the bottom of the ninth, with UK senior submarine reliever Brock Baber on the mound, when Dominguez singled into center field, driving home the winning run. Then-freshman outfielder Bryan Rose had a breakout game in Louisville, going 3-for-4 with four RBI, totaling a double and two home runs. Both games in the series in 2008 saw record crowds, with Louisville setting its school record with 3,652 fans and UK setting a new school mark with a 4,009 crowd at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Tilford, a 6-foot-2 195-pound right-hander, will get the starting assignment, his fifth start of the season. On the year, Tilford has totaled a 1-3 record and a 4.65 ERA, pitching 31 innings with 20 strikeouts, walking 10. In his career, Tilford, a junior out of West Paducah, Ky., has pitched in 39 games with 15 starts, totaling a 4.75 ERA and a 5-3 record. Louisville will counter with freshman left-hander Keith Landers, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound southpaw, has totaled a 1-0 record and a 2.84 ERA in two starts in 2009. Landers, a native of Worchester, Mass., has struck out nine and walked two in 6.1 innings. Landers, a 18th-round draft pick in 2008 MLB Draft of the Baltimore Orioles, was rated in the preseason as the 46th-best freshman in college baseball by Baseball America.

Louisville (24-9, 8-4 Big East) has won four consecutive games, including a three-game sweep of league foe Pittsburgh and a 15-1 non-conference win over Indiana. UL has hit for a .304 team batting average and posted a 4.06 ERA, striking out 284 and walking 107 in 303.2 innings. The Cardinals have been led offensively by its All-American third baseman, Dominguez (.323, 9 HR, 43 RBI, 13-17 SB). Phil Wunderlich (.344, 8 HR, 31 RBI), Ryan Wright (.344, 2 HR, 30 RBI), Josh Richmond, (.343, 5 HR, 26 RBI), Adam Duvall (.338, 13 2B, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 9-10 SB), Andrew Clark (.317, 12 2B, 5 HR, 31 RBI) and Jeff Arnold (.307, HR, 21 RBI, 10-13 SB) have each played in at least 30 games and hit for a average above .300. In the bullpen, Tony Zych (2-0, 0.47 ERA), Gavin Logsdon (2-0, 2.40 ERA), Gabriel Shaw (2-0, 3.55 ERA), Derek Self (3-0, 4.24 ERA), Thomas Royse (2-2, 2.88 ERA) and Bob Revesz (2-1, 4.68 ERA) have all appeared in 10 or more games, with Royse posting a team-best two saves.

The Wildcats have been led offensively by its sophomore second baseman Chris Bisson (.380, 9 2B, HR, 28 RBI, 8-10 SB). Veterans Marcus Nidiffer (.310, 5 HR, 22 RBI), Chris Wade (.281, 6 2B, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 8-9 SB) and Spencer Korus (.348, 3 2B, 2 HR, 13 RBI) have helped anchor the lineup. UK has relied heavily on freshmen to carry the offensive load, with Chad Wright (.309, 3 2B, HR, 9 RBI), Andy Burns (.258, 4 2B, 3B, 4 HR, 20 RBI), Braden Kapteyn (.309, 7 2B, HR, 13 RBI), and Cory Farris (.268, 8 RBI) seeing extensive time in the lineup. In the bullpen, relievers Tyler Henry (0-3, 4.54 ERA), Logan Darnell (3-2, 3.38 ERA) and Kapteyn (1-0, 5.74 ERA) have all appeared in 10 or more games in relief, with Kapteyn posting a club-high three saves. As a team, UK has hit for a .292 average and totaled a 4.99 ERA on the mound, striking out 320 in 296 innings.

The game can be heard 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 on WLAP 630-AM and in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM.

Following its mid-week tilt with the Cardinals, UK travels to Mississippi State for a three-game set in Starkville, April 17-19 at Dudy-Noble Field.