No. 30 Baseball Hosts No. 7 Florida in Three-Game Set

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Coming off its best week of the season, the No. 30 Kentucky baseball team returns to action with a pivotal three-game series, hosting No. 7 Florida on Friday-Sunday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Friday and Saturday games are set for a 7 p.m. ET first-pitch, with the series finale Sunday slated for a 1 p.m. ET start time at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

The Friday and Saturday contests will be televised by the Big Blue Sports Network, with Dick Gabriel (play-by-play), Ryan Lemond (sideline) and former UK infielder and MLB Gold Glove winner Doug Flynn (color) detailing the action. The Friday night game will be on live on CWKYT-TV in Lexington (Insight-Lexington channel 5), WYMO-TV in Louisville and Cox Cable in Gainesville, Fla. The Saturday night game will be on Fox Sports South (Insight-Lexington channel 52), CWKYT-TV in Lexington and Cox Cable in Gainesville. The Friday contest will also be seen live on FSS in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and parts of Alabama, with a delayed broadcast starting at 11:30 p.m. ET on FSS in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and parts of Alabama. The Saturday telecast will be seen on the full FSS footprint in the Southeast.

All three games 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 games live on WLAP 630-AM and in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM, in addition to complete coverage on

Kentucky (21-12, 4-8 Southeastern Conference) is coming off its best week of the season, posting a midweek win over No. 7 Louisville and posting its first series win of the season by claiming two of three games from No. 19 Alabama.

The Wildcats are in the midst of a brutal stretch in the schedule, facing ranked foes in 16 of 18 games and in the current streak of 12 consecutive ranked opponents. The remainder of the season, UK will face a ranked opponent in 25 of its final 39 games, traveling to non-ranked SEC foes, Auburn, Tennessee and Georgia, with midweek games at Indiana, against Lipscomb and at Murray State. Also still on the docket for the Wildcats are games against No. 19 Western Kentucky, No. 12 Louisville, No. 5 South Carolina and No. 6 LSU.

UK was dealt a harsh blow Wednesday, when head coach Gary Henderson announced that Alex Meyer, UK’s Sunday starter all season, was expected to miss three to four weeks due to mononucleosis. The Wildcats will remain with Logan Darnell (3-2, 4.62 ERA) as the Friday-night starter, with Taylor Rogers (4-3, 4.86 ERA) making his ninth career start Saturday. UK’s starter for Sunday is to be announced.

On Friday night, Florida will send ace sophomore lefty Alex Panteliodis (6-1, 1.99 ERA) to the mound to face Darnell. Panteliodis, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound southpaw, has made eight appearances and started six games, tossing a staff-best 45.1 innings, allowing 33 hits and 10 runs, walking seven and striking out 36. Darnell has tossed 48.2 innings in eight starts, walking 17 and striking out 38. Darnell’s best start of the season came in a complete-game shutout at San Diego on the third week of the season, handcuffing the Toreros with 90 pitches in a UK win. Last Friday night, Darnell went 4.2 innings against No. 19 Alabama, allowing six hits and three runs, walking two and striking out six. In his last start against Tennessee, Panteliodis went eight strong innings, allowing just six hits and two runs, not issuing a walk and striking out two, throwing 96 pitches.

Saturday, UK’s dynamic freshman lefty, Rogers, will face off with Florida’s freshman right-hander Hudson Randall (3-3, 3.98 ERA). Rogers has tossed a team¬-high 50 innings, allowing only eight walks and striking out 22. In his last start, Rogers set the tone for the UK series-clinching win vs. Alabama, going 7.2 strong innings, allowing only five hits and two runs, not issuing a walk and striking out five. Without one ugly start against Monmouth in San Diego, where Rogers allowed 10 runs in 2.1 innings, the UK lefty has totaled a 4-3 record and a 3.21 ERA in seven games, tossing 47.2 innings, allowing seven walks and striking out 21. Randall, a 6-foot-3, 180-pounder, has emerged as one of the better freshman starters in college baseball just eight appearances and seven starts deep in his career. Randall has tossed 40.2 innings, allowing 42 hits and walking eight, striking out 30. In Randall’s last start, he tossed eight innings, allowing only four hits and one run at Tennessee, not issuing a walk and striking out six. Both teams have not announced a starting pitcher for Sunday.

The Wildcats have been led offensively by Chad Wright, who leads UK with a .373 average (50-for-134), leading the club in hits (50), doubles (nine), triples (two), while adding two homers, 27 RBI and seven stolen bases. Gunner Glad has posted a .366 average (45-for-123) with eight doubles, seven homers, 33 RBI, stealing three bases. Keenan Wiley has hit .364 (43-for-118) with five doubles, one triple, four homers and 27 RBI, and 11 bases. Junior All-American second baseman Chris Bisson has hit .339 (38-for-112) with six doubles, two homers, 18 RBI and 15 steals. Braden Kapteyn has added a .295  average (31-for-105) with six doubles, four homers and 20 RBI, while Taylor Black has hit .283 (28-for-99) with four doubles, four homers, 21 RBI, adding seven stolen bases. Senior catcher Marcus Nidiffer has hit .266 (21-for-79) with three homers and 14 RBI, while Burns leads the club with nine homers, adding a .265 average (31-for-117), with five doubles, two triples, 19 RBI and six steals. Cory Farris has launched seven homers, with 20 RBI and three steals, complementing his .262 average (22-for-84). Junior Neiko Johnson has stolen 17 bases to lead the team and ranks second in the SEC.

In the bullpen, Matt Little (1-1, 2.89 ERA) leads the team with five saves in eight attempts, striking out 40 in 28 innings. Kapteyn (1-0, 0.93 ERA) has struck out nine in 9.2 relief innings with one save. Nick Kennedy (3-1, 3.54 ERA) has tossed 20.1 innings with one save and 29 strikeouts, while Mike Kaczmarek (1-0, 2.84 ERA) has tossed 12.2 relief innings with nine hits and 10 strikeouts.

Last week, UK notched a dominating 5-0 win over the Cardinals, using shutdown pitching from freshman Jordan Cooper (1-2, 5.53 ERA), Kaczmarek and Kennedy. In the Friday-night win over Alabama, UK was trailing 4-3 entering the bottom of the eighth inning. The Wildcats plated four in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a lead and held off a late rally from ‘Bama in the top of the ninth, as Little picked up his fifth save of the year, with the game’s final three outs. Saturday, UK posted an 8-2 win, plating four in the first two innings off undefeated Alabama starter Jimmy Nelson, with Wiley and Black each charting three hits. Lance Ray was a late addition to the starting lineup after Wright had a stomach illness and he responded with a double and a home run. On the mound, Rogers was magnificent, allowing only two runs and five hits in 7.2 innings, striking out five. Rogers allowed a single run in the first and posted six consecutive scoreless frames before being pulled in the eighth. In the Sunday game, UK jumped out to a 9-0 lead before Alabama responded to outscore UK 11-0 over the final four innings to post an 11-9 series-salvaging win.

Florida (23-9, 8-4 SEC) has hit for a .296 average as a team, fielding .980 and charting a 3.38 team ERA on the mound. The Gators have played a slew of games against ranked foes, posting wins over No. 10 Miami, No. 4 Florida State, No. 17 Ole Miss and No. 17 Vanderbilt. The Gators have posted series wins over Vandy, Mississippi State and Tennessee in conference play, falling in a series with Ole Miss. Most recently, Florida won the Friday and Sunday games in the series at Tennessee last weekend. During the midweek, UF lost to No. 6 Florida State 3-2 in a game played in front of 6,526 fans in Tallahassee, Fla.

The Gators have been led by reigning SEC Freshman of the Year Preston Tucker, a power-hitting first baseman who set the UF school record with 84 RBI, adding 16 homers during his freshman campaign. In 2010, Tucker leads the team with a .353 average (41-for-116), adding nine doubles, four homers and 24 RBI, drawing 27 walks and striking out just 12 times. Acclaimed freshman slugger Austin Maddox has hit .353 (48-for-136) with 10 doubles and team-highs in homers (nine) and RBI (37), drawing two walks and striking out 21 times. Centerfielder Matt den Dekker has added a .328 average (42-for-128) with three doubles, two triples, five homers and 22 RBI, leading the team with 10 stolen bases. Shortstop Nolan Fontana has hit .274 (29-for-106) with one homer and 10 RBI, while Josh Adams has added a .235 average (28-for-119) with five homers and 22 RBI. Catcher Mike Zunino has hit .211 (19-for-90) with two homers and 18 RBI. Outfielder Jonathan Pigott has hit .324 (12-for-37), with fellow outfielder Tyler Thompson (24-for-78) and Kamm Washington (20-for-65) adding .308 batting averages.

In the bullpen, UF has used Kevin Chapman (1-0, 1.16 ERA) on the mound as the closer, leading the team with 16 appearances and six saves, tossing 23.1 innings with 22 strikeouts. Jeff Barfield (1-0, 2.55 ERA), Hudson Randall (3-3, 3.98 ERA), Nick Maronde (2-0, 4.64 ERA), Anthony DeScalfani (2-1, 6.75 ERA), Justin Poovey (1-0, 7.02 ERA) and Greg Larson (1-1, 10.05 ERA) have each appeared in 10 or more games on the bump.

Florida leads the all-time series between the two schools 125-54-1 in a series that dates back to 1953. In games played in Lexington, Florida owns a 51-27-1 advantage. Florida has won five of the last eight meetings in the series, with UK winning the last series played in Lexington in 2008.

Last season, UK fell in the last SEC series of the season in Gainesville, dropping a rubber match with the Gators, with a UK win would have clinched a berth in the postseason. In the series opener last season No. 11 Florida used three runs in the fifth and five runs in the sixth inning to break open a 2-2 game. UK starter James Paxton was roughed up for nine runs in 5.1 innings, with UF senior leader Stephen Locke tossing 7.1 innings, allowing only three UK runs. UK got a three-hit outing from Wright, its leadoff hitter, and hits from Farris, Nidiffer and Chris Wade, with Nidiffer’s hit coming as a homer. In the second game of the series, UK starter Chris Rusin put the Wildcats in position to win the game, with UK holding off a late rally from the Gators for an 8-7 win. UK put up an eight-run inning in the third frame, breaking the 2-0 UF lead and chasing DeScalfani from the mound. Rusin went eight innings, allowing eight hits and six runs, but he loaded the bases with no outs and a five-run UK lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. Wright saved the game for UK in leftfield with UF’s slugger Tucker at the plate and the bases loaded after a Florida run had scored already in the frame. The UK leftfielder skied the wall to snag Tucker’s game-tying grand-slam shot, giving UK a precious out and keeping its hopes of the win alive. Darnell came on and got the next two outs to preserve the UK one-run win. DeScalfani went 2.2 innings, allowing six hits and seven runs in the game. Offensively, Farris led UK with three hits and a homer, while Nidiffer launched his ninth homer of the year. In the rubber match Sunday, UK needed to win to clinch a berth in the SEC Tournament, thanks to a Vanderbilt loss in Knoxville. The Wildcats got a career-high 12 strikeout outing from Meyer in five innings, but Florida scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh to erase an 8-8 game. UK committed a crucial throwing error that allowed the four decisive runs to score. Wright led UK with four hits, with Burns adding four RBI and a homer.

Overall in the series last season with Florida, UK was led by Wright, who batted .636 (7-for-11) with two doubles and one homer, drawing two walks without striking out. Nidiffer hit a homer in each game of the series, batting .444 (4-for-9) with five RBI, while Farris batted .417 (5-for-12) with a double, a homer and two RBI. Kapteyn hit .333 (4-for-12) with a double and two RBI, while Burns hit .308 (4-for-13) with a double and a homer, off UF’s Maronde, and four RBI. Wiley was held to a .167 (2-for-12) average with two RBI, while Glad batted .143 (2-for-14) and Bisson hit .100 (1-for-10) in the series last season.

UK ranks throughout the SEC stats, checking in as a team sixth in average (.303), fourth in slugging percentage (.488), sixth in on-base percentage (.403), second in home runs (47), first in hit by pitches (74) and first in stolen bases (14). On the mound as a team, UK ranks second in the SEC in runners picked off (17), walking the third-fewest hitters in the league (110) and allowing the second-fewest homers in the league (17). Defensively, UK ranks second in the league in chances (1,332), first in assists (406) and second in fielding double plays (34). Individually, Wright ranks 10th in the SEC in batting average (.373) and fourth in the league in hits (50). Burns ranks fifth in home runs (nine), while Johnson ranks second in the SEC in stolen bases (17), with Bisson ranking fifth in steals (15) and Wiley checking in 11th in stolen bags (11). On the mound, Rogers ranks fifth in the SEC in innings pitched (50.0), with Darnell checking in eighth (48.2). Meyer ranks fifth in the SEC in strikeouts (52) and looking strikeouts (18). Little ranks fourth in the league in saves (five), second in games finished (14) and fourth in games in relief (16). Nidiffer leads the league with four pickoffs from behind the plate. Defensively, Black ranks first in assists (112) and 11th in double plays turned (19). Glad ranks third in the league in chances (301) and third in putouts (271), ranking second in fielding double plays (30).


Kentucky – 21-12, 4-8 SEC
Florida – 23-9, 8-4 SEC

Head Coaches
•    Gary Henderson (San Diego State, 1984)
•    49-38 (.563) – 2nd year
•    Kevin O’Sullivan (Virginia, 1991)
•    99-55 (.643) – 3rd year

•    No. 30 (National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association)
•    Receiving votes (USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll)
•    No. 7 (Baseball America)
•    No. 12 (Collegiate Baseball Newspaper)
•    No. 9 (USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll)
•    No. 9 (National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association)

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Friday, April 16 * vs. No. 7 Florida * 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 17 * vs. No. 7 Florida * 7 p.m.
Sunday, April 18 * vs. No. 7 Florida * 1 p.m.

Radio (BBSN with Neil Price)
•    WLAP 630-AM in Lexington
•    WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville
•    WLAP 630-AM in Lexington
•    WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville
•    WLAP 630-AM in Lexington
•    WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville

Television (BBSN with Dick Gabriel, Doug Flynn and Ryan Lemond)
•    FSN South live in: Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and parts of Alabama
•    FSN South delayed at 11:30 p.m. ET in: Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and parts of Alabama
•    CWKYT (Insight-Lexington channel 5) in Central Kentucky
•    WMYO-TV in Louisville
•    Cox Cable in Gainesville, Fla.
•    FSN South live in full southeast footprint
•    CWKYT (Insight-Lexington channel 5) in Central Kentucky
•    Cox Cable in Gainesville, Fla.

Internet Coverage
Live video, audio and stats on

Tentative Pitching Matchups
Friday vs. Florida
LHP Logan Darnell (3-2, 4.62 ERA) vs. LHP Alex Panteliodis (6-1, 1.99 ERA)
Saturday vs. Florida
LHP Taylor Rogers (4-3, 4.86 ERA) vs. RHP Hudson Randall (3-3, 3.98 ERA)
Sunday vs. Florida

Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)

Inflatable Games: Available, weather permitting, down the third-base line.
Concession Stand: Check out the newest menu item at the Cliff Hagan Stadium concession stands - a Ballpark Hot Brown. Made with turkey dog, diced tomatoes, bacon and cheese sauce on a bun, this will be a fan favorite for years to come. Visit the concession stands and be one of the first to enjoy this unique treat.
Friday first-pitch: UK head football coach Joker Phillips

Parking at Cliff Hagan Stadium is FREE .

UK will utilize two lots: the C8 lot behind Shively Sports Center and the 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.