Baseball Hosts Tennessee in Three-Game Series
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky baseball team will continue a five-game homestand with a three-game conference series vs. Tennessee, with the series lidlifter slated for Thursday at 7 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The series will resume on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and conclude on Saturday at 12 p.m.
The Thursday and Saturday games will be televised live on the SEC Network, with Clay Matvick and Chris Burke calling the action. All three games will be broadcast live on the UK Radio Network, available in Central Kentucky on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
Kentucky will alter its weekend rotation for the first time in league play, sending sophomore right-hander Zack Brown (2-4, 3.57 ERA) to the mound in the opener to face off with Tennessee veteran southpaw Andy Cox (1-1, 2.93 ERA). On Friday, UK junior righty Dustin Beggs (4-2, 3.02 ERA) will get the ball against UT senior right-hander Bret Marks (4-4, 3.20 ERA). Tennessee will send junior lefty Drake Owenby to the mound on Saturday, with UK yet to announce a starting pitcher.
A native of Seymour, Ind., Brown has made eight weekend starts and appeared in nine games in 2015, tossing 53 innings, allowing 49 hits and 26 walks, striking out 43. In his two-year career, Brown has appeared in 28 games with 13 starts, owning a 3-5 record and a 4.30 ERA in 81.2 innings, walking 37 and striking out 61. In his last start on Friday at Arkansas, Brown allowed three runs in the first two innings, before settling in and keeping UK in the game. Brown worked six innings, scattering 10 hits and five runs, walking four and striking out four. Cox has appeared in a team-high 15 games with one start, owning three saves in 30.2 innings, allowing 27 hits and 13 walks, striking out 32. Cox made his first start of the year vs. No. 23 Missouri, allowing six hits and two runs in six innings, walking one and striking out eight.
Beggs, a native of Roswell, Ga., has made nine weekend starts to open his UK career. Beggs has worked 56.2 innings in 2015, allowing just 46 hits and 12 walks, striking out 43 and allowing only a .217 opponent average. On Saturday at Arkansas, Beggs turned in his fourth win of the year, allowing just one earned run in eight innings, surrendering five hits and one walk, striking out six. Marks has appeared in 10 games with nine starts, working 56.1 innings, allowing 38 hits and 19 walks, striking out 68. Marks worked five innings in his last start vs. No. 23 Missouri, allowing six runs on eight hits, walking one and striking out eight.
Last week in its series finale at Arkansas, UK started junior right-hander Kyle Cody (2-4, 6.37 ERA). Cody has worked in nine games with eight starts, working 41 innings, allowing 44 hits and 10 walks, striking out 39. In his three-year career, Cody has appeared in 42 games with 24 starts, owning a 9-7 record and a 4.74 ERA. Owenby has worked in nine games with eight starts, tossing 47.2 innings, allowing 43 hits and 11 walks, striking out 41. Last week vs. No. 23 Missouri, Owenby worked 4.1 innings, allowing seven hits and five walks, striking out five.
Kentucky (19-16, 5-9 Southeastern Conference) is coming off a 5-3 midweek loss to Western Kentucky in 10 innings on Tuesday. Last weekend, UK suffered a series loss at Arkansas, with UK posting a 16-4 win in the middle game of the series.
UK has hit .299 as a team in 2015, with 209 runs scored in 35 games, owning a .401 slugging and a .387 on-base percentage, stealing 42 bases. On the mound, UK sports a 4.62 team ERA in 313.2 innings, allowing 322 hits and 109 walks, striking out 246.
At the plate, UK has been led by junior outfielder Ka'ai Tom, who has a .378 average with 11 doubles, one triple, two homers and 37 RBI, stealing 13-of-13 bases. Centerfielder Kyle Barrett has a .364 average with seven doubles, two triples, one homer and 18 RBI, stealing seven bases. Second baseman JaVon Shelby has a .336 average with eight doubles, one triple, four homers and 28 RBI. First baseman Evan White sports a .311 mark with five doubles, one triple, one homer and 16 RBI. Outfielder Dorian Hairston has belted a pair of homers to complement his .304 average, with three doubles and 11 RBI. Third baseman Thomas Bernal has a .295 average with six doubles, one homer and 22 RBI. Catcher Zach Arnold has a .278 average with catcher Greg Fettes belting three homers and driving in 13 runs. Shortstops Riley Mahan and Connor Heady have alternated at the position, with Mahan owning a .256 average, with a homer and eight RBI and Heady charting a .250 mark with a homer and nine RBI. Outfielder Storm Wilson has hit .245 with three doubles, two triples, one homer and 13 RBI, stealing six bases. Outfielder Marcus Carson has added a .237 average with three doubles, five RBI and five steals.
In relief for the Wildcats, junior righty Zach Strecker (2-0, 3.38 ERA) has appeared in a staff-best 15 games, working 18.2 innings. Dylan Dwyer (2-0, 2.33 ERA), Brad Schaenzer (0-0, 3.38 ERA), Andrew Nelson (2-2, 4.15 ERA), Spencer Jack (1-1, 4.85 ERA), Zach Logue (1-1, 5.18 ERA) and Logan Salow (1-1, 8.31 ERA) have each appeared in double-digit games.
Tennessee (15-17, 5-10 SEC) is coming off a 7-5 midweek loss at Middle Tennessee State on Tuesday night, with MTSU using a three-run seventh inning to post the win.
UT has hit .254 as a team in 2015, with 146 runs scored in 32 games, owning a .375 slugging and a .342 on-base percentage, stealing 35 bases. Defensively, UT has fielded .959 with 19 double plays turned and 15 runners caught stealing. On the mound, UT has a 3.97 ERA in 278.2 innings, allowing 246 hits, 115 walks, and striking out 259.
At the plate for the Vols, All-America outfielder Christin Stewart paces the club with 10 homers, a .306 average and 33 RBI. Nick Senzel has hit .352 with eight doubles, five triples, one homer and 19 RBI. Andrew Lee has a .315 average with four homers and 18 RBI, catcher David Houser has hit .279 with three RBI, shortstop A.J. Simcox has a .250 average with a homer and 18 RBI, stealing eight bases. Nathaniel Maggio has a .243 mark with three homers and nine RBI.
In the bullpen for UT, Lee (1-0, 1.76 ERA) has seven saves in 12 outings, walking only two in 15.1 innings, striking out 20. Andy Cox (1-1, 2.93 ERA) has three saves in 15 games and one start, working 30.2 innings with 13 walks and 32 strikeouts. Hunter Martin (1-1, 4.33 ERA), Steven Kane (2-1, 5.25 ERA) and Kyle Serrano (2-4, 5.40 ERA) have each appeared in double-digit games.
Tennessee leads the all-time series 164-143, with UK holding a 73-70 all-time advantage in games played in Lexington. Tennessee has won the last two meetings in the series, with UK's last series win coming in 2012, its last series win over UT in Lexington cming in 2009 and its last series sweep over Tennessee coming in 2008.
In the last meeting in the series in 2014 in Knoxville, the Vols won the final two games of the series to post their second consecutive series win over the Wildcats. In the series opener, UK posted a 16-1 win over the Vols behind eight innings from AJ Reed, and his 20th homer of the year. UK also got an inside-the-park homer from Storm Wilson and homers from Ka'ai Tom and Matt Reida. Wilson finished with a career-high four RBI, with Tom, Reida and Reed each charting three-RBI games. Hunter Martin started for UT, working six innings, allowing seven runs -- five unearned -- and four walks, striking out eight. In the second game of the series, UT jumped out with a four-run second inning and took an 8-2 into the sixth inning behind the pitching of Nick Williams and Kyle Serrano. Christin Stewart had four RBI to lead the Vols offense, with Derek Lance going 3-for-4 with two RBI. Dylan Dwyer started for UK, allowing six runs on five hits and four walks in three innings. Chandler Shepherd worked five innings in relief, allowing five hits and two runs, walking three and striking out four. Reida belted his third homer of the year and his second in the series to lead UK's offense, with Austin Cousino also charting two hits, including a triple. Andy Cox pitched UT to the series win in the rubber match, allowing one run on just two hits and six walks in 7.2 innings, striking out seven on 125 pitches. UK started Andrew Nelson, who allowed two runs on two hits in 4.2 innings. Logan Salow got two outs, allowing three runs, before Spencer Jack tossed 2.2 one-hit innings as UK attempted to rally from a five-run home, with the damage coming in a three-run sixth.
The last time the two teams met in Lexington was in 2013, UK posted a series-opening, 5-4 win, before the Vols rallied to claim the final two games of the series. In the opener, UK used 6.2 innings from AJ Reed, who allowed two runs on eight hits, adding a two-hit day at the plate. Kyle Barrett led UK's offense with a three-hit effort, with Zac Zellers adding a pair of knocks and RBI. UT started Aaron Quillen, who worked four shutout innings, exiting with UT holding a 2-0 lead. UK rallied in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 5-2 lead, with Trevor Gott working around a pair of unearned runs in the ninth for his ninth save of the year. UT rallied in dramatic fashion to even the series in the second game, posting a 10-9 win that saw UK score four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and strand the bases loaded as little used freshman infielder Jeff Moberg made his collegiate debut on the mound to throw five pitches for the one-out save. Nick Williams started for UT, allowing four hits and five runs, with UK started Jerad Grundy allowing nine hits and six runs in four innings. Chandler Shepherd worked 3.1 innings in relief, with UK getting a four-RBI game from Reed, who belted his ninth homer. Zack Goldey pitched the Vols to the series win in the finale, working a 130-pitch complete-game shutout to secure a 5-0 win. UT got two-hit games from Christin Stewart, Pierce Bily and Ethan Bennett, with Godley outdueling 7.1 innings from UK starter Corey Littrell.
Kentucky: 19-16, 5-9 SEC
Tennessee: 15-17, 5-10 SEC
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Thursday, April 16 * vs. Tennessee * 7 p.m. [SEC Network]
Friday, April 17 * vs. Tennessee * 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 18 * vs. Tennessee * 12 p.m. [SEC Network]
Radio (UK Radio Network with Neil Price)
WLAP 630-AM in Central Kentucky, WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville, UKathletics.com
Tentative Pitching Matchups
Thursday vs. Tennessee
So., RHP Zack Brown (2-4, 3.57 ERA) vs. Jr., LHP Andy Cox (1-1, 2.93 ERA)
Friday vs. Tennessee
Jr., RHP Dustin Beggs (4-2, 3.02 ERA) vs. Sr., RHP Bret Marks (4-4, 3.20 ERA)
Saturday vs. Tennessee
TBA vs. Jr., LHP Drake Owenby (2-4, 3.78 ERA)
Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)
Free gameday parking is available in the C-8 lot beyond rightfield or in the E lot adjacent to Cliff Hagan Stadium. The C-8 lot will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Once C-8 is filled, vehicles will be directed to park in the E lot next to Cliff Hagan Stadium. After the E lot is full, a limited amount of parking will be available in Parking Structure No. 7 on the ground floor. If you're parking in PS#7, please exchange your ticket for a pink payment voucher at the ticket booth, prior to the end of the fourth inning. Additionally, overflow parking will be available in the smaller E lots close to Cooper Dr., as well as the C-6 lot at Commonwealth Stadium. All fans are asked to please follow the signage provided to the nearest parking location.
SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors
SEASON TICKET PRICES
$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating