No. 2 Baseball Hosts Cincinnati in Tuesday Tilt


April 16, 2012

UK Notes

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Fresh off one of the biggest series victories in the history of the program, No. 2 Kentucky returns from a road trip for a four-game homestand, starting by hosting Cincinnati on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky (32-5, 11-4 Southeastern Conference) enters its midweek clash having won 21 of its last 22 non-conference games, with its last loss coming vs. No. 19 Louisville last Tuesday. UK is coming off a monumental series win at No. 9 Arkansas, claiming just the second series victory in Fayetteville, Ark., in program history. UK now sits in a tie with No. 1 LSU for the lead atop the SEC standings, with UK hosting the red-hot Tigers in a three-game series, starting Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET, in a clash of No. 1 vs. No. 2.

The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.

The matchup with Cincinnati will complete the two-game series, as UK posted a 10-7 win at Marge Schott Stadium on March 21. UK used a strong start from Chandler Shepherd (3-0, 4.20 ERA) and homers from Luke Maile and a four-hit game from Thomas McCarthy for the win, with Alex Phillips locking down the save.

For the first time in two weeks, UK fell from the No. 1 spot in the Collegiate Baseball poll, dropping to No. 2. UK is also ranked No. 3 by Baseball America and in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll.

Cincinnati will start senior lefthander Brad Mergen (0-2, 10.29 ERA), who has appeared in eight games with two starts, tossing 14 innings, allowing 24 hits and three walks, striking out seven. UK wills end freshman lefty Sam Mahar (2-1, 2.21 ERA) to the mound for his first career start. Mahar has worked in 13 games in relief with great effectiveness, tossing 20.1 innings, walking seven and striking out 22.

The Wildcats have been led by the most explosive offense in college baseball, pacing the league in nearly every category.  UK has hit .317 as a team in 2012, belting 81 doubles and 41 homers, stealing 34 bases in 37 games. On the mound, UK owns a 3.62 ERA as a club, totaling 11 saves in 328 innings, walking 97 and striking out 314.

Individually, freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino has hit .349 to pace the team atop the order, with 15 doubles, one triple, five homers and 29 RBI, stealing seven bases. A.J. Reed has added a .336 average with eight doubles, three homers and 36 RBI, while McCarthy owns a .319 average with 13 doubles, five homers and 23 RBI. Maile has hit .319 with nine doubles, nine homers and a team-leading 36 RBI, stealing eight bases. Flynn has added six doubles and nine homers, driving in 28 RBI.

In the bullpen, sophomore right-hander Trevor Gott (1-0, 1.35 ERA) is emerging as the top closer in college baseball, with his eighth save in the series-clincher at Arkansas going as his school-record tying eighth of the season. Gott has appeared in 15 games, tossing 13.1 innings, allowing eight hits and four walks, striking out 21. Tim Peterson (2-0, 2.37 ERA) leads the club with 18 relief outings, totaling one save and allowing only 13 hits and three walks in 19 innings, striking out 22. Senior Phillips (5-1, 2.67 ERA) has two saves in 16 relief outings, tossing 33.2 innings, allowing 22 hits and seven walks, striking out 29. Walter Wijas (2-0, 6.62 ERA) has appeared in 14 games, tossing 17.2 innings with 15 strikeouts. Reed (4-1, 3.77 ERA) has appeared in 10 games with four starts, tossing 28.2 innings, walking six and striking out 31.

In the meeting earlier in the year, UK won 10-7 at Marge Schott Stadium, with UK jumping out to a 6-0 lead. UK starter freshman Shepherd, who worked 5.2 innings, allowing five hits and two runs, striking out two. Phillips got the save with two innings to finish off the game. McCarthy had a season-best four hits in the win at UC, with Maile batting 3-for-3 with two RBI and a homer.

Cincinnati (12-23, 2-10 Big East) has hit .286 as a club through 35 games, with 18 homers and 179 RBI, stealing 44 bases and fielding .967 as a club. On the mound, UC has a 4.60 ERA as a club, with 315 innings, 122 walks and 246 strikeouts.

Individually, Justin Glass leads the team with a .377 average, totaling 14 doubles, two homers, 21 RBI and 11 steals. Joey Bielek has hit .364 with 12 doubles and 21 RBI, while Jake Proctor has a .301 average with nine doubles, one triple, two homers and 25 RBI, swiping a club-best 13 bases. Matt Williams has added a .252 average with two homers and 16 RBI.

In the bullpen, Thomas Gentile (1-2, 4.54 ERA) has appeared in 13 games with one start, tossing 39.2 innings, with 38 strikeouts. Zach Isler (0-4, 3.33 ERA) leads the club with 15 relief outings, totaling four saves and 29 strikeouts in 24.1 innings. Art Warren (0-0, 4.64 ERA) has appeared in 11 games with one start, tossing 21.1 innings, with 15 strikeouts.

UK leads the SEC in nearly every offensive category, pacing the league in average (.317), slugging (.483), on-base percentage (.406), runs (275), hits (402), RBI (251), doubles (81) and total bases (614). UK also ranks second in homers (41) and second in hit batters (61).

Individually, Cousino ranks sixth in average (.349), eighth in slugging (.559), second in runs (39), fourth in hits (53), 12th in RBI (29), first in doubles (15), 11th in homers (five), second in total bases (85) and 13th in steals (seven). Flynn ranks second in the SEC in slugging (.625) and third in homers (nine). Maile ranks seventh in slugging (.580), fourth in runs (34), sixth in RBI (36), third in homers (nine), sixth in total bases (80) and sixth in steals (eight). Zac Zellers ranks eighth in the SEC in on-base percentage (.452) and first in hit by pitch (16).

HENDERSON CALL-IN SHOW TONIGHT
Kentucky baseball head coach Gary Henderson will join the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, for his weekly call-in radio show of the season, set for 8-8:30 p.m. ET on Monday night.

Fans can hear the show live on WLAP 630-AM in Lexington and online at UKathletics.com.

Fans can reach Henderson and Price by calling the toll free number (1-800-606-4263) or in the Lexington area (859-367-6154). Also, fans can email questions or comments at bigblueinbox@gmail.com or by contacting Price on Twitter @NeilPriceBBSN.

Records
Kentucky - 32-5, 11-4 SEC
Cincinnati - 12-23, 2-10 Big East

Rankings
Kentucky: No. 2 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 3 (Baseball America), No. 3 (USA Today/ESPN Coaches).
Cincinnati: not ranked

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Tuesday, April 17 * vs. Cincinnati * 6:30 p.m.

Radio (UK IMG Radio Network with Neil Price)
Tuesday: WLAP 630-AM in Lexington; WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville

Internet Coverage
Live video, audio and stats on UKathletics.com

Tentative Pitching Matchup
Tuesday vs. Cincinnati
Fr., LHP Sam Mahar (2-1, 2.21 ERA) vs. Sr., LHP Brad Mergen (0-2, 10.29 ERA)

Stadium
Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)

Parking
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.

Tickets
SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors

SEASON TICKET PRICES
$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating

HENDERSON'S MONDAY MEDIA OPPORTUNITY