No. 17 Baseball Hosts NCAA Leader in Runs Scored Tuesday
April 21, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Coming off three road wins last week, No. 17 Kentucky will return home to host the NCAA leader in runs scored, Tennessee Tech, on Tuesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium with first pitch slated for 6:30 p.m. ET.
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 Central Kentucky can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
The game will pit two of the top scoring teams in college baseball, as Tennessee Tech leads the NCAA in runs (355) and walks (239), ranking sixth in average (.316), fourth in doubles (90), third in hits (471), homers (48), second in scoring (8.5 runs per game) and third in slugging (.485). UK ranks fourth in runs scored (333), seventh in homers (71), ninth in hits (437), eighth in on-base percentage (.406), seventh in slugging (.451) and fourth in scoring (8.3 runs per game).
Tennessee Tech will turn to junior right-hander Jacob Honea (3-2, 4.71 ERA) for the start on Tuesday against the Wildcats, with UK yet to announce a starter. Honea has appeared in 14 games with six starts, working 28.2 innings, allowing 13 walks and striking out 20, surrendering 33 hits.
Kentucky (26-14) moved up to No. 17 in the latest Baseball America top 25 after its four-game road swing that saw a win at No. 9 Louisville and a series win at Texas A&M. UK is also ranked No. 18 by Perfect Game, No. 21 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 22 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association) and No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll.
Coached by former Wildcat star Matt Bragga, Tennessee Tech (32-10) is paced by an explosive offensive attack that leads the NCAA in runs scored. The Eagles have hit .316 with 90 doubles, nine triples, 48 homers and 326 RBI in 42 games, owning a .485 slugging and a .419 on-base percentage, stealing 39 bases. On the mound, TTU has a 3.80 ERA with 10 saves in 376.2 innings, walking 132 and striking out 313. Defensively, TTU has fielded. 977, turning 35 double plays and allowing 28-of-57 stolen-base attempts
Last week, Kentucky posted a 4-2 win at No. 9 Louisville on Tuesday, riding a strong bullpen effort from freshmen Logan Salow – the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week – and Zack Brown, who combined to fire six shutout innings. The win marked a series sweep over the Cardinals for UK as Kentucky posted an 8-3 win over the Cardinals on April 1 in Lexington.
UK then traveled to red-hot Texas A&M for a crucial three-game series at the Aggies, with TAMU coming off a series win at Vanderbilt and a 18-run win in midweek action. UK posted a thrilling 6-3 win on Friday night to open the series, as A.J. Reed fired eight innings on the mound, allowing just one run, with UK breaking open a 3-3 game in the top of the ninth inning with three runs. UK then claimed the series win on Saturday with an 11-4 result, taking an 11-1 lead into the ninth inning before the Aggies plated three runs for the final margin. UK got four-hit games from Reed and Max Kuhn in the win, with the duo both homering and Kuhn adding doubles down both lines. The Aggies prevented a historic sweep for UK on Sunday, as the Wildcats were looking for just its sixth road SEC sweep in the last 35 years and its first since 2008 and 2000. TAMU got a five-run inning in the first on five two-out runs and never looked back in a 14-2 win to finish the series.
The Wildcats have been led at the plate by Reed, who has leads college baseball with 16 homers. Reed paces the SEC in average (.372), slugging (.784) and RBI (53), adding a .489 on-base percentage, 11 doubles and one triple. Reed also sports a 7-1 record on the mound in 10 Friday-night starts, with a 2.15 ERA in 71 innings, with wins over No. 1 Virginia, No. 1 South Carolina, No. 5 Vanderbilt, No. 12 Florida and at Texas A&M in his starts.
Junior first baseman Thomas Bernal has hit .352 with five doubles, one homer and 23 RBI, while third baseman Max Kuhn has a .341 mark with 13 doubles, five homers and 36 RBI, leading the conference with 31 walks despite hitting in front of the NCAA home run leader for 40 games. Centerfielder Austin Cousino has hit .333 with 10 doubles, two triples, three homers and 25 RBI, stealing 13 bases. Catcher Micheal Thomas has hit .331 with seven doubles, one triple, six homers and 36 RBI. Leftfielder Ka’ai Tom has a .313 average with six doubles, 20 RBI and 12 stolen bases, with rightfielder Kyle Barrett batting .271 with five doubles, one homer, 18 RBI and 11 steals. Second basemen JaVon Shelby has hit .269 with six doubles, two triples, three homers and 16 RBI.
UK used the weekend rotation of Reed (7-1, 2.15 ERA) on Friday, sophomore southpaw Dylan Dwyer (5-1, 3.40 ERA) on Saturday and junior right-hander Andrew Nelson (1-4, 4.44 ERA) on Sunday for the second consecutive week. In relief, junior Spencer Jack (1-1, 1.52 ERA) has appeared in a team-high 18 games with two saves in 23.2 innings. Freshman Logan Salow (2-1, 1.42 ERA) has a save in 15 innings and fired five shutout innings in two relief appearances last week. Sophomore Kyle Cody (3-0, 2.45 ERA) leads the team with four saves in 12 games and three starts.
Kentucky – 26-14
Tennessee Tech – 32-10
Rankings (as of 4/21/14)
Kentucky – No. 17 (Baseball America), No. 18 (Perfect Game), No. 21 (Collegiate Baseball) No. 22 (NCBWA), No. 23 (ESPN/USA Today)
Tennessee Tech – not ranked
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change)
vs. Tennessee Tech * April 21 * 6:30 p.m.
Radio (UK IMG Network with Neil Price)
• WLAP 630-AM in Central Kentucky
• WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville
Tentative Pitching Matchups
Tuesday vs. Tennessee Tech
TBA vs. Jr., RHP Jacob Honea (3-2, 4.71 ERA)
Live video (subscription), audio and stats on UKathletics.com
Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)
Parking at Cliff Hagan Stadium is FREE.
UK will utilize two lots: the C8 lot behind Shively Sports Center, and the 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 is 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