No. 1 Baseball Travels to No. 23 Louisville for Tuesday Tilt
April 23, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- For the 14th time in its last 16 games, No. 1 Kentucky will face off with a ranked foe, as the Wildcats will travel to No. 20 Louisville for a 6 p.m. ET first pitch on Tuesday at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Kentucky (35-6, 13-5 Southeastern Conference) enters the midweek clash with Louisville coming off one of the biggest weekends in program history, as the Wildcats beat No. 1 LSU in a three-game series, UK's first series win over a No. 1 ranked team in program history. UK's series win came against a Tigers team that it entered the weekend in a tie with atop the SEC standings.
The Wildcats will wrap up its regular-season two-game series with the Cardinals with the Tuesday game, as UL posted a 12-0 win over UK on April 10, snapping UK's 21-game non-conference winning streak to open the year. UK currently sports a 22-1 record against non-SEC teams in 2012, with the overall Kentucky record leading the nation in wins and winning percentage. In addition, the SEC-leading Wildcats boast a No. 4 NCAA RPI, have a 10-5 record against top-25 foes and a 12-3 record in one-run games.
The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, available on Central Kentucky on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
UK will send freshman southpaw Sam Mahar (3-1, 1.71 ERA) to the mound to take on Louisville sophomore right-hander Chad Green (2-0, 1.99 ERA). Mahar made his first career start on Tuesday vs. Cincinnati, tossing six shutout, two-hit innings for his third win of the year. On the year, Mahar has appeared in 14 games with one start, tossing 26.1 innings, allowing 22 hits and seven walks, striking out 27. Green has appeared in 15 games in relief in 2012, tossing 22 innings, allowing 20 hits and 12 walks, striking out 27.
The Wildcats have been paced by an offensive unit that leads the SEC in nearly every offensive category. UK has hit .316 as a team, with 47 homers in 41 games, stealing 36 bases. On the mound, UK has a 3.49 ERA with 13 saves, 105 walks and 335 strikeouts in 364 innings.
Offensively, Austin Cousino leads UK with a .351 average, adding 17 doubles, one triple, seven homers, 34 RBI and nine steals. Catcher Luke Maile - the SEC Player of the Week - leads the SEC with 11 homers, batting .331 with 10 doubles and 41 RBI, swiping eight bases. Thomas McCarthy owns a .329 average with 15 doubles, five homers and 25 RBI, while Zac Zellers has hit .316 with eight doubles, one triple, five homers and 18 RBI. A.J. Reed has hit .311 with nine doubles, three homers and 39 RBI, while outfielder Cameron Flynn has nine homers, batting .300 with seven doubles and 30 RBI. Second baseman J.T. Riddle has hit .296 with nine doubles, one triple, four homers and 26 RBI, while catcher Michael Williams has a .286 average with four doubles, one homer and 25 RBI. Shortstop Matt Reida owns a .266 average with seven doubles, one homer and 16 RBI.
In the bullpen, UK has been paced by several lockdown relievers, including Trevor Gott (1-0, 1.35 ERA), who has appeared in 15 games with a UK single-season record eight saves, striking out 21 in 13.1 innings. Senior Alex Phillips (5-1, 2.33 ERA) has four saves in 18 relief outings, tossing 38.2 innings with 26 hits allowed. Tim Peterson (3-0, 2.21 ERA) has one save in a team-high 19 relief appearances, striking out 22 in 20.1 innings. Chandler Shepherd (3-0, 3.71 ERA), Reed (4-1, 3.77 ERA) and Walter Wijas (2-0, 6.27 ERA) have each appeared in at least 10 games.
Louisville (28-12, 10-5 Big East) has been paced by one of the top offensive units in the nation, batting .313 as a club with 25 homers and 64 steals in 40 games. On the mound, UL has a 3.26 team ERA with 12 saves, 124 walks and 336 strikeouts in 356.1 innings, with opponents batting a paltry .238 and UL fielding .967 as a club. The Cardinals are currently ranked as high as No. 20, in the latest National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association top-30 poll.
Individually, Louisville has been led by Ty Young, who leads the club with a .364 average, with seven doubles, two triples, five homers and 30 RBI, stealing nine bases. Cole Sturgeon has hit .343 with eight doubles and 29 RBI, while Nick Ratajczak owns a .340 average with eight doubles and 14 RBI. Adam Engel has hit .322 with three doubles, one homer and 12 RBI, stealing 28 of 29 bases. Stewart Ijames has hit .288 with 10 homers and 45 RBI, stealing five bases.
In the bullpen, Louisville has been paced by Derek Self (1-1, 2.35 ERA), who has seven saves in 16 relief outings, tossing 23 innings with 13 strikeouts. Matt Koch (0-1, 3.86 ERA) has four saves in 18.2 innings, allowing 25 hits and striking out 23. Cody Ege (0-0, 3.48 ERA) has appeared in 15 games in relief, with 12 strikeouts in 10.1 innings.
UK leads the all-time series with Louisville, 66-34-1, including a 23-16-1 all-time record in games played in Louisville. In the last meeting, Louisville posted a dominating 12-0 win over UK, as the Wildcats played its worst game of the year in front of a season-high 3,563 fans at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The Cardinals had control of the game from the beginning as UL plated three runs in the top of the first, added two in the third, one in the sixth, four in the eighth and two runs in the ninth for the final margin. UL starter Jared Ruxer was dominating, going six shutout innings, allowing only three hits and one walk, striking out six. Sturgeon worked 1.2 shutout innings and Koch closed it out with 1.1 shutout frames. UK starter A.J. Reed had his worst career pitching outing, going 2.2 innings, allowing nine hits and five runs, striking out four. UK used Mahar, Tim Peterson and freshmen Jeff Boehm, Chandler Shepherd and Taylor Martin in relief. UK got one multi-hit game, as Thomas McCarthy went 2-for-4 with a double, with UK also getting hits from J.T. Riddle and Lucas Witt. Sturgeon led UL with a 3-for-4 game, while Ratajczak scored three runs and Ty Young had two RBI.
The Wildcats rank throughout the SEC stats, with their offense leading the league in average (.316), slugging (.488), on-base percentage (.403), runs (301), hits (443), RBI (277), doubles (92) and total bases (684). UK ranks second in homers (47) and hit by pitches (64). In the NCAA stats, UK ranks second in the nation in slugging (.488), fourth in OPS (.891), eighth in runs (301), 10th in doubles (92), fifth in homers (47) and fifth in RBI (277).
Individually, Cousino ranks eighth in average (.351), eighth in slugging (.585), second in runs (44), third in hits (60), 11th in RBI (34), first in doubles (17), seventh in homers (seven), first in total bases (100) and sixth in steals (nine). Maile ranks third in slugging (.616), third in RBI (41), first in homers (11), fifth in total bases (93) and ninth in steals (eight). Flynn ranks ninth in slugging (.583) and fifth in homers (nine), while Zellers ranks 12th in slugging (.530), fourth in on-base percentage (.464) and first in hit by pitches (17). Reed ranks sixth in RBI (39), while Riddle ranks third in runs scored (37). McCarthy checks in fourth in doubles (15), 10th in runs (34) and 11th in total bases (81). On the mound, Corey Littrell ranks sixth in ERA (2.51), seventh in innings (61), third in wins (six) and first in pickoffs (five). Gott ranks third in saves (eight) and third in games finished (15), while Peterson ranks 10th in relief outings (19).
Kentucky - 35-6
Louisville - 28-12
Kentucky: No. 1 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 2 (Baseball America), No. 3 (USA Today/ESPN Coaches), No. 3 (NCBA)
Louisville: No. 26 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 23 (USA Today/ESPN Coaches), No. 20 (NCBWA)
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Louisville, Ky.
Tuesday, April 24 * at No. 20 Louisville * 6:00 p.m.
Radio (UK IMG Radio Network with Neil Price)
Tuesday: WLAP 630-AM in Lexington; WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville
Live audio and stats on UKathletics.com
Tentative Pitching Matchups
Tuesday at Louisville
Fr., LHP Sam Mahar (3-1, 1.71 ERA) vs. So., RHP Chad Green (2-0, 1.99 ERA)