Baseball Hosts Louisville in Tuesday Tilt

April 27, 2009

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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After posting its 12th win in the last 16 meetings in the series earlier in the year at Louisville, the Kentucky Wildcats will face off with the Cardinals in a non-conference matchup Tuesday, slated for a 6:30 p.m. ET start at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky (22-21) posted an 8-7 come-back win at Louisville on April 14, using strong relief from freshman Braden Kapteyn and big offensive games from freshman Chad Wright and sophomore outfielder Bryan Rose. UK has now won 12 of the last 16 meetings in the series, dating back to 2000. The last two seasons, the clubs have split the two-game series, with each team winning its home games. Kentucky last swept UL in its home-and-home series in 2006, during its Southeastern Conference Championship run.

The game can be heard 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 action live on WLAP 630-AM and in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM. UK men's basketball All-American Jodie Meeks will be on hand to throw out the first pitch, set for approximately 6:25 p.m. ET. Fans are encouraged to arrive early, with free parking available behind the right-field fence and in Parking Structure 7 off Sports Center Drive.

Last weekend, UK traveled to No. 21 Alabama and posted an 11-1 win Saturday night, dropping an eighth inning, two-run lead Friday night and losing a tight 3-2 rubber match Sunday. UK got solid starting pitching performances throughout the weekend, with the bullpen called upon to pitch just two innings, Friday and Sunday. Friday, junior James Paxton was excellent through seven innings, striking out 11 and allowing six hits and four runs, exiting the game entering the bottom of the eighth with a two-run lead. UK allowed seven runs in the eighth from the Crimson Tide, snapping a UK's 16-0 record when leading after eight innings in 2009. Saturday, senior southpaw Chris Rusin twirled his third complete game of the year and the seventh of his career, notching his team-high fifth win of the year. Rusin struck out nine and did not issue a walk, while holding a hot-hitting Alabama to its lowest offensive output of the year, just one unearned run on seven hits. Freshman Alex Meyer was called upon for the rubber match, and the 6-foot-8 righty tossed a career game, going a career-best seven innings, allowing only four hits, three runs - two earned, walking one and striking out a career-high 11.

In the SEC standings and the race for the SEC Tournament, held in Hoover, Ala., UK (7-14) ranks 10th in the SEC through 21 games, one game behind Auburn (8-13) and two games behind eighth-place Vanderbilt (10-10). The conference takes the top eight teams bases on winning percentage, with the division winners serving as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds. UK will host Tennessee (6-15) and Auburn in its final two home weekend series, before ending the regular season at Florida (13-8).

UK has been led by its three-game weekend rotation, with Paxton, Rusin and Meyer each posting more strikeouts then innings pitching throughout the year. Paxton, a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder from Ladner, British Columbia, ranks third in the SEC in strikeouts (85), leading the league with 29 strikeouts recorded looking, three ahead of Vandy ace Mike Minor. Rusin checks in eighth in the SEC in ERA (3.73), second in innings pitched (70.0), fourth in strikeouts (81), eighth in wins (5) and second in fewest home runs allowed (2). Meyer, a native of Greensburg, Ind., checks in fourth in the league in opponent batting average (.225) and ninth in strikeouts (62), in 52 innings. Meyer has picked off the sixth-most runners in the league (3), allowing the second-fewest hits (42) in the SEC.

"Kentucky's pitching was excellent," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said following Sunday's rubber-match in Tuscaloosa. "Those were the best three starters as far as command and velocity, they were really good." 

Offensively, sophomore second baseman Chris Bisson has led UK in nearly every offensive category, including average (.373), runs (40), hits (66), doubles (9), triples (2) and RBI (45). The native of Orleans, Ontario, ranks third in the SEC in average, third in hits, ninth in RBI and seventh in at bats (177). In SEC play alone, Bisson checks in fourth in the conference in batting average (.389), first in hits (35), eighth in RBI (21), first in triples (2) and second in at bats (90).

Freshmen have also helped carry the load for the Wildcats, with outfielder Chad Wright's .346 average leading the way at the top of the UK lineup. Fellow freshmen Andy Burns (.285, 7 2B, 3B, 5 HR, 24 RBI), Kapteyn (.307, 7 2B, 2 HR, 15 RBI) and Cory Farris (.258, 9 RBI) have all played a major role in the UK offensive attack. First baseman Gunner Glad leads UK with seven homers, hitting .313 and driving in 30 RBI.

In the bullpen, Kapteyn has led the way with three saves and 34 strikeouts in 25.1 innings. Southpaw Logan Darnell has appeared in 21 games and totaled two saves, striking out 29 in 30 innings. Junior Clint Tilford has appeared in 17 games and five starts, logging 39.1 innings.

Kentucky leads the overall series with Louisville 63-31-1, including a 30-11 mark in games played in Lexington. The last three contests have seen three drama-filled rivalry tilts, with each meeting being decided by one run.

On the mound in the first game against the Cardinals, UK got a career pitching performance from Kapteyn, who pitched the final three innings, allowing one hit and one run, striking out four without issuing a walk. Kapteyn's lone run allowed came in the bottom of the ninth, when no UK defender covered the bag after a two-out groundout to third base, allowing Louisville's base runner, Chris Dominguez - who had reached on a bloop double down the line - to score on defensive indifference from second base. UK started Tilford, who lasted 4.2 innings, allowing three hits, three runs, walking two and striking out five. Tilford, a West Paducah, Ky., native, left the game with only one run allowed through 4.2 innings, with two inherited runners scoring on the bullpen. Offensively in the first game, Rose and Wright led the way, with Wright hitting a homer as part of a 3-for-5 game, coming just a double shy of the cycle. Bisson, Chris Wade and Keenan Wiley each charted multi-hit games, with Wright, Wade and Rose totaling two RBI each.

Louisville (29-13) has been led by a .302 team batting average and a 4.35 team ERA. Dominguez, a preseason All-American, has totaled impressive numbers, with 12 homers and 52 RBI, complementing a .351 average. Phil Wunderlich (.358, 12 HR, 48 RBI), Ryan Wright (.345, 2 HR, 38 RBI, 7-9 SB), Adam Duvall (.328, 6 HR, 37 RBI, 12-14 SB), Josh Richmond (.327, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 3-5 SB) and Andrew Clark (.315, 6 HR, 36 RBI) have each started 40 or more games for the Cardinals. In the bullpen, Tony Zych (3-2, 2.42 ERA), Gabriel Shaw (3-0, 3.29 ERA), Thomas Royse (3-2, 3.48 ERA), Gavin Logsdon (2-0, 3.60 ERA), Derek Self (3-0, 4.35 ERA), Bob Revesz (2-1, 4.75 ERA) and Dean Kiekhefer (3-4, 5.62 ERA) have all appeared in 10 or more games. Zych and Royse have each totaled two saves, leading the club.

UK Head Coach Gary Henderson Call-In Show Monday Night
Kentucky baseball head coach Gary Henderson will hold his radio call-in show of the season, scheduled from 8-8:30 p.m. ET on the Big Blue Sports Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price hosting.

Fans in Lexington can hear the show live on WLAP 630-AM. Fans can reach Henderson and Price by calling the toll free number (1-800-249-CATS) or in the Lexington area (859-367-6154). Also fans can email questions or comments at bigblueinbox@gmail.com.

Records
Kentucky - 22-21
Louisville - 29-13

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) - Lexington, Ky.
Tuesday, April 27 * 6:30 p.m.

Radio (BBSN with Neil Price)
Tuesday, April 27 
• WLAP 630-AM in Lexington
• WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville

Tentative Pitching Matchups
Tuesday vs. Louisville
TBA vs. TBA

Stadium
Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)

Promotions
First Pitch: UK Men's Basketball All-American Jodie Meeks
FREE UK Baseball T-Shirts: For the first 100 fans
Game Sponsor: Qdoba (Prize Wheel on Concourse)

Parking
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.

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