Baseball Opens Rivalry Tuesday at Third-Ranked Cards
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky baseball team will open a four-game week against top-10 foes with a midweek matchup at No. 3 Louisville on Tuesday, with first pitch at Jim Patterson Stadium slated for 6 p.m. and the game set for broadcast live on WatchESPN.
The Wildcats will send sophomore lefty Logan Salow (1-1, 7.71 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday to face Louisville freshman right-hander Sean Leland (3-0, 1.04 ERA). A native of Ashland, Ky., Salow has appeared in 17 games with one start in 2015, tossing 16.1 innings with 20 hits and six walks allowed, striking out 20 and picking up three saves. Leland has appeared in 11 games with two starts, tossing 26 innings, allowing only 15 hits and eight walks, striking out 26.
Last weekend, Kentucky (25-17, 10-10 SEC) posted its third consecutive series win over the Gators, equaling the best run in series history and the longest since 1973-75. UK opened the series with its second consecutive SEC series-opening shutout led by Zack Brown. Brown hurled seven shutout frames, allowing only five hits -- four singles -- and two walks, striking out six, extending his shutout innings streak to 15.1 frames. UK then posted a 7-1 win over Florida to clinch the series on Saturday, getting back-to-back homers from Connor Heady and Greg Fettes and 8.1 innings from Dustin Beggs. Florida then salvaged the series on Sunday and kept UK from its first sweep over UF since 1993 with a 10-1 win in the finale, plating the final 10 runs of the game.
The Wildcats posted their first consecutive series-opening shutouts in league play school history, after notching a 5-0 win over Tennessee a week prior.
Kentucky has hit .298, the fourth-best mark in the SEC, as a team in 2015, slugging .404 and reaching base at a .404 clip. UK has scored 239 runs and belted 21 homers. On the mound, UK has a 4.29 ERA in 375.2 innings, walking 130 and striking out 298.
At the plate, junior leftfielder Ka'ai Tom leads the team with a .371 average, owning 13 doubles and three homers, driving in 44 runs. Junior centerfielder Kyle Barrett has hit .350 with 10 doubles, one homer and 21 RBI. Second baseman JaVon Shelby has hit .346 with nine doubles, five homers and 31 RBI. First baseman Evan White has a .329 average with 10 doubles, one homer and 21 RBI, with outfielder Dorian Hairston hitting .312 with two homers and 14 RBI. Catcher Zach Arnold has hit .293 with six doubles and 10 RBI, with catcher Greg Fettes belting four homers and driving in 14 runs. Third baseman Thomas Bernal has hit .278 with seven doubles, one homer and 23 RBI. Outfielder Storm Wilson charts a .245 average with a homer and 15 RBI. Shortstop Connor Heady has a.239 average with two homers and 11 RBI.
UK has used the weekend rotation of sophomore righty Zack Brown (4-4, 2.81 ERA), junior right-hander Dustin Beggs (6-2, 2.84 ERA) and senior righty Andrew Nelson (2-3, 4.62 ERA) the last two weeks. In relief, junior Zach Strecker (2-0, 2.91 ERA) has appeared in a team-high 18 games, with lefty Logan Salow (1-1, 7.71 ERA) owning 17 appearances and three saves. Senior Spencer Jack (1-1, 4.61 ERA) has a team-high five saves in 16 appearances. Dylan Dwyer (2-0, 2.53 ERA), Brad Schaenzer (0-0, 3.38 ERA) and Zach Logue (2-1, 4.91 ERA) have each appeared in double-digit games.
Kentucky leads the all-time series with Louisville, 67-36-1, including a 25-17-1 all-time mark in games played in Louisville. UK swept UofL in the midweek season matchup in 2014, before the Cardinals eliminated UK on the way to the College World Series in the NCAA Louisville Regional Championship game, the first ever postseason meeting between the schools. Since UK won the 2006 SEC Championship, the two schools have turned in an exciting series, with UK owning an 11-8 record since 2006.
UK won two of three meetings between the two schools in 2014, with Louisville claiming the meaningful postseason elimination game in the regional championship at Jim Patterson Stadium. UK was limited to a .198 average in the three games, fielding .982 and sporting a 2.67 ERA. UofL had a .274 average, a .954 fielding mark and a 3.46 ERA. In the first meeting, UK won 8-3 behind a 5.2 inning start from Dylan Dwyer, who allowed two runs. UK got a 3-for-4 game from Thomas Bernal, who belted his first career homer and drove in a career-best four RBI. Zack Brown, Logan Salow and Spencer Jack combined to allow one Cardinals run over the final 3.1 innings, with Jack working 2.2 innings for the save. Josh Rogers started for UofL, allowing five runs in four innings, with Drew Harrington working the fifth and Kyle McGrath shining with two shutout innings in relief. In the second game at Louisville, UK posted a 4-2 win with the final three runs of the game, plating two in the fourth and a run in the ninth, with Kyle Cody picking up a three-out save. Salow worked 3.2 shutout innings in relief of Ryne Combs for the win, with Brown tossing 2.1 shutout innings to help pitch UK to the regular-season sweep. Rogers started for UL, allowing only one earned run in 3.1 innings, striking out six. Jake Sparger shined in relief with 2.1 shutout innings, with Cole Sturgeon working 1.2 shutout frames. The two teams faced off in the 2014 Louisville Regional Championship game, with UK needing a win to force an extra game. Louisville jumped out to a one-run lead entering the seventh inning, before plating three runs for a 4-0 lead. UK started Salow, who allowed one run in six innings, walking three and striking out four. Sam Mahar allowed the decisive three runs, getting one out in the seventh inning, before Zach Strecker had a strong 2.2 shutout innings in relief. Rogers turned in six one-run innings in a start for the Cards, allowing just four hits and no walks, striking out five.
Louisville (34-10, 19-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) is having one of the top seasons in college baseball in its first year in the ACC. The Cardinals are coming off a weekend sweep of Bethune-Cookman. UL has hit .284 as a team, with a .392 slugging and a .378 on-base percentage. On the mound, UL has a startling 2.33 team ERA in 402 innings, allowing only 298 hits and 148 walks, striking out 426.
At the plate, Sutton Whiting leads the club with a .351 average, stealing 13 bases. Nick Solak has hit .341 with 30 RBI, with dynamic outfielder Corey Ray batting .326 with nine homers and 42 RBI, swiping 24 bases. Two-way standout Brendan McKay has a .326 average with a homer and 22 RBI and Will Smith has batted .263 with 11 RBI. Zach Lucas owns a .240 average with three homers, with Devin Hairston -- the brother of UK junior Dorian Hairston -- has batted .234 with a homer and 27 RBI.
In relief, Zack Burdi (2-0, 0.00 ERA) has a team-high five saves in 10 games, with Drew Harrington (3-1, 0.30 ERA) appearing in 15 games with four saves and 42 strikeouts in 30 innings, allowing a .096 average. Lincoln Henzman (3-1, 2.94 ERA) has appeared in 18 games to lead the team, charting a save, with Kade McClure (1-0, 3.09 ERA) notching two saves.
Kentucky -- 25-17
Louisville -- 34-10
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change)
at Louisville * April 28 * 6 p.m.
Radio (UK IMG Network with Neil Price)
- WLAP 630-AM in Central Kentucky
- WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville
Tentative Pitching Matchups
Tuesday at Louisville
So., LHP Logan Salow (1-1, 7.71 ERA) vs. Fr., RHP Sean Leland (3-0, 1.04 ERA)
Live audio and stats on UKathletics.com
Jim Patterson Stadium