Baseball Hosts No. 2 Louisville Wendesday at The Cliff
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky baseball team will conclude the toughest eight-game stretch in program history on Wednesday, playing host to No. 2 Louisville in a 6:30 p.m. first pitch at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The game will be broadcast live on SEC Network+ with Dick Gabriel and UK all-time coaching wins leader Keith Madison voicing the action. The game will also be broadcast live on the UK Radio Network, available on WLAP 630-AM in Central Kentucky, WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville and online at UKathletics.com.
The Wildcats are in the midst of an eight-game stretch against top-10 opponents, starting with UK's series win at No. 5 Florida, also including a three-game series with No. 6 Vanderbilt and a 10-inning midweek loss at then-No. 3 ranked Louisville last Tuesday. UK had never played eight consecutive games against top-10 opponents, with complete records dating back through the 2003 season.
Kentucky (26-20, 11-12 Southeastern Conference) has hit .294 as a team in 2015, slugging .389 with a .381 on-base percentage, stealing 47 bases. On the mound, UK has a 4.48 ERA in 412 innings, allowing 416 hits and 145 walks, striking out 334. Defensively, UK has fielded .967, turning 44 double plays and allowing 45-of-59 steal attempts.
At the plate, junior leftfielder Ka'ai Tom has hit .368 with 13 doubles, one triple, three homers and 45 RBI, stealing 15-of-15 bases. Junior centerfielder Kyle Barrett has hit .340 with 11 doubles, two triples, one homer and 23 RBI, with second baseman JaVon Shelby charting a .333 average with 10 doubles, two triples, seven homers and 37 RBI. Outfielder Dorian Hairston has batted .323 with five doubles, three homers and 17 RBI, with first baseman Evan White hitting .319 with 10 doubles, one homer and 23 RBI. Catcher Zach Arnold has a .290 average with 10 RBI, third baseman Thomas Bernal has hit .276 with a homer and 24 RBI and shortstop Connor Heady has hit .244 with two homers and 11 RBI.
UK used the weekend rotation of sophomore righty Zack Brown (4-5, 3.75 ERA), junior right-hander Dustin Beggs (7-2, 2.88 ERA) and junior righty Kyle Cody (3-4, 6.18 ERA) vs. Vanderbilt. In relief, senior Spencer Jack (1-1, 4.91 ERA) has five saves in 18 games to lead the club. Zach Strecker (2-1, 3.33 ERA) has appeared in a team-leading 21 games with Dylan Dwyer (2-0, 2.49 ERA), Brad Schaenzer (0-0, 4.66 ERA), Zach Logue (2-2, 5.04 ERA), Andrew Nelson (2-3, 5.33 ERA), Logan Salow (1-1, 6.00 ERA) and Robert Zeigler (1-1, 7.04 ERA) each appearing in double-digit games.
Louisville (37-11, 21-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) is coming off a series win at Clemson on Monday night, posting a 9-5 result in the rubber match. Louisville has won 10 of its last 12 games, with its only losses on the year in ACC play coming vs. Clemson, at Duke and vs. No. 10 Miami (Fla.).
The Cardinals have hit .282 as a team in 2015, with a .395 slugging and a .375 on-base percentage, stealing 104-of-133 bases. On the mound, UL has a 2.49 ERA in 438 innings, allowing 334 hits and 164 walks, striking out 442 and holding opponents to a .210 average. Defensively, UL has fielded .966 with 26 double plays turned and allowing 26-of-44 base-steal attempts.
Louisville has been led at the plate in average by infielder Sutton Whiting, who has hit .348 with 10 doubles, two triples, 19 RBI and 14 steals. First baseman Brendan McKay has hit .333 with 11 doubles, two homers and 26 RBI. Rightfielder Corey Ray has batted .332 with 10 doubles, four triples, 11 homers and 46 RBI, stealing 26 bases. Second baseman Nick Solak has hit .328 with 12 doubles, two triples, one homer and 32 RBI, swiping 17 bases. Catcher Will Smith has hit .256 with 12 RBI, with third baseman Zach Lucas sporting a .251 mark with four homers and 19 RBI and shortstop Devin Hairston -- the brother of UK outfielder Dorian Hairston -- hitting .216 with a homer and 27 RBI.
In relief, UL has been paced by a team-high 20 relief appearances from Lincoln Henzman (4-1, 2.68 ERA), who has a save in 37 innings. McKay (7-1, 1.81 ERA) has four saves in 15 games, striking out 82 in 64.2 innings, allowing only 33 hits and a .150 average. Drew Harrington (3-1, 0.30 ERA), Sean Leland (4-0, 1.03 ERA), Zack Burdi (3-0, 1.10 ERA), Robert Strader (1-0, 1.45 ERA), Kade McClure (1-0, 3.09 ERA) and Anthony Kidston (0-4, 5.85 ERA) have each appeared in double-digit games.
Kentucky leads the all-time series with Louisville, 67-37-1, including a 33-14 mark in games played in Lexington.
Last year, 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 11-9 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.
Kentucky: 26-20, 11-12 SEC
Louisville: 37-11, 21-3 ACC
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Wednesday, May 6 * vs. No. 2 Louisville * 6:30 p.m. [SEC Network+]
Radio (UK Radio Network with Neil Price)
WLAP 630-AM in Central Kentucky, WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville, UKathletics.com
Tentative Pitching Matchups
Wednesday vs. No. 2 Louisville
TBA vs. TBA
Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)
Free gameday parking is available in the C-8 lot beyond rightfield or in the E lot adjacent to Cliff Hagan Stadium. The C-8 lot will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Once C-8 is filled, vehicles will be directed to park in the E lot next to Cliff Hagan Stadium. After the E lot is full, a limited amount of parking will be available in Parking Structure No. 7 on the ground floor. If you're parking in PS#7, please exchange your ticket for a pink payment voucher at the ticket booth, prior to the end of the fourth inning. Additionally, overflow parking will be available in the smaller E lots close to Cooper Dr., as well as the C-6 lot at Commonwealth Stadium. All fans are asked to please follow the signage provided to the nearest parking location.
SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors