Baseball Hosts Georgia in Final SEC Home Weekend
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Fresh off the toughest eight-game stretch in program history, Kentucky will return to action on Friday, hosting Georgia in a three-game series, with first pitch in the opener slated for 6:30 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The series will resume on Saturday at 2 p.m. and conclude on Sunday at 12 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The first two games of the series will be broadcast live on SEC Network+, with Dick Gabriel and Keith Madison voicing the action. The finale will be televised live on the SEC Network. All three games will be available on the UK Radio Network, in Central Kentucky on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
The Wildcats will send sophomore righty Zack Brown (4-5, 3.75 ERA) to the mound in the opener to face Georgia junior right-hander David Sosebee (3-2, 2.38 ERA). UK will turn to junior righty Dustin Beggs (7-2, 2.88 ERA) on Saturday to face Georgia junior southpaw Ryan Lawlor (4-6, 3.29 ERA). UK will start junior righty Kyle Cody, while Georgia will turn to acclaimed sophomore righty Robert Tyler (1-0, 3.94 ERA).
A native Seymour, Ind., Brown has made 12 appearances and 11 starts in 2015, hurling 74.1 innings with two complete games. Brown has allowed 69 hits and 33 walks, striking out 57. In his career, Brown has appeared in 31 games with 16 starts, tossing 103 innings, walking 44 and striking out 75. In his last start on Friday vs. No. 6 Vanderbilt, Brown worked seven innings, allowing 10 hits and 10 runs, walking one and striking out four. Brown allowed single Vandy runs in the first, second and fourth innings, before allowing a five-run seventh inning that broke open a tie game and allowing the first two runners to reach in the eighth to end his outing.
Beggs, a native of Roswell, Ga., has made 12 weekend starts in 2015, tossing 81.1 innings, allowing only 64 hits and 17 walks, striking out 69 and holding opponents to a .215 average. In his last start on Saturday vs. No. 6 Vanderbilt, Beggs worked a career-long 8.1 innings, fanning a career-best 12, allowing only seven hits and three runs, walking one.
Last weekend, UK turned to junior right-hander Kyle Cody (3-4, 6.18 ERA) for the start vs. No. 6 Vanderbilt. Cody worked 5.2 innings vs. Vandy, allowing six hits and three runs, walking three and striking out eight, allowing a single VU tally in the first and two runs in the third inning. Cody has worked in 12 games with 10 starts, tossing 51 innings, allowing 53 hits and 15 walks, striking out 50. In his career, Cody has appeared in 45 games with 26 starts, owning a 10-7 record and a 4.79 ERA, owning five saves in 146.2 innings, walking 48 and striking out 117.
Kentucky (26-21, 11-12 Southeastern Conference) is coming off an eight-game stretch against No. 5 Florida, No. 2/3 Louisville and No. 6 Vanderbilt, the toughest such stretch in program history. On Wednesday, UK suffered a midweek loss to the second-ranked Cardinals, with UL sweeping the two-game series with a 2-1 win in the opener last week in 10 innings.
The Wildcats have hit .292 as a team in 2015, slugging .397 and reaching base at a .379 clip, scoring 259 runs in 47 games, stealing 47 bases and belting 24 homers. Defensively, UK has fielded .966, turning 44 double plays and catching 14 runners attempting to steal. UK has a 4.43 team ERA in 421 innings, allowing 149 walks, striking out 344 and holding opponents to a .264 average.
UK has been led at the plate by junior leftfielder Ka'ai Tom, who has hit .360 with 13 doubles, one triple, three homers and 45 RBI, stealing 15-of-15 bases. Junior centerfielder Kyle Barrett has batted .333 with 11 doubles, two triples, one homer and 23 RBI, stealing seven bases. Sophomore second baseman JaVon Shelby has hit .333 with 10 doubles, two triples, seven homers and 38 RBI, sporting a .470 on-base percentage. First baseman Evan White has hit .317 with 11 doubles, one triple, one homer and 24 RBI. Junior outfielder Dorian Hairston has batted .316 with six doubles, three homers and 17 RBI. Catcher Zach Arnold has batted .290 with six doubles and 10 RBI, with third baseman Thomas Bernal hitting .281 with nine doubles, one homer and 24 RBI. Shortstop Connor Heady has a .238 average with two doubles, two homers and 11 RBI. Outfielder Storm Wilson has added a .234 average with a homer and 15 RBI, with Riley Mahan batting .230 with a homer and eight RBI and catcher Greg Fettes launching four homers and driving in 15 runs.
In relief, UK has seen a team-leading 21 relief outings from junior righty Zach Strecker (2-1, 3.33 ERA). Senior Spencer Jack (1-1, 4.91 ERA) has a club-best five saves in 18 games, tossing 14.2 innings. Dylan Dwyer (2-0, 2.83 ERA), Brad Schaenzer (0-0, 4.35 ERA), Zach Logue (2-2, 4.73 ERA), Andrew Nelson (2-4, 5.26 ERA), Logan Salow (1-1, 5.73 ERA) and Robert Zeigler (1-1, 7.04 ERA) have each appeared in double-digit games.
Georgia (22-25, 7-16 SEC) is coming off finals week and a home series loss to No. 8 Florida last weekend. The Bulldogs were swept in their last road SEC series at Auburn and have won two of their last 11 games. UGA owns series wins at No. 7 South Carolina and at Tennessee.
The Bulldogs have hit .265 as a team in 2015, slugging .391 and reaching base at a .355 clip, stealing 55 bases and scoring 249 runs in 47 games, belting 35 homers. Defensively, UGA has fielded .970, turning 37 double plays and catching 12 runners stealing. On the mound, UGA has a 4.10 ERA in 417 innings, allowing 209 walks and striking out 380, holding opponents to a .245 average.
At the plate, outfielder Stephen Wrenn has hit .321 with seven homers and 25 RBI, stealing 23 bases. Jared Walsh has hit .297 with 11 doubles, two homers and 20 RBI and catcher Brandon Stephens has batted .292 with a homer and 12 RBI. First baseman Daniel Nichols has a .289 average with five homers and 24 RBI. Keegan McGovern has hit .281 with three homers and 17 RBI. Catcher Zack Bowers has hit .262 with 13 doubles, seven homers and 24 RBI. Nick King has 14 steals, owning a homer and 12 RBI, with a .250 average. Trevor Kieboom has a .245 average with a homer and 11 RBI. Mike Bell has hit .243 with four homers and 25 RBI with Skyler Weber batting .237 with two homers and 30 RBI, stealing six bases.
In relief, Jared Cheek (2-2, 3.00 ERA) has five saves in 27 innings, allowing 23 hits and 15 walks, striking out 28. Walsh (4-2, 2.86 ERA), Taylor Hicks (0-0, 1.80 ERA), Bo Tucker (1-1, 2.28 ERA), Mike Mancuso (0-1, 2.42 ERA), Zach Waters (1-0, 6.16 ERA), Ryan Avidano (3-2, 8.62 ERA) and Connor Jones (0-2, 11.05 ERA) have each appeared in double-digit games.
Georgia leads the all-time series with Kentucky, 127-90-1, including a 48-43-1 record in games played in Lexington. UK has won four consecutive series meetings between the two schools, with UGA's last series win coming in 2010 in Athens, Ga. UK has last lost a home weekend vs. UGA, when the Bulldogs swept the Wildcats in 2009.
In the series meeting in 2014 in Athens, Kentucky posted a 13-0 win in the opener and a 10-0 in the second game of the series on the final weekend of the regular-season. UGA then salvaged the series with an 11-10 win in the finale. UK scored single runs in the fifth and sixth to open the scoring, before exploding with a five-run seventh, a four-run eighth and a two-run ninth inning. AJ Reed worked eight shutout innings, with Taylor Martin tossing the ninth. UK got four hits from Reed and a 4-for-5 game with four RBI from Max Kuhn. UGA lefty Ryan Lawlor worked 6.1 innings, allowing 11 hits and six runs, striking out two. In the second game of the series, Kyle Cody and Andrew Nelson combined to throw a shutout, with Cody working 4.1 innings, allowing two hits, and Nelson hurling 4.2 innings, allowing just four singles. David Sosebee worked four innings, allowing three hits and four runs, walking four. In the finale, Robert Tyler working seven innings, allowing eight hits and three runs, striking out three and exiting with an 11-3 lead to start the eighth inning. UK then scored six runs in the eighth inning and a run in the ninth inning, with Zach Arnold grounding out to end the game with the tying run in scoring position.
In the last meeting in 2013 in Lexington, UK posted a 3-2 win in 10 innings, before the Bulldogs evened up the series with a 7-6 win behind a start from Patrick Boling. UK won the series with a 5-0 win in the finale, with Corey Littrell firing seven shutout innings, allowing two hits, three walks, and striking out 12.
Kentucky: 26-21, 11-12 SEC
Georgia: 22-25, 7-16 SEC
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Friday, May 8 * vs. Georgia * 6:30 p.m. [SEC Network+]
Saturday, May 9 * vs. Georgia * 2 p.m. [SEC Network+]
Sunday, May 10 * vs. Georgia * 12 p.m. [SEC Network]
Radio (UK Radio Network)
WLAP 630-AM in Central Kentucky, WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville, UKathletics.com
Tentative Pitching Matchups
Friday vs. Georgia
So., RHP Zack Brown (4-5, 3.75 ERA) vs. Jr., RHP David Sosebee (3-2, 2.38 ERA)
Saturday vs. Georgia
Jr., RHP Dustin Beggs (7-2, 2.88 ERA) vs. Jr., LHP Ryan Lawlor (4-6, 3.29 ERA)
Sunday vs. Georgia
Jr., RHP Kyle Cody vs. So., RHP Robert Tyler (1-0, 3.94 ERA)
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