Baseball Travels to Indiana for Tuesday Tilt
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After securing the series victory over No. 4 South Carolina with a 9-3 win Sunday afternoon, the Kentucky baseball team will travel to Bloomington, Ind., to face Indiana in a midweek matchup Tuesday, with first pitch at Sembower Field slated for 4 p.m. ET.
The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com. In addition, fans can follow the game on UKathletics.com, with an interactive live blog from the Sembower Field press box.
Kentucky (26-21, 9-15 Southeastern Conference) is coming off its most successful weekend of the season, handing the Gamecocks their first series loss in over 10 SEC weekends, dating back to the 2009 season. USC entered the weekend leading the SEC and ranking as high as No. 4 nationally. After UK fell 13-9 in the series opener Friday night, UK rode strong pitching performance from freshman Jordan Cooper, junior Matt Little, sophomore Alex Meyer and sophomore Braden Kapteyn to back-to-back wins to claim the series. UK won game two 2-1 and posted a 9-3 win Sunday afternoon to claim the series victory.
UK will turn to sophomore right-handed pitcher Joe Devine (0-1, 11.25 ERA) for his second career starting assignment Tuesday. Devine has appeared in five games and tossed four innings, allowing five hits and six runs, walking two and striking out two. Rated as the 13th-best junior college prospect in the nation last season while at Wabash Valley, Devine has appeared with great success as a situation right-handed pitching specialist this season, including getting clutch outs against No. 7 Florida and No. 4 South Carolina. Devine started the season with scoreless, one-inning outings against Wright State and at Cincinnati. In his first career start, Devine was roughed up at No. 26 Western Kentucky in front of over 6,000 fans in Bowling Green, the largest crowd to ever see a college baseball game in the state of Kentucky. In that start, Devine went over one inning, allowing five hits and six runs - five earned - walking two and striking out one. Last season at Wabash Valley, Devine went 67 innings, posting a 2.83 ERA and a 7-2 record, allowing only 49 hits. Indiana will turn to freshman right-hander Walker Stadler (3-4, 5.98 ERA) for his 10th start of the season, owning one save in 49.2 innings, allowing 69 hits and 26 walks, striking out 35.
The game will kick off a pair of midweek tilts for UK, as the Wildcats will host Lipscomb Wednesday in the final non-conference home game of the season, slated for a 6:30 p.m. ET first pitch at Cliff Hagan Stadium. UK has three total midweek games remaining, the Lipscomb and IU games, in addition to a road midweek game at Murray State in Paducah, Ky.
UK sits No. 22 in the latest NCAA RPI projections, according to BoydsWorld.com, owning a total of 11 wins over teams ranked in the four major polls. In addition to the wins, UK has fallen in six one-run losses this season to ranked foes, including four walk-off losses on the road, with UK entering the final inning in all four walk-off losses with the lead. In UK's 56 regular-season games this season, UK will face a ranked foe in 30 games, according to the latest weekly rankings. The series win over South Carolina is UK's second series victory over a ranked SEC opponent this season, as UK bested No. 19 Alabama in a three-game series earlier in the season.
UK leads the all-time series with Indiana, 16-14, including posting a 4-3 record in games played in Bloomington. Last season UK picked up an 8-7 win over Indiana, its second straight win in the series, also besting IU, 10-2 in 2004. UK started Mike Kaczmarek on the mound against Indiana weekend ace Matt Bashore, an eventual first-round draft pick in 2009. The midweek start was the only midweek game Bashore pitched in 2009, a fixture in the IU weekend rotation. UK touched Bashore for eight runs in his 5.1 innings of work, while Kaczmarek went 2.2 innings, allowed five hits and two unearned runs, striking out four. UK used Tyler Henry, Sean Bouthilette, Logan Darnell, Nick Kennedy and Braden Kapteyn on the mound in relief, with Kapteyn picking up the save with a perfect ninth inning. Kapteyn and Andy Burns led UK at the plate, with both charting multiple-hit games, with Burns adding two RBI. William Campbell added a home run and three RBI in the game. Indiana got a three-hit performance from All-American catcher Josh Phegley, Jerrud Sabourin and Tyler Rogers. IU jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the top of the third, with UK answering with two runs in the third and fourth inning to take the lead, with IU responding with two runs in the top of the fifth inning. The Wildcats took the lead for good with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, holding off a late IU charge for the win.
Indiana (23-22, 9-9 Big Ten) is coming off a series win over Northwestern over the weekend but have lost seven of its last 10 games. The Hoosiers have posted a .317 average as a team, a 6.31 ERA on the mound and a .960 fielding percentage. Individually, IU has been led offensively by Alex Dickerson who has hit for a .424 average (81-for-191) with eye popping power numbers - 17 doubles, 20 home runs and 63 RBI. Sabourin has hit for a .408 average (80-for-196) with 14 doubles, six homers and 43 RBI, while Josh Lyon has hit .343 (47-for-137) with 15 doubles, nine homers and 27 RBI. Tyler Rogers has batted .339 (41-for-121) with three homers and 24 RBI, Michael Earley has hit .329 (49-for-149) with 10 homers and 28 RBI. Micah Johnson has hit .329 (62-for-200) with 12 doubles, three triples, nine homer, 33 RBI and 10 stolen bases. In the bullpen, Chris Squires (4-1, 3.30 ERA) leads the team with 24 appearances, saving eight games in 43.2 innings, striking out 54.
The Wildcats have been led offensively by senior Gunner Glad, who leads UK with a .358 average (64-for-179) with 10 doubles, 11 homers and a club-best 41 RBI. Lance Ray has hit .345 (29-for-84) with nine doubles, six homers and 20 RBI with 20 starting assignments. Preseason All-American second baseman Chris Bisson has hit .343 (58-for-169) with four homers and 27 RBI, stealing 26 bases to lead the SEC. Leftfielder Chad Wright hit .328 (63-for-192) with 11 doubles, two homers and 34 RBI. Senior Keenan Wiley has hit .314 (54-for-172) with six doubles, four homers and 30 RBI. Shortstop Taylor Black has belted nine homers and added 30 RBI and 10 stolen bases, hitting .288 (42-for-146). Senior catcher Marcus Nidiffer has charted eight homers and 23 RBI, batting .286 (32-for-112). Sophomore Andy Burns is tied for the team lead with 11 homers, batting .259 (43-for-166).
In the bullpen for UK, Little (2-2, 3.47 ERA) leads the team with 21 appearances and seven saves, fanning 44 in 36.1 innings. Kapteyn (1-0, 2.87 ERA) has added two saves in 15.2 innings, striking out 17 in 14 games. Kaczmarek (1-0, 4.22 ERA) has struck out 20 in 21.2 innings, while Kennedy (3-1, 4.50 ERA) has totaled 30 innings, striking out 36.
Kentucky - 26-21, 9-15 SEC
Indiana - 23-22, 9-9 Big Ten
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Bloomington, Ind.
Tuesday, May 11 * at Indiana * 4 p.m.
Radio (BBSN with Neil Price)
• WLAP 630-AM in Lexington
Live audio and stats on UKathletics.com
Tentative Pitching Matchups
Tuesday at Indiana
RHP Joe Devine (0-1, 11.25 ERA) vs. RHP Walker Stadler (3-4, 5.98 ERA)