Baseball Concludes Regular Season at Mizzou
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky baseball team will conclude the 2015 regular season with a crucial three-game series at Missouri, with first pitch in the series opener slated for Thursday at 7 p.m. ET at Taylor Stadium. The series will resume on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, before concluding at 2 p.m. ET at Taylor Stadium.
The three games will be broadcast live on SEC Network+ and WatchESPN. The games will also be broadcast on the UK Radio Network, available in Central Kentucky on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
Kentucky (28-23, 12-14 Southeastern Conference) has tied a school record by clinching its fourth consecutive SEC Tournament berth, equaling the run by the 1993-96 teams. The Wildcats sit in eight place in the SEC standings, with Missouri (28-24, 14-13 SEC) 1.5 games ahead.
The Wildcats are coming off a midweek win over Northern Kentucky in their home finale, 5-1, using a homer from Greg Fettes and the first career win from freshman southpaw Brad Schaenzer. Last weekend, UK suffered a series loss to Georgia, with the Bulldogs rallying to claim the final two games of the series after UK opened with a 6-2 win behind Zack Brown.
UK will turn to the weekend rotation of sophomore righty Zack Brown (5-5, 3.48 ERA), junior right-hander Dustin Beggs (7-3, 3.34 ERA) on Friday and junior righty Kyle Cody (3-4, 5.49 ERA) in the finale. Missouri will counter with junior righty Reggie McClain (6-6, 4.08 ERA) on Thursday, freshman right-hander Tanner Houck (7-4, 3.47 ERA) on Friday, and junior righty Peter Fairbanks (4-4, 2.99 ERA) on Saturday.
The Wildcats have hit .289 as a team in 2015, scoring 274 runs in 51 games, slugging .396 and reaching base at a .377 clip, stealing 50 bases. On the mound, UK has a 4.42 ERA, striking out 378 and walking 160 in 458 innings.
At the plate, UK has been led by junior leftfielder Ka'ai Tom, who has hit .361 with 13 doubles, one triple, four homers and 47 RBI, stealing 15-of-16 bases. Junior centerfielder Kyle Barrett has hit .341 with 12 doubles, three triples, one homer and 25 RBI, with freshman first baseman Evan White batting .318 with 12 doubles, one triple, one homer and 25 RBI. Sophomore second baseman JaVon Shelby has belted eight homers and driven in 40, batting .317 with 10 doubles, two triples and four steals. Junior outfielder Dorian Hairston owns a .304 average with six doubles, four homers and 21 RBI, with senior third baseman Thomas Bernal charting a .271 average with nine doubles, one homer and 24 RBI. Sophomore outfielder Storm Wilson has hit .246 with five doubles, two triples, one homer and 15 RBI. Sophomore shortstop Connor Heady has hit .230 with two homers and 11 RBI, with shortstop Riley Mahan hitting .227 with four doubles, one homer and eight RBI. Catcher Greg Fettes has belted five homers and driven in 17 runs.
In relief, UK has seen a team-leading 23 relief appearances from junior righty Zach Strecker (2-2, 3.67 ERA). Lefty Logan Salow (1-1, 5.32 ERA) has three saves in 22 games, with senior righty Spencer Jack (1-1, 5.40 ERA) leading the team with five saves in 19 games. Dylan Dwyer (2-0, 3.03 ERA), Brad Schaenzer (1-0, 4.50 ERA), Zach Pop (0-0, 4.50 ERA), Andrew Nelson (2-4, 4.88 ERA), Zach Logue (2-2, 5.29 ERA) and Robert Zeigler (1-1, 6.61 ERA) have each appeared in double-digit games.
Missouri is coming off a series sweep at the hands of No. 1 LSU over the weekend and have lost five consecutive games. The Tigers got off to a blistering start to conference play, before falling in 10 of their last 12 games. The Tigers won their last home series, vs. Ole Miss, highlighted by an 18-1 beatdown of the Rebels to clinch the series.
As a team, Mizzou has hit .261 with 252 runs scored in 52 games, slugging .392 and reaching base at a .336 clip, stealing 61 bases. Missouri has fielded .973 with 35 double plays, throwing out 16 runners. On the mound, Missouri has a 3.67 ERA in 458 innings, walking only 137 and striking out 407.
At the plate, infielder Ryan Howard leads the team with a .305 average with 12 doubles, five homers and 36 RBI. Brett Bond has hit .303 with five homers and 23 RBI, with veteran infielder Josh Lester hitting .291 with seven homers and 40 RBI. Jake Ring has a .286 average with three homers, 27 RBI and seven steals. Brett Peel leads the team with 20 steals, batting .265 with a homer and 13 RBI. Trey Harris has a .256 average with four homers and Zach Lavy has batted .236 with four homers and 27 RBI.
In relief, Austin Tribby (0-3, 5.67 ERA) has appeared in a team-high 30 games, working 33.1 innings with 35 strikeouts. Breckin Williams (4-3, 1.72 ERA) has 11 saves in 31.1 innings and 22 games. Lake Dabney (1-0, 1.17 ERA), Jace James (0-1, 2.84 ERA), Andrew Schwaab (2-1, 3.86 ERA) and John Miles (1-2, 4.83 ERA) have each appeared in double-digit games.
Missouri leads the all-time series between the schools, 4-3, winning both series meetings since joining the SEC and claiming the first game in the series in 1984, 11-4 in Columbia.
Kentucky - 23, 23, 12-14 SEC
Missouri - 28-24, 14-13 SEC
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change)
at Missouri * Thursday, May 14 * 7 p.m.
at Missouri * Friday, May 15 * 7 p.m.
at Missouri * Saturday, May 16 * 2 p.m.
- WLAP 630-AM in Central Kentucky
- WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville
- SEC Network+ and WatchESPN
Tentative Pitching Matchups
Thursday at Missouri
So., RHP Zack Brown (5-5, 3.68 ERA) vs. Jr., RHP Reggie McClain (6-6, 4.08 ERA)
Friday at Missouri
Jr., RHP Dustin Beggs (7-3, 3.68 ERA) vs. Fr., RHP Tanner Houck (7-4, 3.47 ERA)
Saturday at Missouri
Jr., RHP Kyle Cody (3-4, 5.49 ERA) vs. Jr., RHP Peter Fairbanks (4-4, 2.99 ERA)
Live audio and stats on UKathletics.com
Taylor Stadium (3,022)