Feb. 17, 2012
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Behind a dominating nine-strikeout performance from junior starter Taylor Rogers and a monster home run from senior third baseman Thomas McCarthy, the Kentucky baseball team posted a 10-4 win over Wofford in the season lidlifter, on a sunny Friday evening at Russell C. King Field.
Kentucky (1-0) rode the stellar outing from Rogers, who tossed his 12th career quality start in the season debut. Rogers, a native of Littleton, Colo., tossed six innings, allowing one run on five hits, walking one and striking out a career-high nine. Walter Wijas relieved him in the seventh inning and tossed two strong innings with two strikeouts, before Wofford touched him for three runs without an out in the ninth inning. Chris Garrison came in to get one strikeout in the ninth before freshman southpaw A.J. Reed finished off the game with two outs.
Offensively, UK was paced by a 12-hit, 10-run attack, with balanced production throughout the lineup. Michael Williams, Lucas Witt and Cameron Flynn each recorded two hits, with both of Flynn's knock coming as doubles off the outfield wall in rightfield. McCarthy, Flynn, Witt, Michael Williams, Luke Maile, J.T. Riddle and Matt Reida each recorded RBI.
Wofford (0-1) ace starter Cash Collins (0-1) - who won eight games in 2011 - turned in a quality start, going 6.1 innings, allowing five hits and three unearned runs, walking one and striking out three. He was relieved by Anthony Rowland, who allowed one run in 0.2 innings. Wofford also used Dominick Del Monte, Gus White and Mason Bradley.
Kentucky returns to action on Saturday, traveling across town for a game with Eastern Michigan at USC Spartanburg's Harley Park. The game was pushed from a 12 p.m. ET first pitch to an 11 a.m. ET first pitch. Fans can hear the game live on WGVN 1580-AM in Lexington and online at UKathletics.com, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action.
The Wildcats got on the board in the top of the third inning, as Austin Cousino chopped a grounder to the hole between first and second, with second-baseman Josh Hyman ranging to his left and misplaying it for an error. With a 3-2 count on McCarthy, Cousino took off on the pitch, with McCarthy grounding down the third-base line. Cousino motored around second to third base, beating the throw from first after the routine grounder. With one out, Maile ripped a grounder up the middle allowing Cousino to score with the play ruled an error and Maile awarded an RBI. After Maile stole second base, Williams scored him with a single to leftfield, giving UK a 2-0 lead.
Wofford cut the UK lead to 2-1 with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Eric Brenk led off with a single into leftfield, taking second on a slow grounder on the first base chalk. Brenk then stole third base on a ball in the dirt, scoring on Luke Feisal's RBI groundout to shortstop.
UK added to its lead with a run in the top of the fifth inning, as McCarthy reached on a throwing error by the second baseman, Hyman. After two outs moved McCarthy into scoring position, Riddle ripped his 11th career two-out RBI through the right side, scoring McCarthy for a 3-1 UK lead.
Kentucky added a run to its lead with a mammoth home run from McCarthy, who connected on a two-strike, two-out offering for his first homer of the year, sending it screaming over the trees in deep leftfield.
The Wildcats added three runs in the top of the eighth inning, taking a 7-1 lead. After a groundout to start the frame, freshman pinch hitter Reed drew a four-pitch walk. Witt then smacked a single into the gap, with Reed thrown out at third base. Pinch hitter Flynn then scored Witt with a double off the top of the 15-foot wall in right-centerfield. Reida then scored Flynn with a two-out single up the middle and Reida plated on a double from Cousino into the right-centerfield gap, his first career hit.
UK stretched its advantage in the ninth inning, as a walk from Maile, a single from Williams and an infield error hit by Riddle allowing the bases to be loaded with no outs. Reed then lofted a high sacrifice fly deep into centerfield, scoring Maile. With Witt at the plate, Williams scored on a wild pitch on a 2-2 offering, with Riddle scampering from first to third on the wild offering. Witt then grounded out to the left side, allowing Riddle to score on the RBI grounder.
Wofford narrowed the UK lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, as David Roney doubled to centerfield and Clark Wise drew a walk. James Plaisted then followed with a first-pitch three-run homer.
GAME NOTES: Freshmen Austin Cousino (CF) and Thomas Bernal (DH), and junior Zac Zellers (RF) made their first career starts ... Bernal and Zellers each recorded their first career hits ... Lucas Witt extended his hitting streak to a career-long seven games ... J.T. Riddle notched his 12th career two-out RBI in the fifth inning ... Luke Maile stole his ninth career base ... Taylor Rogers tossed a quality start, his 12th career ... Thomas McCarthy extended his team and career-long hitting streak to 11 games with a two-out homer ... The two-out homer was McCarthy's 21st career two-out RBI and his eighth homer in his two-year career ... Freshman A.J. Reed made his collegiate debut as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning, drawing a four-pitch walk ... Cameron Flynn made his UK debut and cranked a double off the top of the wall in right-centerfield ... Matt Reida notched a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning, his third career two-out RBI ... Reida stole his first base of the year in the eighth ... Cousino got his first career hit in the eighth, a double to right centerfield ... The win was Kentucky's seventh season-opening win in the last eight years ... Reed got his first career RBI with a sacrifice fly in the ninth ... Witt's two-hit game was his fourth career two-hit game ... Chris Garrison made his first career UK appearance in the ninth frame ... Reed made his first collegiate pitching appearance with the final two outs in the ninth.