Feb. 20, 2012
SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Kentucky sophomore southpaw Corey Littrell worked a career-long seven shutout innings, allowing only two hits and fanning a career-best eight, leading the Wildcats to a 6-0 win over host USC Upstate, on a sunny Monday afternoon at Harley Park.
Kentucky (3-0) rode the dominating arm of Littrell to the win in the finale of opening weekend. Littrell worked seven innings, allowing only two hits and faced just one hitter over the minimum. He struck out a career-best eight in his career-long seven frames, walking one.
The Wildcats continued their blistering offensive attack for the third consecutive game, rapping out over 10 hits for the third consecutive game. UK was led at the top of the order by Austin Cousino and J.T. Riddle, who each recorded career-high three-hit performances. Cousino notched a pair of doubles and now owns five extra-base hits in his first three career games. Riddle led UK with two RBI. UK also got hits from Thomas McCarthy, Luke Maile, A.J. Reed, Lucas Witt and Matt Reida. McCarthy, a 2011 All-Southeastern Conference selection, added two walks, two hits and a double. Michael Williams scored a run, cranked a double and drew a walk and Cameron Flynn notched a sacrifice fly.
UK worked several arms into the game due to no midweek contests during the week. Tim Peterson came on and struck out the only hitter he faced, before freshman Sam Mahar got the final two outs of the eighth inning. UK reliever Trevor Gott made his season debut with a shutout inning in the ninth, striking out three.
The Wildcats collected three consecutive games without an error for the first time since going five straight during the 2008 44-win season. UK is the only team in the SEC to go errorless on opening weekend.
USC Upstate (2-1) starter Brandon Lee (0-1) worked three innings, allowing eight hits and four runs, walking one without a strikeout. He was relieved to start the fourth inning by left-hander Chris Cox. Ben Augenstein, Jordan Rusk, Andrew Wyant, Jake Waller and L.J. Newman each appeared in relief.
UK returns to action in its home opener on Friday, hosting Buffalo in the first of a three-game series. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Sports Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action.
The Wildcats got on the board in the first inning as Cousino led off the game with a two-strike double painted down the rightfield line, his fourth consecutive extra-base hit to open his career. Riddle followed and singled down the line on a full-count offering, scoring Cousino from second for an early 1-0 lead.
UK plated three runs on six hits in the second inning for an early 4-0 lead. Reed led off the inning with a double down the line in leftfield, taking third on a productive out from Flynn. Witt then rapped a single up the middle to score Reed, motoring to third on Reida's single through the right side, with Reida out in between first and second. Cousino then doubled to leftfield, scoring Witt from third. Riddle followed and delivered another RBI single up the middle, with Cousino plating from second base.
Kentucky added a run in the top of the fifth, taking a 5-0 lead. McCarthy led off with a walk, taking second after Maile singled to rightfield. After a strikeout and with a 3-2 count on Reed, UK executed a double steal, with McCarthy beating the throw at third base. The ball sailed into leftfield allowing McCarthy to score on the throwing error.
The Wildcats scored a run in the top of the seventh, as Williams led off with a drive to rightfield that was misplayed for an error. After Reed's groundout on the right side moved Williams to third, Flynn hung a sacrifice fly into leftfield to score Williams.
GAME NOTES: Austin Cousino recorded a hit to lead off the game, with his first four career hits going as extra-base knocks ... J.T. Riddle scored Cousino with an RBI in the first inning, with all three of his hits to start the year going for a RBI ... In his second at bat, Cousino doubled to leftfield, his fifth consecutive extra-base hit ... A.J. Reed collected his second career double in the second frame ... Riddle tied a career high with three hits ... Lucas Witt extended his hitting streak to a team-high nine games ... Cameron Flynn recorded his first sacrifice fly of the year ... Corey Littrell turned in his best career start in his season debut, equaling a career high with seven innings, striking out a career-best eight ... Sam Mahar and Tim Peterson made their UK debuts on the mound in the eighth ... The shutout was the first for UK since Alex Meyer's complete-game outing vs. No. 1 Vanderbilt in 2011 ... UK's three consecutive errorless games marks the first time UK has gone without an error in three straight contests since five consecutive during the 2008 44-win season ... UK is the only team in the SEC not to make an error on opening weekend.