Rusin, UK Strike Out School-Record in UK's 15-4 Win
March 1, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Behind senior Chris Rusin’s career-high 12 strikeouts, the No. 29 Kentucky Wildcats struck out a record 18 hitters and pounded out 15 runs on 18 hits to secure the second game of the series from the Western Michigan Broncos, on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Rusin, a 2008 first-team All-Southeastern Conference starter, struck out the most hitters in a UK game since James Rodriguez struck out 12 East Tennessee State University hitters in 2004. UK’s 18 total strikeouts marked the most since UK started keeping single-game records in 2002. In 2002, UK set the then-school record with 16 team strikeouts against Ball State, as future first-round draft pick and 2008 MLB World Series Champion Joe Blanton rang up all 16 punch outs.
The strong starting-pitching performance came a game after junior lefty James Paxton struck out a career-best 11 WMU hitters Friday, allowing only two hits and one run. Rusin, a member of the Brooks Wallace National Player of the Year Watch List, worked five innings, allowed six hits and two earned runs, issuing only one walk. After allowing the first three WMU hitters to reach in the top of the first inning, on two outfield errors and a seeing-eye single, Rusin struck out the next six hitters, finishing the game retiring 12-of-15 hitters via strikeout.
For the second consecutive game, Rusin had to pitch in a game that had over 20 mile-an-hour winds blowing out to center and right field. In his first outing of the season, Rusin struck out eight in 4.1 innings at No. 22 Coastal Carolina, but was the victim of some defensive letdowns and allowed a career-high five earned runs. Rusin rebounded with the 12-strikeout gem, giving him a team-best 20 strikeouts in 9.1 innings of work in 2009.
The Wildcats return to action Monday, resuming the series with Western Michigan. After UK’s twin-bill with the Broncos was cancelled due to the threat of inclement weather Saturday, UK will attempt to make up one game from the double-header Monday. First-pitch at Cliff Hagan Stadium is slated for 3 p.m. ET and fans can listen to the game live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price calling the action. Fans in Lexington can catch the action live on WGVN 1580-AM.
The strikeout party continued after Rusin left, with junior Tyler Henry and freshman Braden Kapteyn combining to strike out six. Henry, who lasted 2.2 scoreless innings, struck out four batters, giving him 12 strikeouts on the season. Henry, who currently holds a 0.90 ERA in two appearances this season, was replaced in the eighth inning, with the bases loaded, by Kapteyn. The freshman from Lansing, Ill., allowed one hit and one unearned run, striking out two to pick up his first career save.
The Wildcats received multiple-hit games from six players, including Chris Bisson, Keenan Wiley, Cory Farris, Spencer Korus, Chad Wright and Marcus Nidiffer. Bisson, hitting lead off for the second straight game, had three hits in the game, posting one RBI and three runs scored. Wiley and Korus each had three hits, two RBI and two runs scored. Chad Wright, who gathered his first career RBI as a Wildcat, led all players with four RBI. Nidiffer and Farris each had two hits, with Nidiffer gathering in three RBI and Farris scoring two runs.
The Broncos would get on the board first, starting off the game with a wind-guided triple, that was later ruled an error by Wiley, to right center field by Kyle Galbraith. With Galbraith on third, Derek Mosher hit a sharp ground ball through the right side of the infield past the diving Korus, scoring Galbraith. The next batter was Chris Lewis who reached on an error by Farris advancing Mosher to third. After a meeting on the mound with Nidiffer and the UK infield, Rusin struck out the next three batters to get out of the jam.
In the bottom of the first, Kentucky would answer. A leadoff single by Bisson would start the rally for Kentucky. Wade would then pop out on a bunt attempt to first, and after Bisson stole second, Wiley would hit an infield single to the left side that advanced Bisson to third after a throwing error by Mosher. After Wiley stole second, Frazier would then send a sharp single up the middle scoring Bisson and tying the game for the Wildcats. Frazier and Wiley would both score on a double down the right field line by Korus. On the next pitch, in his first collegiate at bat at Cliff Hagan Stadium, Chad Wright would give Kentucky its fourth and final run of the inning sending a sharp double into the left center field gap.
Rusin would then add three more strikeouts to his record by striking out the side in the top of the second, making it six consecutive strikeouts.
Kentucky (4-2) would add a run in the second inning when freshman Andy Burns would lead off with a walk, and Bisson followed, reaching on an error by the third baseman. After both runners advance on a sac fly by Wade to left center, Burns would come home to score when Wiley hit a sacrifice fly to the warning track in center field giving Kentucky a 5-1 lead.
Western Michigan (0-5) would tighten the game in the third after a leadoff single by Galbraith and an infield single by Mosher would lead the way for WMU to plate two runs. With runners on first and second, a wild pitch by Rusin would move the runners to second and third. Both would come home to score on a single through the left side of the infield by Lewis. After a visit to the mound by UK head coach Gary Henderson, Rusin would get out the next three batters, two on strikeouts.
After a scoreless fourth, Kentucky would get on the board again in the fifth when Farris led off with a single to the left side and advanced to third on an infield single by Korus to the right side. Chad Wright would then bring in Farris on a bunt single to the right side.
Kentucky would add nine insurance runs in their last two innings. In the seventh, Chad Wright got his second RBI of the game after Farris started the rally on a single to the left side and was advanced to second on a bunt single by Korus. Both runners advanced to third on a wild pitch and Farris would eventually score on line drive single by Wright to right field.
In the eighth, Kentucky would have their biggest scoring inning of the season thus far, posting eight runs. The inning started when Bisson doubled to right center field, Wade walked, with both advancing a base when Wiley flied out. With one out, and Wade at second, Frazier would pop out to short for the second out, but Kentucky would load the bases after walks to both Farris and pitch hitter Chris McClendon. The next batter was Chad Wright who would single up the middle to gather his fourth RBI of the game. With the bases still loaded, Nidiffer would get his second-career triple, clearing the bases with three RBI. Kentucky would add three more runs when Nidiffer came around to score on a single by Bisson. Burns would score on a single by Wade and Bisson scored on a single by Wiley.
The Broncos would get a run in the top of the ninth when Mosher lead off the inning with a double and later scored on a passed ball.