March 3, 2012
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Game One Recap: Rogers Fans 10 in Five Innings of Series-Opening Win
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky starter Jerad Grundy tossed seven innings with one run allowed and a career-best nine strikeouts and freshman A.J. Reed recorded three RBI, leading the Wildcats to a series-clinching 8-2 win over Illinois-Chicago to sweep the two games of a doubleheader, on Saturday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (10-0) opened up the day with a 4-3 win over UIC in the first game of the twinbill, using a dominating 10-strikeout performance from starter Taylor Rogers and the second save of the year from Trevor Gott.
The Wildcats improved to 10-0 to open the season, the fourth-best start in program history, behind only the 19-0 starts posted by the 2007 and 2008 teams and a 15-0 start to the 2000 season under head coach Keith Madison.
UK is one of only three undefeated teams in the nation to play at least three games, joining South Carolina (9-0) and Gonzaga (8-0), with Kentucky boasting the best record in college baseball. Only Liberty (11-1) owns more wins than the Wildcats in 2012.
Grundy (2-0) turned in the best start of his UK career, tossing seven innings, allowing three hits and two runs - only one earned - not issuing a walk and striking out a career-high nine. UK turned to a pair of freshmen hurlers to close out the game, as Sam Mahar tossed 1.1 shutout innings with a strikeout and right-hander Taylor Martin made his collegiate debut with the final two outs of the game, including his first career strikeout.
UK got eight run on nine hits, drawing two walks and getting plunked by two pitches. The explosive UK offense was led by Reed, who went 2-for-3 with three RBI. Freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino - who had his six-game stretch with at least two hits snapped in the first game - went 2-for-5 with a pair of runs. Third baseman Thomas McCarthy notched a two-RBI single to go with a walk, and UK also got hits from Luke Maile, J.T. Riddle and Matt Reida, with Maile delivering a clutch RBI double.
UIC (2-6) starter Joey Begel (0-3) took the loss, going five innings, allowing five runs and one walk, striking out four.
UK returns to action on Sunday, hosting UIC in the series finale at 1 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Fans can hear the game live on WGVN 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com, with Dick Gabriel voicing the action. UK will send sophomore Corey Littrell (1-0, 2.77 ERA) to the mound to face UIC senior right-hander Matt Salemi (0-0, 8.38 ERA).
UIC took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, as Nick Addison doubled to leftfield with one out, taking third on a stolen base. Ryan Shober then scored Addison with a RBI groundout up the middle.
The Wildcats answered with five runs on three hits in the third inning. Reida led off the frame with a bunt single and Cousino lined a single through the left side. Zac Zellers then got hit by a pitch to load the bases for McCarthy, who notched the two-RBI single through the left side. After Maile reached on a fielder's choice, Riddle drew a walk to bring up Reed, who hung a sacrifice fly to score Zellers. Cameron Flynn then followed with a line drive into centerfield, with Reed and Riddle scoring after the ball was misplayed for an error.
In the fourth inning the Flames got o nthe board on two hits and an error. Shober led off the inning by reaching on a throwing error in the infield, taking third on a slow roller hit into the hole behind the first base bag. Alex Grunenwald then scored Shober with a bloop single into shallow centerfield.
In the seventh inning, UK plated three runs on three hits. Cousino led off with a gorgeous bunt single, taking second on Zellers' nice sacrifice bunt. After an intentional walk to McCarthy loaded the bases, Maile doubled into the gap to score Cousino. Reed then followed with a two-out RBI single up the middle to score runners from second and third and give UK the final margin, 8-2.
GAME NOTES: Thomas McCarthy got hit by his second pitch of the season ... Austin Cousino extended his hitting streak to a team-best nine games ... Cousino notched a multi-hit game, his seventh multi-hit game in the last eight contests ... McCarthy drew the first intentional walk issued to a UK hitter this season ... Luke Maile's third double of the year in the seventh inning extended his hitting streak to nine games, equaling Cousino for the team lead ... Taylor Martin made his first collegiate pitching performance in the ninth.