May 16, 2014
Box Score |
ATHENS, Ga. -- Kyle Cody and Andrew Nelson combined to throw a six-hit shutout, and Kentucky got homers from A.J. Reed and Max Kuhn, posting a 10-0 series-clinching win over Georgia, on Friday night at Foley Field.
Kentucky (32-21, 14-15 Southeastern Conference) clinched the series with its second consecutive rout of the Bulldogs, with UK winning the opener on Thursday 13-0, to clinch its third consecutive berth in the SEC Tournament. UK has outscored Georgia 23-0 in the first two games of the series, totaling a 29-9 advantage in hits.
“It’s a big win,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “We talked about two weeks ago that our goal was to finish the season with two straight series wins. We had a stretch there that was hard for us, so two weekends in a row to win a series, I am really proud of the kids. They played well again. We got some timely hitting and the pitching part of it from Kyle (Cody) and Andrew (Nelson) was outstanding.”
The win marked the second consecutive series win for the Wildcats, who claimed the three-game set vs. Auburn last weekend. UK has now won four consecutive series meetings with Georgia.
With shutouts in consecutive games, it marked the first time for UK since shutouts vs. Ole Miss and Tennessee Tech in 2000. The last time UK had shutouts in consecutive games vs. SEC teams was vs. Florida in 1974 and Vanderbilt in 1976.
“(Kyle and Andrew) set the mood,” Kuhn said. “We got zeros both nights, even A.J. last night. The pitching staff has done great the past two or three weeks. Everything that is going on both offensively and defensively and on the mound, it is going as planned heading into the postseason.”
Making his first start since March 1, Cody worked 4.1 innings, allowing just two singles and no runs, walking two and striking out one. With two runners on and one out in the fifth inning, UK turned to Andrew Nelson in relief.
“Kyle (Cody) did a great job tonight,” Nelson said. “It was fun to come out of the bullpen again. I know I have started, I’ve done bullpen, I’ve done it all this year. I like them both, but it felt good to come out of the bullpen. I felt relaxed and confident. I struggled a little bit through it, but I was able to fix it by throwing balls down in the zone and get some outs.”
Nelson (2-5) escaped the jam, firing a gem to pick up his first career SEC win. Nelson tossed the final 4.2 innings, allowing just four singles and one walk, striking out three.
“I was happy with it,” Henderson said. “I think anybody would be happy with it. They looked confident and I thought they did a really good job of pounding the strike zone. When the game got to a spot when they could shy away they didn’t. It was the first start in several weeks for Kyle. It was as good as Andrew has looked in a weekend in a long time. I’m really proud of both of them and they were able to keep the bullpen as fresh as possible heading into tomorrow.”
Reed and Kuhn each belted homers, with Reed’s two-run blast in the first inning serving as the game-winning tally, part of his 1-for-3, three-RBI game. Reed now has a NCAA-leading 22 homers, with 14 coming in SEC play and all 22 coming on the weekends. On the year, Reed is leading college baseball in homers (22), slugging (.772) and (1.262), while pacing the SEC in RBI (68), walks (42), wins (10) and innings pitched.
Kuhn smashed his seventh homer of the year, while continuing to hit at a blistering pace with a 3-for-4 game with two RBI, a walk and a double. During UK’s three-game week, Kuhn has hit .571 (8-for-14) with three doubles, two homers and nine RBI, with seven of his eight hits coming in the first two games of the series with Georgia.
“It’s important for somebody at the top to get hot. Obviously A.J. (Reed) had a tremendous game yesterday, as well as did Max (Kuhn). Ka’ai (Tom) was good again today and so was Max. He got the big ball there when it really mattered. It put some distance between us and the Bulldogs. He is seeing it really well right now and also playing very well at third base.”
UK also got a double from Austin Cousino, who scored two runs and drew a key walk. Ka’ai Tom totaled a 3-for-5 game with a pair of doubles, with Thomas Bernal and JaVon Shelby each adding hits. Storm Wilson and Micheal Thomas each added two-walk games, with Thomas notching an RBI.
Georgia (25-28-1, 10-18-1 SEC) starter David Sosebee (1-4) worked four innings, allowing three hits and four runs, walking four and striking out one. Georgia used Jarrett Brown, Ross Ripple and Patrick Boling in relief, with all three pitchers allowing two runs each. David Gonzalez worked the ninth inning.
The series will conclude on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET at Foley Field. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com. Georgia will start star freshman right-hander Robert Tyler (5-4, 2.57 ERA), one of the top young power arms in the nation.
The Wildcats took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, as Kuhn singled through the left side with one out and Reed belted a two-run homer over the centerfield fence, his NCAA-leading 22nd of the year.
UK added two runs in the top of the fourth inning, as Bernal was hit by a pitch and Wilson drew a full-count walk. After Thomas loaded the bases with a walk, Shelby hit a chopper up the middle, reaching on a fielder’s choice with Bernal and Wilson scoring after a throwing error.
In the fifth inning, UK added two runs, as Kuhn led off with a double down the rightfield line. Reed then drew a walk. Tom then reached on a fielder’s choice, with Kuhn out at third base. Bernal followed and loaded the bases with a single. After Reed scoring on a wild pitch, Thomas forced in UK’s sixth run with a RBI groundout.
Kuhn gave UK an eight-run lead in the sixth inning, as Cousino drew a one-out walk and Kuhn smashed his seventh homer over the left-centerfield fence.
UK added to its lead in the eighth inning, as Shelby led off with a single, taking third on Cousino’s double into the left-centerfield gap. Reed then hung a sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Shelby. Tom then smashed a two-out RBI double into the left-centerfield gap, scoring Cousino for a 10-0 lead.