No. 8 Baseball Hosts Akron in First Home Series
Feb. 28, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Winners of four consecutive games, No. 8 Kentucky will return to action with its first home weekend series of the year, welcoming Akron for a three-game set, starting on Friday at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The series will resume on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET and conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
All three games will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with Dick Gabriel and Neil Price voicing the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the games live in Central Kentucky on WWTF 1580-AM, online at UKathletics.com.
Kentucky (7-1) will send its weekend rotation of sophomore southpaw A.J. Reed (1-1, 5.79 ERA) to the mound on Friday, senior southpaw Jerad Grundy (2-0, 0.69 ERA) on Saturday and junior lefty Corey Littrell (0-0, 6.52 ERA) on Sunday. Akron will counter with sophomore right-hander Jon Pusateri (0-1, 5.59 ERA) on Friday, freshman southpaw John Valek (0-1, 5.87 ERA) on Saturday and freshman righty J.T. Brubaker (0-1, 5.25 ERA) on Sunday.
A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed will be making his third start of the year in 2013. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound southpaw has worked 9.1 innings, allowing 13 hits and six runs, not allowing a walk with seven strikeouts. In his career, Reed has totaled a 6-4 record for a 3.00 ERA in 18 games and seven starts, tossing 63 innings, walking nine and striking out 58. Reed will face off with Pusateri, who will be making his third start of the year. Pusateri has worked 9.2 innings, allowing 13 hits and three walks, striking out five. In his last start, Pusateri worked 5.1 innings at No. 4 Louisville, allowing nine hits and six runs - five earned - walking two and striking out one. Reed suffered the loss vs. Kansas State on Thursday in his last start in Myrtle Beach. Reed worked 4.1 innings vs. the Cats, allowing seven hits and four runs, striking out three.
Grundy, a native of Johnsburg, Ill., has dominated through his first two starts of the year. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound southpaw has worked 13 innings and allowed only one earned run. Grundy has surrendered seven hits and three walks, striking out 12. In his two-year UK career, Grundy has made 18 starts, with an 8-3 record and a 3.38 ERA, tossing 98.2 innings, allowing only 86 hits and striking out 75. In his last start vs. Elon and ace Phoenix lefty Dylan Clark, Grundy worked seven innings, allowing three hits and one run, walking two and striking out three. Valek has appeared in two games with one start, working 7.2 innings, with six hits and six walks allowed, striking out one. Valek's last start at No. 4 Louisville lasted four innings, allowing four this and five runs - four earned - walking four and not striking anyone out.
Littrell, a native of Louisville, Ky., and a product of Trinity High School, will be making his third start of the year and the 32nd of his three-year career. The 2010 Louisville Slugger Kentucky High School Mr. Baseball has worked 9.2 innings in 2013, allowing 13 hits and seven walks, striking out seven. In his career, Littrell has a 15-8 record with a 4.58 ERA, working 177 innings, allowing 207 hits and 61 walks, striking out 145. At Coastal Carolina on Sunday, Littrell worked 6.1 innings, allowing four hits and two runs, walking five and striking out four. Brubaker has made two starts, working 12 innings, allowing 12 hits and two walks, striking out five. In his last start, Brubaker worked 7.2 strong innings in a loss at No. 4 Louisville, allowing only four hits and no walks, striking out three.
Kentucky is coming off its first two home wins of the 2013 season, after opening with 11 of 12 days on the road. UK picked up wins the first two weekends in the Palmetto State over UNC Asheville, Niagara and USC Upstate, adding wins over Elon and Coastal Carolina, with its lone loss coming to Kansas State in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
On Tuesday, after a three-hour rain delay, UK got a stellar relief outing from sophomore Chandler Shepherd in the home lidlifter, with Shepherd working 5.2 innings without allowing an earned run, striking out a career-high six. In a 6-2 win over Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday, the Wildcats battled another 62-minute weather delay, before securing the win with Trevor Gott's first save of 2013.
UK has hit .310 as a team in 2013, slugging .426 and reaching base at a .415 clip, stealing 14 bases. On the mound, UK has a 3.04 team ERA, holding opponents to a .260 average, with UK fielding .961 as a club. UK has shined in late-inning situations, outscoring opponents 25-5 after the seventh inning. Defensively, UK has three runners picked off and have surrendered only two steals and turned six double plays.
Individually, junior second baseman J.T. Riddle leads the club with a .529 average, totaling three doubles, one triple, one homer and eight RBI, scoring a club-best 12 runs and owning a 3-1 walk-strikeout ratio, adding a pair of steals. Sophomore third baseman Max Kuhn has hit .367 with two doubles, one triple and nine RBI, leading the team with nine walks. Reed has hit .313 with a triple, two homers and a team-leading 11 RBI. Shortstop Matt Reida has hit .310 with two doubles and seven RBI, with catcher Micheal Thomas batting .300 with six RBI. Infielder Paul McConkey has hit .278 with a double and four RBI, while All-America centerfielder Austin Cousino has tallied a .273 average with 11 runs, three doubles, one homer, six RBI and five steals.
In the bullpen, Gott has led the team with his two wins in three shutout relief outings, notching a save in five innings, allowing two hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. Shepherd has appeared in three games with a 1-0 record and a 2.61 ERA in 10.1 innings, allowing nine hits, five walks and striking out nine. Freshman lefty Dylan Dwyer (0-0, 0.00 ERA) has appeared in three games and worked five shutout innings, allowing four hits and no walks, striking out four. Senior righty Walter Wijas (1-0, 0.00 ERA) has worked in three games with 4.1 innings without allowing an earned run, with Zach Strecker (0-0, 0.00 ERA) leading the team with four appearances, working two hitless innings with four strikeouts. Freshman Tyler Cox (0-0, 0.00 ERA) and sophomore lefty Jeff Boehm (0-0, 9.00 ERA) have appeared in a game in relief, with freshman right-hander Kyle Cody (0-0, 11.25 ERA) making three relief outings with one start, tossing four innings. Freshman Ryne Combs (0-0, 1.42 ERA) has appeared in three games with one start, working 6.1 innings.
UK ranks throughout the SEC stats, checking in fifth in the SEC in average (.310), on-base percentage (.415) and slugging percentage (.426). Individually, Riddle ranks among the league leaders in nearly every category, including checking in second in hits (18), third in runs (12), third in doubles (three), third in total bases (26), second in on-base percentage (.600) and fourth in slugging (.765). Reed ranks sixth in the league in RBI, Cousino checks in seventh in steals, with Kuhn ranking third in the SEC in walks. On the mound, Grundy ranks third in innings pitched (13) and ninth in opponent batting average (.152).
UK will be meeting Akron for the second time in program history, posting a 4-0 win in Lexington in 1971.
Akron (0-6) has hit .175 as a team in six games, with a .206 slugging and a .238 on-base percentage, stealing four bases and hitting one homer. The Zips have a 5.81 ERA on the mound, walking 19 in 48 innings with 20 strikeouts. Defensively, Akron has fielded .965 with two double plays turned and 18 steals surrendered.
Individually, the Zips have been led by Brady Stewart and his .381 average, with Stewart adding a double and an RBI. Joey Havrilak has hit .286 with a double, homer and RBI, while Jared Turocy has batted .250 with an RBI. Devan Ahart has hit .238 with an RBI and two steals. In the bullpen, Andrew Fanning (0-0, 0.00 ERA), Samuel Trecaso (0-0, 0.00 ERA), Matt Larroca (0-0, 3.00 ERA), Zach Beaver (0-0, 3.86 ERA) and Joe Cochran (0-0, 13.50 ERA) have each appeared in two games in relief.
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Radio (BBSN with Neil Price and Dick Gabriel)
Tentative Pitching Matchups
UK will utilize two lots: the C8 lot behind Shively Sports Center, and brand-new Parking Structure 7 on the corner of Complex Drive and Jerry Claiborne Way. Both parking lots are only steps away from Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Fans who park in the PS7 lot will be given a parking value card to exit the structure free of charge. Value cards should be picked up at the baseball ticket booth prior to the fifth inning.
Fans should not use the university "R" lots adjacent to the dorms or on the south side of Nutter Training Facility. These lots are patrolled by the university 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fans that park in these lots may be ticketed or towed. Plenty of parking is available in the C8 and PS7 lots.
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