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No. 23 Baseball Hosts Final Non-Conference Weekend

Catcher Micheal Thomas made his first career start on Wednesday.

Catcher Micheal Thomas made his first career start on Wednesday.

March 8, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Off to a 13-0 start and owning the nation’s best record, No. 23 Kentucky hosts Canisius in the final home non-conference weekend series of the regular-season, with a three-game set slated to begin on Friday at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The series will resume on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

Kentucky (13-0) is off to the fourth-best start in program history and enters the series owning the longest winning streak in college baseball and the best overall record. UK is one of only two undefeated teams remaining in the NCAA, joining 10-0 Gonzaga. Kentucky’s 13-0 start is behind only the 15-0 start for the 2000 UK team and the school-record 19-0 start in 2007 and 2008.

The three game series will be broadcast on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game on Friday on WGVN 1580-AM and on Saturday and Sunday on WLAP 630-AM, with all three games covered on UKathletics.com.

The Wildcats will send the same weekend rotation to the mound for the fourth consecutive week, with junior southpaw Taylor Rogers (3-0, 3.18 ERA) starting on Friday vs. redshirt junior right-hander Billy Martin (1-0, 5.40 ERA). UK will send junior southpaw Jerad Grundy (2-0, 3.24 ERA) to the bump on Saturday to face sophomore right-hander Garrett Cortright (2-1, 5.06 ERA). On Sunday, sophomore southpaw Corey Littrell (2-0, 1.89 ERA) will face CC freshman righty Devon Stewart (0-1, 3.12 ERA).

A native of Littleton, Colo., Rogers enters his fourth start of the year as the league leader in strikeouts and wins. Through his first 17 innings of 2012, Rogers – the winning pitcher at the 2012 Cape Cod League All-Star Game at Fenway Park – has allowed only 14 hits and four walks, striking out 28. Martin has made three starts for CC, tossing 18.1 innings, allowing 26 hits and 11 runs, walking 11 and striking out 12.

Grundy, a transfer from Miami (Fla.) and Heartland, has made three weekend starts in 2012, tossing 16.2 innings, allowing 13 hits and walking five, striking out 16. In his last start, Grundy fanned a career-best nine in seven innings of work. Cortright has made three starts this year for CC, tossing 16 innings, walking eight and striking out 17.

A native of Louisville, Ky., and the 2011 Louisville Slugger Kentucky High School Player of the year, Littrell has made three starts on Sunday’s in 2012. Through his team-high 19 innings, Littrell has walked four and struck out 20, allowing only 11 hits and a .177 opponent average. Stewart has made three starts in 2012, tossing 17.1 innings, allowing 16 hits and seven runs, walking eight and striking out 13.

UK has been led offensively in 2012 by freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino, who owns a .429 average, with seven doubles, one triple, one homer and 11 RBI, stealing three bases. Outfielder Cameron Flynn has hit .417 with four doubles, two homers and eight RBI, while outfielder Zac Zellers owns a .382 average with three doubles, one triple, a team-high three homers and nine RBI. Catcher Luke Maile has hit .375 with four doubles, three homers and 16 RBI, owning a team-high six steals and a 9-1 walk-strikeout ratio. Freshman A.J. Reed leads the team with 19 RBI, batting .324 with four doubles and one homer.

In the bullpen, Sam Mahar (0-0, 1.29 ERA), Tim Peterson (1-0, 1.42 ERA) and Trevor Gott (1-0, 3.60 ERA) have each appeared in a team-high three games, with Gott leading the team with two saves. Senior Alex Phillips (0-0, 2.45 ERA) and junior Walter Wijas (1-0, 4.70 ERA) have each appeared in five games. Reed (2-0, 2.31 ERA), Chandler Shepherd (1-0, 5.00 ERA) and Chris Garrison (0-0, 8.10 ERA) have appeared in three games each.

Canisius (7-5) owns wins over Youngstown State, Marshall, Duke, Long Island and Buffalo early in 2012, playing a four-game series at Duke and four games at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, N.C. As a team, the Golden Griffs have hit .283 with six homers in 12 games and a .965 fielding percentage, posting a 4.96 team ERA with five saves in 101.2 innings, striking out 73. Offensively, Chris Gruarin leads the club with a .417 average, belting two doubles, three triples, two homers and 16 RBI, stealing five bases. Ronnie Bernick has hit .360 with two doubles and four RBI, while Shane Zimmer has hit .320 with one double and 10 RBI, with a 13-6 walk-strikeout ratio.

In the bullpen for Canisius, Jon Fitzsimmons (0-0, 0.00 ERA) has saved four games in 3.1 innings, allowing four hits and one walk, striking out four. Nathan Linesman (3-0, 1.04 ERA) has tossed 8.2 innings with five walks and five strikeouts. Eric Stolzenburg (0-1, 11.57 ERA) has appeared in four games, with 2.1 innings pitched.  

UK ranks throughout the SEC stats as a team ranking first in average (.333), second in slugging (.501), second in on-base percentage (.441), second in runs scored (116), third in hits (148), second in RBI (107), third in doubles (30), second in home runs (13), second in walks (71) and third in stolen bases (19). On the mound, UK ranks sixth in ERA (2.92), third in opponent average (.205), second in strikeouts (132) and third in fielding percentage (.978).

UK leads the series, 3-0, winning the meeting last season 12-4. UK won the first two meetings in 2007, with a 13-2 result and a 12-10 in at Cliff Hagan Stadium. In a midweek game on March 23, UK started Jonathan Paquet, who worked 4.1 innings, allowing five hits and two runs, walking one and striking out five. UK used Wijas, Phillips and Nick Kennedy in relief. UK opened up with a run in the first inning, before falling behind after CC scored two in the top of the third. UK responded with nine runs over the fourth and fifth innings. UK was led offensively by a three-hit, four-RBI game from shortstop Taylor Black. Chad Wright had three hits, while Braden Kapteyn had four RBI. Often used reliever Mike Kaczmarek made a start as the designated hitter as he transitioned to the outfield as a senior, belting his first career homer in a 2-foi-3 game.

Records
Kentucky – 13-0, 0-0 SEC
Canisius – 7-5, 0-0 MAAC

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Friday, March 9 * vs. Canisius * 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 10 * vs. Canisius * 1 p.m.
Sunday, March 11 * vs. Canisius * 1 p.m.

Radio (BBSN with Neil Price)
Friday: WGVN 1580-AM in Lexington, online at UKathletics.com
Saturday: WLAP 630-AM in Lexington, online at UKathletics.com
Sunday: WLAP 630-AM in Lexington, online at UKathletics.com

Internet Coverage
Live video, audio and stats on UKathletics.com

Tentative Pitching Matchups
Friday vs. Canisius
Jr., LHP Taylor Rogers (3-0, 3.18 ERA) vs. R-Jr., RHP Billy Martin (1-0, 5.40 ERA)
Saturday vs. Canisius
Jr., LHP Jerad Grundy (2-0, 3.24 ERA) vs. So., RHP Garrett Cortright (2-1, 5.06 ERA)
Sunday vs. Canisius
So., LHP Corey Littrell (2-0, 1.89 ERA) vs. Fr., RHP Devon Stewart (0-1, 3.12 ERA)

Stadium
Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)

Parking
Parking at Cliff Hagan Stadium is FREE.

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 will be available in the C8 and PS7 lots.

Tickets
SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors

SEASON TICKET PRICES
$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating


 

 

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