March 29, 201
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- In the midst of facing ranked opponents in 19 of 20 games, the Kentucky baseball team will continue its four-game road swing, traveling to face Cincinnati, with first pitch at Marge Schott Stadium on Tuesday slated for 6:30 p.m. ET.
Kentucky (16-8, 1-5 Southeastern Conference) was swept in a three-game series at No. 20 Vanderbilt last weekend and picked up a midweek win over defending Atlantic 10 Conference champion Xavier last Tuesday. UK will face Cincinnati on Tuesday, before returning home to face No. 22 Western Kentucky on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET. Following the WKU contest, UK will hit the road to face No. 16 Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., over the weekend.
The Wildcats are currently in the middle of a stretch of facing ranked opponents in 19 of 20 games, including a stretch of 16 straight. The lone exception in the 20-game span is UK’s Tuesday game at Cincinnati. Last week, UK ranked as high as No. 24 in the weekly top 25 polls.
The game will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with Dick Gabriel calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WGVN 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
Kentucky has been led offensively by junior preseason All-American second baseman Chris Bisson, who has hit for a .389 (28-for-72) average, with four doubles, one triple, two homers and 17 RBI, stealing 8-of-12 bases. Sophomore leftfielder Chad Wright has hit .347 (34-for-98) with six doubles, two triples, two homers and 19 RBI, while senior centerfielder Keenan Wiley has batted .337 (28-for-83) with four doubles, three homers and 19 RBI. Senior utility man Gunner Glad has added a .322 (28-for-87) average with six doubles, two homers and 16 RBI, with Braden Kapteyn totaling a .292 (21-for-72) mark, with six doubles, three homers and 15 RBI. Sophomore rightfielder Cory Farris leads the team with six homers, adding a .286 (16-for-56) average with three doubles and 16 RBI. Junior shortstop Taylor Black has batted .250 (16-for-64) with one homer, 12 RBI and seven steals, while senior backstop Marcus Nidiffer has hit .250 (15-for-60) with three homers and 12 RBI.
On the mound, UK has been led by its weekend rotation of Logan Darnell, Taylor Rogers and Alex Meyer. Darnell leads the team with 40.1 innings pitched in six starts, striking out 32. Rogers had totaled a 3.99 ERA in his first three collegiate starts, hurling 38.1 innings. Meyer, a 6-foot-9, 220-pounder has totaled a 4-2 record and a 6.15 ERA, striking out 42 in 33.2 innings. In the bullpen, Matt Little has appeared in a team-high 10 games, totaling a 1-0 record and a 1.71 ERA, leading the team with four saves and 29 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched.
Cincinnati (12-9, 1-2 Big East) is coming off a 4-3 win Sunday against Villanova in Plymouth Meeting, Pa., dropping the first two games of the series. The Bearcats have totaled a .262 team average and posted a 3.95 team ERA on the mound, fielding .968 as a club. Individually, UC has been led by Mikel Huston, who paces the team with a .358 (19-for-53) average, with three doubles and five RBI. Jimmy Jacquot has hit .347 (25-for-72) with three homers and 17 RBI, while T.J. Jones has hit .333 (25-for-75) with four doubles, one homer and 17 RBI. Chris Peters has added a .280 (21-for-75) average with four doubles and 11 RBI, while Jamel Scott has hit .253 (20-for-79) with three RBI, 14 walks and 12 stolen bases.
In the bullpen, UC has been led by Andrew Burkett (1-1, 2.35 ERA), who leads the team with seven relief appearances and four saves, tossing 7.2 innings, with four walks and 12 strikeouts. Sam Slavik (0-1, 4.50 ERA) has also appeared in seven games, along with Brian Garman (2-0, 1.66 ERA), who has hurled 21.1 innings, with 26 strikeouts.
The Bearcats are starting junior left-hander Kevin Johnson (0-0, 4.26 ERA), a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder with four appearances and one start this season. Johnson has tossed 6.1 innings, allowing six hits and three runs, walking three and striking out eight. UK has not determined a starting pitcher.
UK leads the all-time series with UC, 52-29-2, with the series tied 15-15-1 in games played in the Queen City. Despite losing the last meeting in 2009, UK has won two of the last three meetings in the series. Last season, UC posted a 12-6 win over the Wildcats, expanding on a 7-5 lead with four runs in the eighth and one run in the ninth to seal the victory. UK started Clint Tilford who went three innings, allowing two hits and two walks, striking out two and being relieved by then true freshman Chase Greene. UK also used Darnell, Kapteyn and Tyler Henry, in addition to pulling Glad off the bench to pitch in his first career game. UC got a three-hit, four-RBI game from Lance Durham in the game, with Mike Spina totaling three hits and Jones adding three RBI. UC started Nick Johnson, who went one inning, allowing three hits, three runs and three walks, also using Tyler Smith, Dan Glozer, Brian Sand, Billy Welsh, Andrew Burkett, Dan Jensen and Jake Geglein on the bump.
In the last meeting in Cincinnati, UC had a school-record crowd in attendance (1,094) for a 9-4 UK win. UK started Tilford again on the mound, with him going four innings, with one earned run and four walks. Collin Cowgill led the charge for UK offensively, going 2-for-3 with four RBI and a home run. Wiley went 2-for-4 in the leadoff spot, with Brian Spear and Tyler Howe each charting multiple hits. UK scored six runs in the first four innings of the win, adding a three-run inning in the top of the eighth. Nick Johnson started on the mound for UK, going 3.2 innings, allowing six hits and six runs. Josh Harrison led the way for UC in the game, going 3-for-5.
UK ranks throughout the SEC stats, checking in as a team third in home runs (29), first in hit batters (59), first in stolen bases (48), first in defensive assists (303), second in chances (978) and first in fielding double plays (27). Individually, Bisson ranks sixth in the league in average (.389), 10th in on-base percentage (.476), with Wright ranking fifth in triples (two). Farris ranks seventh in home runs (six), Black ranks second in hit by pitches (12), with Neiko Johnson leading the SEC in stolen bases (15). Darnell leads the league in innings pitched (40.1), with Meyer ranking third in strikeouts (42) and Little ranking third in saves (four). Defensively, Black leads the SEC in assists (84), with Glad leading the SEC in double plays (24).
Kentucky – 16-8, 1-5 SEC
Cincinnati – 12-9, 1-2 Big East
• Gary Henderson (San Diego State, 1984)
• 44-34 (.564) – second year
• Brian Cleary (Fairfield, 1990)
• 347-412-1 (.457) – 14th year
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Cincinnati, Ohio
Tuesday, March 30 * at Cincinnati * 6:30 p.m.
Radio (BBSN with Dick Gabriel)
• WGVN 1580-AM in Lexington
Live audio and stats on UKathletics.com
Tentative Pitching Matchups
Tuesday vs. Cincinnati
TBA vs. LHP Kevin Johnson (0-0, 4.26 ERA)
Marge Schott Stadium (3,085)