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No. 30 Baseball Travels to No. 10 Arkansas

Gunner Glad leads UK with 21 RBI.

Gunner Glad leads UK with 21 RBI.

Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Having faced a ranked opponent in seven of the last nine games, the No. 30 Kentucky baseball team hits the road for a three-game series at No. 10 Arkansas, Friday-Sunday at Baum Stadium.

Kentucky (17-9, 1-5 Southeastern Conference) has faced a ranked foe in seven of the last nine games and is in the midst of facing ranked opponents in 19 of 20 games. Arkansas, ranked as high as No. 10 in the weekly Baseball America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association rankings, marks UK’s highest ranked opponent of the season.

The Wildcats are coming off two midweek games, picking up a, 11-2 road win at Cincinnati and suffering a 6-3 setback against No. 18 Western Kentucky on Wednesday. In the win over Cincinnati, UK got a strong outing from sophomore right-hander Sean Bouthilette, who tossed six innings, allowing three hits and two runs – one earned – walking just one and striking out a career-best six. Senior Gunner Glad had a career day, launching a homer as part of a four-hit night. In the 6-2 loss to WKU Wednesday, UK owned a 3-2 lead before the Hilltoppers erased it with two-run innings in the sixth and seventh innings, with Saturday starter Shane Cameron and closer Rye Davis closing the door on a UK comeback.

All three games will be broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear all three games live on WLAP 630-AM and in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM.

UK will send its regular weekend rotation of Logan Darnell, Taylor Rogers and Alex Meyer to the mound in Fayetteville. Darnell (3-2, 3.79 ERA) leads the SEC in innings pitched, tossing 40.1 frames, in six starts, striking out 32. Arkansas with counter with sophomore southpaw Drew Smyly (2-0, 1.69 ERA). Smyly has led the staff in his six appearances and four starts, striking out a club-best 36 in his 26.2 innings. In his last start, Darnell took the loss on Friday night at No. 20 Vanderbilt, going 5.1 innings, allowing nine hits, seven runs – five earned, walking four and striking out three.

Saturday, Rogers (3-2, 3.99 ERA), UK’s dynamic freshman southpaw, will get the call in his seventh career start and his third career conference start. Rogers, a native of Littleton, Colo., has tossed 38.1 innings on the year, allowing only eight walks and striking out 15. In his last start, Rogers tossed a gem, allowing two runs in the bottom of the first inning at Vandy in his first career SEC road start, before settling down to toss shutout innings in six consecutive frames. Rogers took the hard-luck loss, with UK falling 2-1 in the contest, with only one of the runs he allowed in his eight innings pitched going as earned. Arkansas will counter with senior right-hander Mike Bolsinger (3-0, 3.18 ERA). Bolsinger has started six games for the Razorbacks, going 34 innings and striking out 28.

Sunday, the Wildcats will turn to Meyer (4-2, 6.15 ERA), a sophomore right-hander. A 6-foot-9, 220-pounder, Meyer ranked third in the SEC in strikeouts, fanning 42 in 33.2 innings. In his last two starts, Meyer has been excellent, tossing 12.2 innings with a 1-0 record and a 4.26 ERA, striking out 16 and issuing just six walks. In his last start at Vanderbilt in the series finale, Meyer put UK in a position to win, tossing six strong innings, allowing three earned runs and exiting with UK holding a three-run lead. Meyer will face off with Vanderbilt sophomore right-hander Brett Eibner (2-2, 2.28 ERA). Eibner, a dynamic two-way talent, has started six games, tossing 27.2 frames and striking out 23.

Kentucky has been led by a .291 team average, adding a 3.86 ERA and a .962 fielding percentage. UK leads the conference in hit batters (65) and stolen bases (60), also pacing the league in defensive assists and double plays (29).

Preseason All-American Chris Bisson has led UK at the plate, ranking ninth in the SEC with a .383 (31-for-81) average, totaling 17 RBI and 12 stolen bases in his 21 games. Sophomore leftfielder Chad Wright has hit .349 (37-for-106) with six doubles, two triples, two homers and 20 RBI, stealing 7-of-9 bags. Glad leads the team with 21 RBI, batting .347 (33-for-95) with six doubles and four homers. Senior centerfielder Keenan Wiley has charted a .337 (31-for-92) average with three homers, 20 RBI and seven steals, while sophomore rightfielder Cory Farris leads the team and ranks eighth in the SEC with six homers, batting .290 (18-for-62) with 17 RBI. Sophomore Braden Kapteyn has hit .266 (21-for-79), with three homers and 15 RBI and senior catcher Marcus Nidiffer has batted .254 (16-for-63) with three homers and 13 RBI.

In the bullpen, UK has been led by junior right-hander Matt Little (1-0, 1.66 ERA) who ranks third in the SEC in saves (four) and games finished (10). Little has totaled 30 strikeouts in his 21.2 relief innings, allowing just eight hits and a .119 opponent average. Submarine right-hander Nick Kennedy (1-1, 0.75 ERA) has been dominating in relief as well, striking out 18 in 12 innings.

Defensively, UK shortstop Taylor Black leads the SEC in assists (89), ranking 10th in the league in double plays (26). Glad ranks third in the league in chances (224), leading the conference in double plays (26).

Arkansas (20-5, 4-2 SEC) is coming a College World Series appearance a year ago and has jumped out to a great start in 2010. The Razorbacks have won eight straight games, including a series sweep over No. 16 Alabama last weekend. As a team, Arkansas has hit for a .294 average, totaled a 3.19 team ERA and posted a .961 fielding percentage. The Razorbacks lone two conference losses came at the hands of defending NCAA champion LSU on the road.

Individually, Arkansas has been led by Louisville, Ky., native Zach Cox, who paces the team with a .414 (41-for-99) average, adding five homers and 27 RBI, drawing 20 walks and striking out just 10 times. Collin Kuhn  has added a .337 (31-for-92) average with four homers, 19 RBI and 11 stolen bases, while Bo Bigham has posted a .33 (18-for-54) average with 10 RBI in his 16 games. First baseman Andy Wilkins leads the SEC in homers (10), adding a .319 (30-for-94) average with seven doubles and a team-high 34 RBI. Eibner has hit seven homers to complement his .311 (23-for-74) average, with catcher James McCann adding a .282 (24-for-85) average, with four homers and 15 RBI.

In the bullpen, D.J. Baxendale (0-0, 2.53 ERA) leads the team with six saves in his 13 relief appearances, striking out 19 in 21.1 frames. T.J. Forrest (5-0, 2.66 ERA) has been a workhorse out of the bullpen, with Arkansas also using Geoffrey Davenport (2-2, 3.60 ERA) and Jeremy Heatley (2-0, 4.66 ERA) 10 or more times out of the bullpen.

Arkansas leads the all-time series between the two schools, 29-17. The two teams have not played since the 2007 season, when UK lost 2-of-3 in Lexington. In the last series played in Fayetteville, Arkansas posted a series win in 2006.

“We’ve got a big series this weekend against Kentucky, which started the season really well,” head coach Dave Van Horn said. “Since conference started, they’ve had to play two of the best teams, at home against Ole and then on the road at Vandy, and lost a couple of close games.

“They’re in the same boat we’re in. They played two games this week and they’re probably feeling the same way we are with the grind of the season catching up to everybody. Kentucky was touting a great pitching staff with some good left-handed pitching and a big right hander. We feel like we’ve got our hands full and it’s like that every weekend in league play.”

Records
Kentucky – 17-9, 1-5 SEC
Arkansas – 20-5, 4-2 SEC

Rankings
Kentucky
•    No. 30 (National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association)
Arkansas
•    No. 19 (Collegiate Baseball Newspaper)
•    No. 10 (NCBWA)
•    No. 10 (Baseball America)
•    No. 13 (USA Today/ESPN)

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) – Fayetteville, Ark.
Friday, April 2 * at No. 10 Arkansas * 7:35 p.m.
Saturday, April 3 * at No. 10 Arkansas * 3:05 p.m.
Sunday, April 4 * at No. 10 Arkansas * 2:05 p.m.

Radio (BBSN with Neil Price)
Friday:
•    WLAP 630-AM in Lexington
•    WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville
Saturday:
•    WLAP 630-AM in Lexington
•    WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville
Sunday:
•    WLAP 630-AM in Lexington
•    WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville

Internet Coverage
Live audio and stats on UKathletics.com

Tentative Pitching Matchups
Friday vs. Arkansas
LHP Logan Darnell (3-2, 3.79 ERA) vs. LHP Drew Smyly (2-0, 1.69 ERA)
Saturday vs. Arkansas
LHP Taylor Rogers (3-2, 3.99 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Bolsinger (3-0, 3.18 ERA)
Sunday vs. Arkansas
RHP Alex Meyer (4-2, 6.15 ERA) vs. RHP Brett Eibner (2-2, 2.28 ERA)

Stadium
Baum Stadium (10,737)


 

 

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