No. 19 UK Hosts No. 1 Vanderbilt In Three-Game Set
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The No. 19 Kentucky baseball team returns to Southeastern Conference action, as it plays host to No. 1 Vanderbilt in a three-game series, beginning on Friday at 6:30 p.m. EDT at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
“This will be a tremendous challenge for us and the kids are looking forward to it,” Kentucky head coach John Cohen said. “I really like this group of kids. They compete really hard and are always seeking ways to improve. Vanderbilt enters as the No. 1 team in the country and [Vanderbilt Head Coach] Tim Corbin has done an amazing job with that club. We really need to be on top of our game and come out with a lot of intensity and focus.”
Kentucky (25-7-1, 5-6-1 SEC) enters the series two and a half games out of first place in the SEC East. The Wildcats dropped two of three to Tennessee last weekend before losing a mid-week contest to intra-state rival Louisville on Wednesday. The loss to the Cardinals snapped UK’s 36-game regular season non-conference winning streak. Kentucky, who set the school record by winning its first 19 opening games, will look to rebound against the powerful Commodores, who enter having won two consecutive SEC series.
Vanderbilt (30-5, 7-5 SEC) brings one of the best pitching staffs in college baseball to Cliff Hagan for the weekend, highlighted by super southpaw David Price. Price, a junior from Murfreesboro, Tenn., is widely regarded as the best collegiate prospect in the nation. Price has racked up a staggering 99 strikeouts in just 68 1/3 innings, to complement a perfect 6-0 record. A year ago, Price set the Vandy school record by striking out 155.
“I am a huge David Price fan,” Cohen said. “Two years ago I was fortunate enough to be on the Team USA staff and David was one of the pitchers. He could end up being the No. 1 player taken overall in the draft. When you face a pitcher of David’s caliber you need to have a plan and we will have one. You got to hope that some things go your way. He is certainly outstanding and that whole pitching staff is outstanding.”
The Wildcats enter having been paced by a pair of senior standouts, Mike Brown and Sean Coughlin. Brown leads the club in batting average, reaching at a .425 clip. Coughlin paces the league in RBI, driving in 49, in addition to ripping six home runs.
On Friday, Kentucky will run out sophomore southpaw Chris Rusin to face off with the acclaimed Price. Rusin has notched a 3-2 record and a 4.53 ERA in 43 2/3 innings of work. Saturday will mark a matchup of undefeated pitchers, as Vandy will send Mike Minor to the bump to face off with UK lefty Andrew Albers. Albers has tallied a perfect 5-0 record and a 3.30 ERA in 43 2/3 innings, while Minor has accumulated an excellent 1.88 ERA and a 5-0 record. Sunday, preseason All-American Greg Dombrowski takes the hill for UK to face off with Nick Christiani.
Fans in Lexington can catch the action Friday and Sunday live on the Big Blue Sports Network (TV), with Dick Gabriel and former UK letterman and Gold Glove winner, Doug Flynn. The games will be televised locally live on CWKYT (Insight Lexington Channel 5) and live on the Fox College Sports Network. The Friday evening contest will also be televised on Fox Sports Net South, in a delayed broadcast, beginning at 10:30 p.m. EDT. All three games will be broadcast on WLAP 630-AM, by the voice of UK baseball, Neil Price.
Teams in the National Rankings
Radio (Big Blue Sports Network with Neil Price)
Television (BBSN with Dick Gabriel and Doug Flynn)
SEC Teleconference Quotes
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