Posted: Feb 25, 2013 5:39 PM
Coming off a stretch of 11 of the last 12 days on the road, No. 8 Kentucky opens its season-opening, eight-game homestand with midweek games with Murray State and Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday and Wednesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. UK will face Murray State on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET and EKU on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.
Kentucky (5-1) opened the 2013 season with two consecutive trips to South Carolina, including a three-game swing in Spartanburg and the three-game Caravelle Resort Invitational, hosted by Coastal Carolina at Myrtle Beach. UK posted wins over UNC Asheville (9-2), Niagara (20-3), USC Upstate (11-10), Elon (6-1) and Coastal Carolina (8-2), with its lone loss coming vs. Kansas State (5-7).
The Wildcats will send freshman right-hander Kyle Cody (0-0, 13.50 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday to face Murray State senior right-hander Tim Vonder Haar (1-0, 3.60 ERA). Cody will be making his first career start vs. the ‘Breds, with his collegiate debut coming in relief appearances vs. UNC Asheville and Kansas State. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound Cody tossed a shutout inning in his debut vs. UNC Asheville and allowed a two-run homer in the ninth inning of the loss vs. Kansas State, recording one out. Vonder Haar has appeared in two games with one start, working seven innings, allowing 10 hits and three runs, walking three and striking out eight. The Wildcats have not announced a starting pitcher for the game vs. EKU, with the Colonels countering with freshman right-hander Chris Cervantes (0-1, 10.38 ERA). Cervantes has appeared in three games with one start, tossing 4.1 innings, allowing seven hits and seven runs - five earned, walking one.
Kentucky has hit .314 as a team in six games, with 12 doubles, three triples, three homers and 59 runs scored, stealing 12 bases and fielding .969. On the mound, UK owns a 3.57 ERA in 53 innings, allowing 54 hits and 16 walks, striking out 42. UK has been outscored its opponents 18-2 in the eighth and ninth innings of 2013 and 59-25 overall.
Individually, J.T. Riddle leads the team with a .556 average (15-for-27) with three doubles, one triple, one homer and seven RBI, stealing two bags. Thomas Bernal has added a .364 average (4-for-11) with a pair of doubles and RBI, with sophomore Max Kuhn adding a .320 average (8-for-25) with a double and seven RBI. All-America centerfielder Austin Cousino is hitting .320 (8-for-25) with two doubles, a homer and four RBI, stealing five bases and scoring a club-best nine runs. A.J. Reed has hit .320 (9-for-25) with a triple, homer and seven RBI, while shortstop Matt Reida owns a .273 average (6-for-22).
On the mound, UK has used the weekend rotation of Reed (1-1, 5.79 ERA), Grundy (2-0, 0.69 ERA) and Corey Littrell (0-0, 6.52 ERA). In the bullpen, Gott (2-0, 0.00 ERA) has both wins with 3.2 shutout innings, with Walter Wijas, Dylan Dwyer, Zach Strecker and Tyler Cox each owning perfect ERAs in the bullpen.
Murray State (4-3) is coming off a three-game sweep of Bowling Green over the weekend. The ‘Breds have hit .298 as a team with a .357 slugging percentage and a .377 on-base mark, stealing 3-for-4 bases. On the mound, Murray State has a 5.83 ERA with three saves in 63.1 innings, walking 35 and striking out 37. Individually, Murray State has been led by Taylor Mathews with a .400 average, adding a double and three RBI. Brandon Eggenschwiler has hit .370 with two doubles and a club-best six RBI. Mike Kozlowski has hit .320 with a double and four RBI. Ty Stetson has hit .308 with a pair of doubles, Paul Ritzheimer has hit .273 with a double and an RBI, stealing two bases. In the bullpen, MSU has seen a club-high four relief outings from Brock Downey (0-0, 4.50 ERA) with a save in four innings. Tyler Saltsman (1-0, 16.20 ERA), Sheldon Baxter (1-1, 4.76 ERA), John Rafferty (0-0, 13.50 ERA) and Andrew Bramley (0-0, 0.00 ERA) have each made multiple relief appearances.
Eastern Kentucky (3-3) is coming off a pair of wins in Rock Hill, S.C., over the weekend, also playing three games at Charleston Southern and a midweek loss to Louisville. As a team, EKU has hit .292 with seven doubles, a homer and 14 steals in six games, fielding .920. On the mound, the Colonels have a 7.16 ERA with three saves in 49 innings, allowing 68 hits and 19 walks, striking out 31. Individually, Sean Hagen leads the club with a .467 average, owning a double and four RBI. Luke Wurzelbacher has hit .375 with a double and five RBI, while Demetrius Moorer has batted .353 with three RBI and an 11-2 walk-strikeout ratio, stealing three bags. Bryan Soloman hit .346 with a double and a team-leading six RBI. In the bullpen, Myles Scott (0-0, 2.25 ERA) has two saves in four innings, making a club-best three relief outings.
The Wildcats own a 13-5 all-time advantage in the series with the ‘Breds, including a 10-1 mark in Lexington. Last year, Murray State and UK split the two-game series, with UK winning 2-1 in Lexington in March and the ‘Breds posting a 7-3 win in Paducah as UK's final non-conference game of the regular season. In the first meeting, UK got a great start from Chandler Shepherd making his starting debut, working 5.1 shutout innings, with Gott getting the save in the ninth. UK got two hits from Reed, Zellers and Cameron Flynn. In the meeting at Brooks Stadium in Paducah, UK started Shepherd, who worked 4.2 innings, allowing five hits and three runs. Reed, Alex Phillips and Tim Peterson also worked in relief. Offensively, Luke Maile hit a homer and Riddle added a two-hit game. UK leads the all-time series with Eastern Kentucky 66-21-1, including a 38-11 mark in games played in Lexington.