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Wildcats Travel to Face Big East Power Louisville

ky baseball field 300LEXINGTON, Ky. (4/2/13) – Fresh off its third series win to open Southeastern Conference play, No. 7 Kentucky will step out of league action to face No. 9 Louisville in a top-10 showdown on Tuesday, with first pitch at Jim Patterson Stadium slated for 6 p.m. ET.
 
The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
 
The Wildcats will send freshman right-hander Kyle Cody (2-1, 6.48 ERA) to the mound for his fourth career start. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound native of Chippewa Falls, Wis., has tossed 16.2 innings, allowing 17 hits and six walks, striking out 16. In his last outing, Cody worked a shutout inning in his SEC debut vs. Georgia on Saturday after tossing two shutout frames in a midweek win over Marshall. Louisville will counter with freshman right-hander Kyle Funkhouser (2-1, 1.59 ERA). Funkhouser has started two games and pitched in eight, tossing 22.2 innings, allowing only 20 hits and seven walks, striking out 21.
 
Last week, Kentucky (21-6, 6-3 SEC) posted a midweek 8-2 win over Marshall, before opening the series with Georgia in a 10-game thriller on Friday night. UK got a rally in the bottom of the 10th inning that resulted in a two-out walk from Max Kuhn with the bases loaded to give UK a 3-2 win. On Saturday, Georgia took a 7-3 lead before UK mounted a furious rally that fell short in a 7-6 loss. UK rebounded on Sunday in its third straight rubber-match win in 2013, 5-0, behind a dominating clutch performance from Corey Littrell.
 
During the four-game week, UK had a 2.19 ERA in its 37 innings, with Austin Cousino pacing the club with a .500 average (7-for-14), with four doubles, a triple and four RBI.
 
The Wildcats have hit .292 as a team in 27 games, with a .411 slugging and a .401 on-base percentage, stealing 37 bases. On the mound, UK has a 2.49 ERA in 242 innings, walking only 66 and striking out 208. Defensively, UK has a .969 fielding percentage, allowing only eight steals in 16 chances, turning 27 double plays and picking off six runners.
 
Freshman outfielder Kyle Barrett leads the Wildcats with a .364 average, owning three doubles and four RBI. Junior J.T. Riddle has a .359 mark with six doubles, one triple, one homer and 17 RBI, with a 14-4 walk-strikeout ratio and four steals. A.J. Reed has hit .340 with four doubles, two triples, six homers and 28 RBI, with Cousino batting .315 with eight doubles, one triple, four homers and 20 RBI, stealing four bases. Catcher Micheal Thomas has hit .315 with two homers and 18 RBI, with Kuhn owning a .273 average with seven doubles, one triple, one homer and 20 RBI, including a 24-16 walk-strikeout ratio.
 
UK’s all-lefty rotation of Reed (2-3, 2.57 ERA), Jerad Grundy (5-2, 2.15 ERA), and Littrell (4-0, 2.17 ERA) have been dynamic on the weekends. In the bullpen, Trevor Gott (3-0, 1.20 ERA) has seven saves in eight chances, striking out 19 and walking only three in 15 innings. Senior Walter Wijas (2-0, 0.60 ERA) has appeared in 13 games and tossed 15 innings. Zach Strecker (1-0, 1.12 ERA), Ryne Combs (0-0, 1.23 ERA), Dylan Dwyer (1-0, 1.23 ERA), Chandler Shepherd (1-0, 4.07 ERA) and Cody have each appeared in at least seven games.
 
Louisville (22-5, 4-2 Big East) enters the midweek tilt ranked as high as No. 9 in the Baseball America top 25 announced on Monday. The Cardinals are coming off a 2-2 week that included a weekend series win over Notre Dame. UL has hit .305 as a team in 2013, slugging .421 and reaching base at a .397 clip, stealing a staggering 79 bases in 102 attempts. On the mound, the Cards have a 2.29 ERA in 248 innings, walking only 77 and striking out 262. Defensively, UL has fielded .968, turned 23 double plays and allowed 18 of 28 steal attempts.
 
The Cardinals have been led offensively by Ty Young, who has hit .374 with four doubles, four triples, one homer and 29 RBI in 2013, stealing 14 bases. Sutton Whiting has a .367 average with four doubles, three triples, one homer and 19 RBI, stealing 10 bases. Cole Sturgeon has a .333 average with a pair of doubles and triples, driving in 15 runs. Nick Ratajczak has hit .308 with two homers and 14 RBI, while outfielder Adam Engel has a .291 average with a team-high 28 steals.
 
In the bullpen, UL has been paced by Nick Burdi (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who has five saves in 10 relief outings, striking out a staggering 32 in 13.2 innings, walking only four and allowing just five hits and no runs. Kyle McGrath (4-0, 0.53 ERA), Cody Ege (0-1, 1.50 ERA) and Dace Kime (2-0, 4.44 ERA) have each appeared in 11 games.
 
UK leads the all-time series with Louisville, 66-35-1, including a 23-17-1 record in games played in Louisville. Last year, Louisville swept the two-game series with a pair of decisive wins, opening the set with a 12-0 win in Lexington and a 10-2 win at Jim Patterson Stadium.
 
In the first game of the 2012 series, Louisville got a dominating start from Jared Ruxer in Lexington, with the righty working six shutout innings. UK started Reed, who allowed nine hits and five runs in his 2.2 innings, with UK also using Sam Mahar, Tim Peterson, Jeff Boehm and Taylor Martin in relief. UK got two hits from Thomas McCarthy, as the Wildcats were limited to just four hits, with Riddle and Lucas Witt adding a knock. In the finale of 2013, Louisville posted a 10-2 win in Jim Patterson Stadium, getting two runs in the first and six runs in the third for an early margin. UK started Mahar, who worked two innings, allowing five hits and six runs. Shepherd worked 2.2 innings in relief, with Reed, Wijas and Peterson also tossing out of the bullpen.
 
UK ranks throughout the SEC stats, checking in No. 4 in average (.292), No. 4 in slugging (.411), second in on-base percentage (.401), fourth in runs scored (185), fourth in RBI (167), fifth in doubles (46), fourth in homers (16), fifth in total bases, first in hit by pitch (50) and fifth in steals (37). UK also ranks fourth in ERA (2.49), first in fewest walks allowed and fifth in fielding double plays. Individually, Riddle ranks 11th in average, 10th in on-base percentage (.455) and 14th in hits (37). Reed checks in sixth in slugging (.592), eighth in RBI (28), fourth in homers (six) and seventh in total bases (61). Cousino ranks eighth in slugging (.519), fourth in runs (28), sixth in doubles (eight), seventh in homers (four) and 11th in steals (eight).

SurfKY News
Information provided by Brent Ingram
Photo provided by SurfKY Graphics

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