LEXINGTON, Ky. (4/22/14) — Coming off three road wins last week, No. 17 Kentucky will return home to host the NCAA leader in runs scored, Tennessee Tech, Tuesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium with first pitch slated for 6:30 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 game will pit two of the top scoring teams in college baseball, as Tennessee Tech leads the NCAA in runs (355) and walks (239), ranking sixth in average (.316), fourth in doubles (90), third in hits (471), homers (48), second in scoring (8.5 runs per game) and third in slugging (.485). UK ranks fourth in runs scored (333), seventh in homers (71), ninth in hits (437), eighth in on-base percentage (.406), seventh in slugging (.451) and fourth in scoring (8.3 runs per game).
Kentucky (26-14) moved up to No. 17 in the latest Baseball America top 25 after its four-game road swing that saw a win at No. 9 Louisville and a series win at Texas A&M. UK is also ranked No. 18 by Perfect Game, No. 21 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 22 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association) and No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll.
Tennessee Tech will turn to junior right-hander Jacob Honea (3-2, 4.71 ERA) for the start Tuesday against the Wildcats, with UK yet to announce a starter. Honea has appeared in 14 games with six starts, working 28.2 innings, allowing 13 walks and striking out 20, surrendering 33 hits.
Last week, Kentucky posted a 4-2 win at No. 9 Louisville Tuesday, riding a strong bullpen effort from freshmen Logan Salow, the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week, and Zack Brown, who combined to fire six shutout innings. The win marked a series sweep over the Cardinals for UK as Kentucky posted an 8-3 win over the Cardinals April 1 in Lexington.
UK then traveled to red hot Texas A&M for a crucial three-game series at the Aggies, with TAMU coming off a series win at Vanderbilt and a 18-run win in midweek action. UK posted a thrilling 6-3 win Friday night to open the series, as A.J. Reed fired eight innings on the mound, allowing just one run, with UK breaking open a 3-3 game in the top of the ninth inning with three runs. UK then claimed the series win Saturday with an 11-4 result, taking an 11-1 lead into the ninth inning before the Aggies plated three runs for the final margin. UK got four-hit games from Reed and Max Kuhn in the win, with the duo both homering and Kuhn adding doubles down both lines. The Aggies prevented a historic sweep for UK Sunday, as the Wildcats were looking for just its sixth road SEC sweep in the last 35 years and its first since 2008 and 2000. TAMU got a five-run inning in the first on five two-out runs and never looked back in a 14-2 win to finish the series.
Coached by former Wildcat star Matt Bragga, Tennessee Tech (32-10) is paced by an explosive offensive attack that leads the NCAA in runs scored. The Eagles have hit .316 with 90 doubles, nine triples, 48 homers and 326 RBI in 42 games, owning a .485 slugging and a .419 on base percentage, stealing 39 bases. On the mound, TTU has a 3.80 ERA with 10 saves in 376.2 innings, walking 132 and striking out 313. Defensively, TTU has fielded. 977, turning 35 double plays and allowing 28-of-57 stolen-base attempts.
Tennessee Tech has been led individually by Daniel Miles, who has hit .394 with seven homers and 38 RBI. Brandon Thomasson has slugged 12 homers and has 48 RBI with a .327 average, while Zach Stephens has hit 11 bombs and has 40 RBI and a .277 average. Dylan Bosheers has hit eight homers and 38 RBI with a .273 average, with Zach Zarrzour hitting .353 with 33 RBI and Jake Rowland belting three homers, 32 RBI and owning a .347 mark. Jake Hopkins has added a .323 average with two homers and 32 RBI.
In relief, TTU has been paced by Seth Lucio (2-1, 2.84 ERA), who has nine saves in 20 games out of the pen, striking out 30 in 25.1 innings. Cain Sloan (2-0, 2.41 ERA), Ross Spurgeon (3-1, 2.49 ERA), Jeb Scoggins (1-0, 4.34 ERA), Austin Tolle (3-0, 5.23 ERA) and Stanton Taylor (1-2, 5.50 ERA) have each appeared in at least 10 games.
The Wildcats have been led at the plate by Reed, who has leads college baseball with 16 homers. Reed paces the SEC in average (.372), slugging (.784) and RBI (53), adding a .489 on-base percentage, 11 doubles and one triple. Reed also sports a 7-1 record on the mound in 10 Friday night starts, with a 2.15 ERA in 71 innings, with wins over No. 1 Virginia, No. 1 South Carolina, No. 5 Vanderbilt, No. 12 Florida and at Texas A&M in his starts.
Junior first baseman Thomas Bernal has hit .352 with five doubles, one homer and 23 RBI, while third baseman Max Kuhn has a .341 mark with 13 doubles, five homers and 36 RBI, leading the conference with 31 walks despite hitting in front of the NCAA home run leader for 40 games. Centerfielder Austin Cousino has hit .333 with 10 doubles, two triples, three homers and 25 RBI, stealing 13 bases. Catcher Micheal Thomas has hit .331 with seven doubles, one triple, six homers and 36 RBI. Leftfielder Ka’ai Tom has a .313 average with six doubles, 20 RBI and 12 stolen bases, with rightfielder Kyle Barrett batting .271 with five doubles, one homer, 18 RBI and 11 steals. Second basemen JaVon Shelby has hit .269 with six doubles, two triples, three homers and 16 RBI.
UK used the weekend rotation of Reed (7-1, 2.15 ERA) Friday, sophomore southpaw Dylan Dwyer (5-1, 3.40 ERA) Saturday and junior right-hander Andrew Nelson (1-4, 4.44 ERA) Sunday for the second consecutive week. In relief, junior Spencer Jack (1-1, 1.52 ERA) has appeared in a team-high 18 games with two saves in 23.2 innings. Freshman Logan Salow (2-1, 1.42 ERA) has a save in 15 innings and fired five shutout innings in two relief appearances last week. Sophomore Kyle Cody (3-0, 2.45 ERA) leads the team with four saves in 12 games and three starts.
- Kentucky – 26-14
- Tennessee Tech – 32-10
Rankings (as of 4/21/14)
- Kentucky – No. 17 (Baseball America), No. 18 (Perfect Game), No. 21 (Collegiate Baseball) No. 22 (NCBWA), No. 23 (ESPN/USA Today)
- Tennessee Tech – not ranked
Tentative Pitching Matchups
- Tuesday vs. Tennessee Tech
- TBA vs. Jr., RHP Jacob Honea (3-2, 4.71 ERA)
Information provided by UK Athletics
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