LEXINGTON, Ky. (4/11/13) – No. 13 Kentucky will return to Southeastern Conference action in hosting Tennessee in a three-game series at Cliff Hagan Stadium, with first pitch on Friday slated for 6:30 p.m. ET. The series will resume on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET and conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
All three games 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 games live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
Kentucky (23-9, 6-6 SEC) is coming off a midweek win over a 25-win Austin Peay club on Tuesday, 6-3. Last weekend, UK suffered its first series loss of the year in a sweep at No. 2 LSU, with the red-hot Tigers setting a school-record with a 32-2 start to the season and an 11-1 mark in conference play. UK fell 11-1 in the opener, 9-1 on Saturday and 11-4 on Sunday, before rebounding with the win over Austin Peay on Tuesday.
The Wildcats will send to the mound their weekend rotation of sophomore southpaw A.J. Reed (2-4, 3.06 ERA) on Friday, senior lefty Jerad Grundy (5-3, 3.46 ERA) on Saturday and junior left-hander Corey Littrell (4-1, 2.72 ERA) on Sunday. Tennessee will counter with freshman righty Aaron Quillen (1-1, 6.00 ERA) on Friday, junior right-hander Nick Williams (1-2, 5.59 ERA) on Saturday and ace senior righty Zack Godley (2-4, 3.77 ERA) on Sunday.
A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed will be making his ninth start of the year to open the weekend. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound lefty has worked 47 innings, allowing 51 hits and 10 walks, striking out 33. In his last start on Friday night at No. 2 LSU, Reed worked five innings, allowing eight hits and five runs – four earned – walking two and striking out three. In his two-year career, Reed has appeared in 24 games with 13 starts, owning a 7-7 record and a 2.77 ERA, walking only 19 and striking out 84 in 100.2 innings. Last year, Reed worked 1.2 innings at Tennessee in relief, allowing one hit and two runs – one earned – walking one and striking out two. Quillen has appeared in nine games with eight starts, working 36 innings, allowing 46 hits and 13 walks, striking out 20. In his last start, Quillen worked 3.1 innings, allowing three hits and two runs, walking five and striking out three.
Grundy, a native of Johnsburg, Ill., has started eight games as the middle game of a weekend, sporting a 5-3 record and a 3.46 ERA. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder, has tossed 52 innings, allowing 47 hits, walking 14 and striking out 42. In his last start at No. 2 LSU on Saturday, Grundy had the worst outing of his two-year career, allowing 15 hits and nine runs in six innings, as the Tigers jumped out to a 9-0 lead after five innings, with Grundy battling to save the UK bullpen for Sunday. In his two-year UK career, Grundy has made 24 weekend starts, posting an 11-6 record and a 3.66 ERA, tossing 137.2 innings, walking 50 and striking out 105. In his start vs. Tennessee in 2012, Grundy worked 4.2 innings, allowing four hits and two runs, walking one and striking out two. Williams has appeared in 13 games with three starts, tossing 29 innings, allowing 29 hits and 21 runs, walking 12 and striking out 29. In his last start vs. No. 11 South Carolina, Williams worked three innings, allowing eight hits and eight runs, walking two and striking out two. In 2012 vs. UK, Williams – the brother of former UK catcher Michael Williams (2009-12) – working 4.1 shutout, one-hit innings, walking three and striking out three. Williams worked a combined three shutout innings vs. Kentucky as a freshman in 2011, appearing in two games in relief.
A native of Louisville, Ky., Littrell will be making his ninth start to conclude a weekend. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder has tossed 49.2 innings, allowing 46 hits and 19 walks, striking out 48. In his last start, Littrell had the worst outing of his career at No. 2 LSU, working four innings, allowing nine hits and nine runs – four earned – walking three and striking out one. In his three-year career Littrell has appeared in 40 games with 37 starts, posting a 19-9 record and a 4.06 ERA, striking out 186 in 217 innings. In his last start vs. Tennessee on a Sunday in 2012, Littrell worked six shutout innings, allowing only four hits and one walk, striking out five as UK posted a 6-0 win to clinch the series. Godley, who joined UT head coach Dave Serrano on the USA Collegiate National Team in 2012, has appeared in 10 games with eight starts, working 57.1 innings, allowing 54 hits and 20 walks, striking out 52. In his last start, Godley worked six innings vs. No. 11 South Carolina in Knoxville, allowing 12 hits and eight runs – seven earned – striking out four. In 2012, Godley turned in a strong start in a Friday-night win over Kentucky, tossing eight innings, allowing three hits and one run, walking two and striking out four on 101 pitches, allowing just a run in the first inning. In 2011, Godley appeared in two relief outings against UK, allowing three runs in two combined innings.
Tennessee (14-17, 3-9 SEC) is coming off a 4-3 win at East Tennessee State on the road on Tuesday night. Over the weekend, the Vols were swept by South Carolina in Knoxville to extend their losing streak to eight games. As a team, UT has hit .278, slugging .355 and reaching base at a .373 clip, stealing 54 bases and belting eight homers. Defensively, UT has fielded .966, turned 22 double plays and allowed 41 steals, picking off seven runners. On the mound, UT has a 5.42 ERA in 31 games, walking 122 and striking out 195 in 280.2 innings, with opponents, hitting .278.
Individually, Scott Price has led the Vols with a .360 average with 10 doubles, two homers and 19 RBI, stealing 1-of-7 bases. Will Maddox has hit .356 with four doubles, two triples and 16 RBI, swiping 14-of-17 bases. Pierce Bily has a .319 average with four doubles and 20 RBI, with Vincent Jackson batting .279 with three doubles, two triples, one homer and 16 RBI. Christin Stewart has hit .275 with three doubles, two triples, one homer and 10 RBI. Taylor Smart has added a .272 average with three doubles, two homers and 11 RBI, with A.J. Simcox batting .250 with three doubles and 13 RBI.
In the bullpen, UT has a team-high 15 relief outings from Trevor Charpie (2-3, 7.06 ERA), who has a save in 29.1 innings. Drake Oneby (2-0, 4.66 ERA) has a save in 11 games, with Trevor Bettencourt (2-2, 5.08 ERA) appearing in 13 games with three saves. Eric Martin (1-0, 5.49 ERA), Dalton Saberhagen (0-1, 5.52 ERA) and Andy Cox (1-2, 5.72 ERA) have each appeared in double-digit games.
Tennessee leads the all-time series with Kentucky, 160-141, with UK holding a 73-70 all-time advantage in games played in Lexington. UK has won the last two weekend series meetings, with UK winning four of the last six games.
During the 2012 series, UK totaled a .211 team batting average and a 1.88 team ERA. UK was led during the weekend by J.T. Riddle, who hit .333 (4-for-12) with a double, triple, homer and four RBI. A.J. Reed hit .300 (3-for-10) during the weekend, with Michael Williams hitting .273 with three RBI. In the series opener in 2012, the two teams traded single runs in the first inning, before UT got a run in the fifth and two runs in the eighth for a 4-1 win. Zack Godley turned in a strong eight-inning start in the win, outdueling UK’s Taylor Rogers, who worked 6.1 innings and allowed two runs. In the second game of the series, UT got two runs in the fifth to cut into UK’s 5-0 lead, but the Wildcats held on for a 6-2 win. Senior Alex Phillips picked up the win with 4.1 shutout innings in relief. Brandon Zajac allowed three runs in 2.2 innings for the start for UT. On Sunday, UK emerged victorious in the rubber match behind Corey Littrell, who fired six shutout innings of the seven-inning game. UK got a single run in the sixth to open the scoring before a five-run frame in the seventh for a 6-0 win.
Kentucky fell in the rankings on Monday, dropping to as high as No. 13 by Baseball America. UK is also ranked No. 14 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Collegiate Baseball and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.
Information provided by Brent Ingram
Photo provided by SurfKY Graphics
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