WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Baseball Wildcats open SEC play on Friday

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After opening its season with an impressive 15-0 start, the No. 4 Kentucky baseball team opens Southeastern Conference play, hosting the Alabama Crimson Tide in a three-game series, with first pitch of game one coming Friday at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky (15-0, 0-0 SEC) is off to a dominating start to its season, outscoring its opposition 175-39, scoring over 11 runs per game. UK leads the SEC in 10-of-12 offensive categories and in 6-of-15 pitching categories. The Wildcats rank as the league leaders in batting average (.374), slugging (.610), on-base percentage (.474), runs scored (175), hits (195), RBI (159), doubles (49), triples (7), total bases (318), total plate appearances (661), hit by pitches (32), and sacrifice bunts (20). On the mound, UK leads the league in ERA (2.10), opposing batting average (.214), wins (15), fewest runs allowed (39), fewest earned runs allowed (31), and fewest walks allowed (23).

UK will be opening its SEC schedule at home for the third consecutive year after not opening league play at home for six consecutive years.

UK has been led offensively by several players, including senior right fielder Sawyer Carroll, recently ranked as the No. 1 outfielder in the NCAA by Rivals.com weekly positional power rankings. Carroll is batting .558 (29-for-52) with six doubles, one triple, a team-high six homers, and a club-best 29 RBI. Centerfielder Collin Cowgill is batting for a .379 (22-for-58) average, with five doubles, an SEC-leading two triples, three homers, and 15 RBI. Cowgill also ranks second in the league, swiping 10-of-10 bases. Outfielder Keenan Wiley (.364, 16 RBI, 4-6 SB), freshman shortstop Chris Wade (.364, 10 2B, 3 HR, 25 RBI), senior first baseman Brian Spear (.351, 6 2B, 1 2B, 2 HR, 14 RBI), and outfielder Troy Frazier (.343, 3 2B, 1 HR, 15 RBI) have been positive fixtures in the potent UK lineup.

Ranked as high as No. 4 for the first time since the 2006 SEC Championship campaign, the Wildcats will send its weekend rotation of Chris Rusin (Jr., LHP), Scott Green (Jr., RHP) and Greg Dombrowski (Sr., RHP) to the bump. Rusin has tallied a 0.64 ERA and a 2-0 record in two starts, working 14 innings and striking out 13. Green, a preseason All-SEC first-team selection, has worked in a staff-best 18 innings, earning a 1.50 ERA, a 2-0 record, posting 28 strikeouts without allowing a walk. Combined this season, UK’s weekend rotation has worked in 48 innings, striking out 54 and walked just one batter.

Alabama leads the all-time series between the two schools, 26-47, including a 10-22 mark in Lexington. The series will pit the two teams that shared the 2006 SEC regular season title in it first meeting since 2005, when Alabama swept the then SEC series-opener in Tuscaloosa. UK is 9-16 in SEC opening series since 2000, including a 3-3 mark in the last two years.

Alabama (9-5) enters the SEC season after winning its past six games, including taking midweek games with North Alabama and Samford on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Crimson Tide is led by several individuals at the plate, with six everyday starters bating over .300. Alabama’s top power threat, slugger Alex Avila, is batting .321 (17-for-53), with five homers and 17 RBI. Other standouts include Alex Kubal (.444, 2 HR, 6 RBI), Brandon May (.404, 1 HR, 16 RBI), Josh Rutledge (.361, 0 HR, 3 RBI), Kent Matthes (.328, 4 HR, 16 RBI), and Matt Bentley (.327, 3 HR, 14 RBI). On the mound, Bama is led by several key arms including Stroup (2-0, 3.31), Hyatt (2-0, 2.21), and Quigley 1-0, 2.70 ERA). As a team, the Bama staff has batted for a .321 average and pitched for a 4.27 team ERA, striking out 110 in 122.1 innings, walking 59.

The Crimson Tide has posted wins over Cal Poly, Nevada, Dallas Baptist, Troy and Youngstown State, in addition to the midweek wins over North Alabama and Samford. Of its five losses, two came by one run.

Fans in Lexington can catch all the action live on the Big Blue Sports Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action on Lexington radio station, WXRA 1580-AM.

Game time Saturday is set for 2 p.m. ET, and first pitch on Sunday will be at 1 p.m. at Cliff Hagan.

Records

Kentucky – 15-0, 0-0 SEC

Alabama – 9-5, 0-0 SEC

Rankings

Kentucky – No. 4 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 17 (NCBWA), No. 17 (Baseball America), No. 15 (USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll)

Alabama – not ranked

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) – Lexington, Ky.

Friday, March 14 * 4 p.m.

Saturday, March 15 * 2 p.m.

Sunday, March 16 * 1 p.m.

Radio (BBSN with Neil Price)

Friday, March 14

· WXRA 1580-AM in Lexington

· WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville

Saturday, March 15

· WXRA 1580-AM in Lexington

· WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville

Sunday, March 16

· WXRA 1580-AM in Lexington

· WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville

Video

UKathletics.com Extreme Access

$69.95: a one-time fee for a year of Extreme Access

$9.95: three-day pass

http://www.ukathletics.com/index.php?s=&change_well_id=9930

Tentative Pitching Matchups

Friday vs. Alabama

LHP Chris Rusin (2-0, 0.64 ERA) vs. RHP Austin Hyatt (2-0, 2.21 ERA)

Saturday vs. Alabama

RHP Scott Green (2-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. LHP Will Stroup (2-0, 3.31 ERA)

Sunday vs. Alabama

RHP Greg Dombrowski (3-0, 1.12 ERA) vs. RHP Austin Graham (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Stadium

Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)

Parking

Parking at Cliff Hagan Stadium is free.

Parking will be available in the R-lot, adjacent to the stadium, the C8 lot behind Shively Sports Center, and brand-new Parking Structure 7 on the corner of Complex Drive and Jerry Claiborne Way.

Fans who park in the PS7 lot will be given a parking value card to exit the structure free of charge. Value cards should be picked up at the baseball ticket booth prior to the 5th inning.

Tickets

SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors

SEASON TICKET PRICES

$35 General Admission

Coaches Clinic Rescheduled

Saturday, April 5th

Cliff Hagan Stadium

8:00 a.m. – Registration

8:30 – 11:30 – Clinic

Join Coach John Cohen and the Wildcat Baseball Coaching staff for a morning of baseball instruction. Take away drills, techniques and much more as you move towards the 2008 season. In addition to the FREE clinic, each coach in attendance will receive a free general admission ticket for themselves and a guest to that day’s game between UK and Mississippi State at 7 p.m. ET that evening.

Visit UKathletics.com/baseball for more information (including a map of campus and parking) or email questions to nschwake@uky.edu.


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