In his second career start, freshman right hander Alex Meyer tossed six hitless innings with six strikeouts, leading No. 27 Kentucky to a 12-5 pounding of Georgetown (Ky.) College, on a gorgeous Tuesday evening at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (10-2) pounded out a season-high 20 hits against the Tigers, while picking up its eighth consecutive win and its school-record 28th straight home, non-conference win. UK has not lost a home non-conference game since the 2007 season.
Meyer, a 6-foot-8, 205-pounder, got his second career start and turned in a dominating performance, striking out a career-high tying six, while showing improved command with only one walk issued. The 2008 Aflac High School All-American, tossed first-pitch strikes to 11 of the 19 batters he faced, hurling an economical 71 pitches in his six frames. Labeled as the second-best freshman in all of college baseball and the top freshman in the Southeastern Conference in 2009 by Baseball America, Meyer was unhittable, retiring the first 14 hitters he faced, with a streak of three straight strikeouts – spanning the first and second innings. On the year, the Greensburg, Ind., native has posted a save, a 1-0 record and a 4.96 ERA, striking out 16 in 16.1 innings.
“I was real pleased that Alex got in the strike zone,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “He did a much better job of throwing strikes then he did last time out and we are real encouraged about that. We look for him to just keep getting better. He is improving each start and he is just going to keep getting better. As he gets more comfortable, gets more confidence and gets more control of his body, he is going to throw more strikes and he is going to have more success as he goes along.”
Kentucky returns to action Wednesday, facing the preseason pick to win the Big Ten, Indiana, at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Fans can listen to the game live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price calling the action. In Lexington, fans can hear the game live on WGVN 1580-AM.
Kentucky received great offensive production, getting multi-hit nights from sophomores Chris Bisson and Neiko Johnson and freshmen Braden Kaptyen, Chad Wright, Cory Farris and Andy Burns. Farris had the most prolific game, charting a career-best 4-for-5 day. Bisson, who leads the team in batting with a .435 average, paced the Wildcats with three hits, three RBI and two runs scored. Johnson also gathered three hits for Kentucky including his first double of the season. The native of Stone Mountain, Ga., picked up a career-high two RBI on the day, while also scoring a run. Burns also grabbed three RBI for the Wildcats, a career-high. Burns, a native of Fort Collins, Colo., ended the night with three hits and three runs scored, including a solo homer in the second inning, his second of the year. Wright, who got the start in center field for an injured Keenan Wiley, got three hits on the night and scored a run. Kapteyn, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound freshman corner infielder, continued his hot-hitting, grabbing two singles in the game.
Kentucky totaled a season-high 20 hits in the game, getting a hit from eight out of the 12 batters that came to the plate, with UK improving its team batting average on the season to .340 and a .425 on-base percentage. Along with Burns solo shot, sophomore shortstop Chris Wade hit a two-run homer to get UK’s first runs of the game. Wade, who hit a game-winning grand slam Sunday, hit a bomb over the left-field wall in his first official at bat of the game after walking his first time up. Wade, a Louisville Slugger freshman All-American in 2008, is now tied for the team lead in home runs with two, along with Marcus Nidiffer, Burns and Troy Fraizer.
UK got on the board first in the game when the Wildcats posted four runs on four hits in the second innings. The inning started with a lead-off single by Chad Wright who advanced to second on a stolen base and finally to third on a groundout by Farris. After a Wade walk, Wright came home to score when Kevin Rueff balked, which also moved Wade to second. Burns then singled up the middle to score Wade, advancing to second on an error by the center fielder. Burns, playing third in place of injured Chris McClendon, scored when Bisson hit a rope single up the middle, advancing to second the throw home. Kentucky plated their final run of the inning when sophomore Johnson singled to right field, gathering his second RBI of the season.
The Wildcats posted three more runs in the fourth inning lead by back-to-back homers by Wade and Burns. Wade’s bomb was a two-run shot hit to left center field. Farris started the inning on a single through the right side and later scored when Wade got the ball just over the left center field in front of the scoreboard. On the next pitch, Burns sent a shot deep to left field. It was Burns second home run of his career, giving Kentucky a seven-run lead.
Kentucky scored five runs in the fifth inning on five hits. The inning started with a one-out single by Farris through the right side, later advancing to second when Wade was hit by a pitch. Burns then picked up his third RBI of the game with a single to the left side, scoring Wright. With two on and one out, Bisson improved his batting average with a double down the left field line, scoring Wade. The next batter was Johnson, who hit a laser shot to deep center field over the center fielders head, scoring Bisson from second. Johnson moved to third on a single by Kapteyn to the left side, later scoring on an error by the pitcher after a ball thrown back from catcher got away and rolled to second base. The inning ended when Nidiffer flied out to left field with Kentucky up 12 runs.
The Tigers got on the board in the eighth inning when senior Jonathan Huff gave up a RBI single up the middle to Colin Wilkerson. The inning started with a one out singles by Chase Armstrong and Mike Steinke. After a foul out by Jake Mahan for the second out, Wilkerson sent a grounder up the middle scoring Armstrong and giving Georgetown their first run of the game.
Georgetown added four more runs in the ninth inning – all unearned – getting an RBI single by Eric Severson, a two-run single by Steinke and scoring one run on a Huff wild pitch.