LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 17 Kentucky baseball team, off to the second best start in the 103-year history of the Wildcat baseball program, looks to continue its streaking start, as it plays host to the Cincinnati Bearcats, 4 p.m. EST Wednesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (12-0) is one of the hottest teams in the nation after blazing through its early season slate, outscoring opponents 131-35. The Wildcats hold the longest home regular season winning streak in all of college baseball, currently at 22 games. UK’s unblemished start to the 2007 campaign is second only to Keith Madison’s 2000 club, who ran off 15 straight wins to open its season.
The Wildcats will run out southpaw Andrew Albers to the mound on Wednesday to face sophomore Bearcat right-hander Michael Hill. Albers, who has started each of UK’s Friday night contests this season, moves to the hill for his first mid-week start of the season. The junior has accumulated a 3-0 record in 18 innings, striking out 13 and allowing only four earned runs.
Leading the way offensively for UK is preseason All-American Sean Coughlin. Coughlin, who was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday after demoralizing opponent pitching during UK’s 5-0 week, leads the team in RBI with 19, while batting at a .347 clip. Coughlin drove in 12 runs and had six extra-base hits during UK’s perfect week, batting 9-for-18.
Kentucky leads the SEC in several offensive categories, after pacing the league at the plate during the 2006 SEC Championship season. UK ranks in the top three in nine offensive categories, including runs scored (131, 2nd), doubles (38, 1st), triples (9, 1st), RBI (119, T-2nd), slugging percentage (.531, 3rd), walks (79, 2nd), hit by pitches (28, 2nd), on-base percentage (.463, 1st), and stolen bases (24, 3rd).
Kentucky holds the advantage in the all-time series with Cincinnati 58-20-2. Last year, the Bearcats topped UK 10-9 at Cliff Hagan Stadium, after a ninth-inning Wildcat rally came up short. In that contest, Kentucky’s Ryan Strieby belted his first home run as a Wildcat, the first of 20 dingers on the season. Strieby would garner SEC Player of the Year honors and would later be drafted in the fourth-round by the American League Champion Detroit Tigers. Last year, Kentucky senior Matt Robinson got the starting nod against UC, working three innings and allowing four runs. Troy Ragle took the loss for UK, allowing the three deciding runs without recording an out.
First pitch is set for 4 p.m. EST and fans in Lexington can hear the action live on WXRA 1580-AM or online at the official home of UK Athletics, UKathletics.com, with Neil Price calling the action. The game will mark another installment of UK’s Website Wednesday’s promotion where fans can visit UKathletics.com before the game to print off a special admission coupon.
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