LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 12 Kentucky baseball team puts its undefeated record on the line as it opens Southeastern Conference play, hosting a three-game set with No. 9 Arkansas, beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. EDT at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The Wildcats enter SEC play as one of the hottest teams in the nation and join Vanderbilt as the only league teams still unbeaten. Kentucky (19-0) is off to the best start in the 103-year history of the Wildcat baseball program and the 19-game win streak marks as the best in school annals. UK also has the nation’s longest regular season home winning streak, standing at 29 games.
UK has dominated its opening non-conference slate, pilling up 234 runs on 244 hits. In 2006, Kentucky plated a school-record 500 runs and through 19 games a year ago, UK had scored 194 runs.
Friday will present Kentucky the first opportunity to defend its 2006 Southeastern Conference Championship. A season ago, Kentucky won a school-record 20 conference games, en route to the first SEC title in school history.
Leading the way offensively for UK have been senior leaders Mike Brown and Sean Coughlin. Brown leads the team in several categories, including batting average (.525, 31-for-61), runs scored (29), and stolen bases (11). Coughlin is off to an amazing pace, leading the SEC in RBI with 38. The backstop is batting for a .410 average and has cranked out four home runs, three triples, and 11 doubles. At his current pace, Coughlin would drive in 112 runs during UK’s 56-game regular season schedule, which would shatter the Kentucky record for RBI in a season.
Kentucky will throw sophomore southpaw Chris Rusin on Friday. Rusin, who has a sparkling 7-0 career record, has earned the starting nod in four games this season, earning a 2-0 record and a 3.32 ERA. The Razorbacks will counter with one of the best lefties in the nation, sophomore Nick Schmidt on Friday. Saturday will see junior southpaw Andrew Albers face off with Arkansas right-hander Jess Todd. Sunday, UK preseason All-American Greg Dombrowski gets the nod to face Arkansas righty Duke Welker.
Arkansas enters as one of the most talented teams in the nation and the SEC coaches pick to win the SEC Western division. The Razorbacks have accumulated a 14-5 record and have won four consecutive games, entering the weekend tilt.
Saturday’s game will feature a special St. Patrick Day promotion, presented by Windstream. The first 1500 fans through the gate at each game will receive a beaded UK St. Patrick's Day green necklace. Sunday’s game will also mark the first opportunity for a post-game SEC Sunday autograph session.
No. 12 Kentucky is off to its best start in the 103-year history of the Wildcat baseball program (19-0).
UK's 19-0 start also ranks as the best winning streak in school annals.
Kentucky has won 29 consecutive regular season home games, the longest such streak in the nation.
Kentucky has scored 234 runs in its first 19 games, a year after shattering the school record for runs scored with 500. Thru 19 games in 2006, UK had scored 194 runs.
Senior Mike Brown leads the team and the SEC in batting average, reaching at a .525 clip. Brown also leads the league in on-base percentage (.627), runs scored (29).
Senior preseason All-American catcher Sean Coughlin leads the SEC in RBI with 38. A year ago, SEC Player of the Year Ryan Strieby broke the UK school record for RBI with 77. On his current pace, thru the regular season schedule of 56 games, Coughlin would hit an astronomical 112 RBI.
Kentucky trails the all-time series with Arkansas 16-27.
Last season, UK took one of the three game series at Fayetteville.
Friday: Kentucky vs. Arkansas - 6:30 p.m. EDT
Saturday: Kentucky vs. Arkansas - 1 p.m. EDT
Sunday: Kentucky vs. Arkansas - 1 p.m. EDT
Season Ticket Prices:
$25 - General Admission Seating
Single Game Ticket Prices:
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors
For more information, contact the UK Ticket Office (859.257.1818)
Kentucky: 19-0 (0-0 Southeastern Conference)
Arkansas: 14-5 (0-0 SEC)
Radio (Big Blue Sports Network with Dick Gabriel and Neil Price)
Friday: WXRA 1580-AM
Saturday: WLAP 630-AM
Sunday: WXRA 1580-AM
UK: So., LHP, Chris Rusin (2-0, 3.32 ERA)
Ark: Jr., LHP, Nick Schmidt (4-0, 1.18 ERA)
UK: Jr., LHP, Andrew Albers (4-0, 2.42 ERA)
Ark: Jr., RHP, Jess Todd (1-1, 3.71 ERA)
UK: Jr., RHP, Greg Dombrowski (3-0, 2.70 ERA)
Ark: Jr., RHP, Duke Welker (3-0, 4.37 ERA)