WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | Sports

Baseball Wildcats hosts Eastern Michigan in first home series

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Winners of four consecutive games, No. 30 Kentucky will host its first home weekend series of 2014, welcoming Eastern Michigan for a three-game series, starting on Friday at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The series will resume on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET and conclude on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

The three games will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with Neil Price and Dick Gabriel calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the games live on WWTF 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com.

Kentucky (6-2) will send its weekend rotation of junior lefty A.J. Reed (2-0, 1.50 ERA) to the mound on Friday to face EMU junior righty Jake Andrews (1-0, 3.86 ERA) on Friday. On Saturday, UK will send junior right-hander Chandler Shepherd (1-0, 5.73 ERA) to the mound to face EMU fifth-year senior Steve Weber (1-0, 5.68 ERA). On Sunday, UK sophomore right-hander Kyle Cody (1-0, 1.93 ERA) will get the start, with EMU yet to determine a starter.

A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed will be making his third start of the year. A 6-foot-4, 240-pound southpaw, Reed has a win over No. 1 Virginia and St. Joseph’s in his 2-0 record. Reed has worked 12 innings, allowing nine hits and two runs, walking three and striking out six. In his career, Reed has worked in 32 games with 21 starts, owning a 9-11 record and a 3.28 ERA, working 148 innings, walking 27 and striking out 105. On Friday, Reed worked seven innings in a win over St. Joe’s, allowing six hits and one run, not issuing a walk and striking out four. He was dominant through his first six innings, including sitting through a nine-run fifth inning that saw him hit two homers – including a grand slam – at the plate. In an effort to lengthen his pitch count, Reed worked the seventh inning, allowing two doubles two keep him from a shutout outing. Andrews will be making his third start of the year, tossing 11.2 innings, allowing nine hits and four walks, striking out nine.

Shepherd, a native of Louisa, Ky., will be making his third consecutive weekend start. A 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, Shepherd has worked 11 innings, allowing 12 hits and three walks, striking out seven. In his career, Shepherd has a 9-1 record and a 3.52 ERA in 46 games and 12 starts. He has worked 122.2 innings, allowing 122 hits and 36 walks, striking out 79. On Saturday, Shepherd took the no-decision at Old Dominion, after working 5.1 innings, allowing eight hits and five runs, walking one and striking out three. Shepherd loaded the bases without an out in the bottom of the first inning, escaping with just one run allowed on a sac fly. He then worked three straight shutout frames into the fifth inning, before ODU strung together five consecutive two-out hits for a four-run rally. Shepherd then got an out in the sixth before the UK bullpen came on in relief. Weber has appeared in three games with one start, owning a save in 6.1 innings, allowing two walks and striking out seven.

A native of Chippewa Falls, Wis., Cody will be making his sixth consecutive weekend start for the Wildcats. A 6-foot-7, 245-pounder, Cody has made two starts in 2014, with 9.1 innings pitched, allowing nine hits and two earned runs, walking two and striking out four. In his career, Cody has appeared in 17 games with 12 starts, with a 4-3 record and a 4.43 ERA, working 67 innings, allowing 22 walks and striking out 51. In his last start on Sunday vs. St. John’s, Cody worked six shutout innings, scattering six hits and not issuing a walk, striking out one on 59 pitches.

Eastern Michigan (4-4) is coming off a Tuesday doubleheader split at Austin Peay, with the Eagles dropping the opener, 8-3, before rebounding with a 9- win. EMU opened the year with a 6-5 win at No. 13 Clemson, also posting a series win over UT Martin last weekend. As a team, EMU has hit .294 with five homers and 66 runs in eight games, stealing 17 bases. On the mound, EMU has a 4.57 ERA, walking 38 and striking out 65 in 69 innings. Individually, EMU has been led at the plate by Mitchell McGeein, who has hit .467 with two homers and seven RBI. Lee Longo has batted .441 with a homer and 10 RBI, with John Rubino hitting .429 with five doubles, 10 RBI and four steals. Nick Rotola has hit .375 with two doubles, one triple, three RBI and three steals. In the b ullpen, Charlie Land (0-1, 0.00 ERA) has one of two saves, working 8.2 innings, walking three and striking out 10. Devo Bronson (1-1, 5.40 ERA) has appeared in four games, working 4.2 innings, allowing two walks and striking out six.

UK has hit .309 with a .470 slugging and a .430 on-base percentage to open the 2014 season. The Wildcats have hit eight homers and 20 doubles, drawing 47 walks and stealing 17 bases. On the mound, UK has a 3.58 ERA in 70.1 innings, walking 27 and striking out 47. Defensively, UK has fielded .972 with 10 double plays turned.

The Wildcats have been led by junior centerfielder Austin Cousino, who has hit .441 with four doubles, one homer and five RBI to open the year, stealing five bases and sporting a .513 on-base percentage. Junior A.J. Reed has hit .424 with three doubles, six homers and 17 RBI. Senior catcher Micheal Thomas has batted .348 with three doubles and four RBI, with Ka’ai Tom owning a .318 average with a RBI and two steals. Kyle Barrett has hit .314 with a double, homer and 10 RBI, with Max Kuhn batting .286 with three doubles and six RBI. Shortstop Matt Reida has hit .258 with three doubles and seven RBI.

In the bullpen, righty Spencer Jack (0-0, 0.00 ERA) has worked in a team-high four games, tossing six shutout innings. Lefty Logan Salow (1-0, 0.00 ERA) and right-hander Zach Strecker (0-1, 0.00 ERA) have each appeared in two games. Zack Brown (0-0, 0.00 ERA), Ryne Combs (1-0, 2.45 ERA), Andrew Nelson (0-0, 3.38 ERA), Matt Snyder (0-0, 5.40 ERA), Taylor Martin (0-0, 10.80 ERA) and Robert Zeigler (0-1, 20.25 ERA) have each appeared in two games in relief.

UK leads the all-time series with Eastern Michigan, 21-6, with the last meeting coming on Feb. 18, 2012, a 10-2 win in Lexington. UK has won eight consecutive games in the series, with its last loss coming in a 2004 home series. UK faced EMU in the NCAA Tournament in 2008, a 4-3 win in an elimination game. The series dates back to 1968, a 10-7 EMU win in Lexington. In the 2012 meeting, UK posted a 10-2 win over EMI in Spartanburg, S.C., getting 5.2 shutout innings from Jerad Grundy. UK got a three-hit game from Lucas Witt and two hits each from Austin Cousino, A.J. Reed and Luke Maile.

UK ranks throughout the SEC stats, checking in fourth in average (.309), third in slugging (.470), second in on-base percentage (.430), first in runs (76), second in hits (88), first in RBI (64), second in doubles (20), second in homers (eight), second in total bases (134), second in walks (47) and third in steals (17). UK also ranks second in the league in defensive assists (99) and first in double-plays turned (10). Individually, Austin Cousino ranks fourth in average (.441), 11th in slugging (.647), 12th in on-base percentage (.513), second in runs scored (11), first in hits (15), third in doubles (four), third in total bases (22) and first in steals (five). A.J. Reed ranks seventh in average (.424), first in slugging (1.061), third in runs (10), second in hits (14), first in homers (six), first in total bases (35) and tied for first in wins (two). Catcher Micheal Thomas ranks eighth in on-base percentage (.516), third in walks (seven) and sixth in runs (nine), Max Kuhn ranks sixth in runs (nine), with Connor Heady ranks third in walks (seven), with Thomas Bernal leading the SEC with four HBP.

Records
Kentucky: 6-2
Eastern Michigan: 4-4

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Friday, Feb. 28 * vs. Eastern Michigan * 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 1 * vs. Eastern Michigan * 2 p.m.
Sunday, March 2 * vs. Eastern Michigan * 1 p.m.

Radio (UK IMG Network with Neil Price and Dick Gabriel)
Friday: WWTF 1580-AM in Lexington
Saturday: WWTF 1580-AM in Lexington
Sunday: WWTF 1580-AM in Lexington

Internet Coverage
Live video, audio and stats on UKathletics.com

Tentative Pitching Matchups
Friday vs. Eastern Michigan
Jr., LHP A.J. Reed (2-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Jr., RHP Jake Andrews (1-0, 3.86 ERA)
Saturday vs. Eastern Michigan
Jr., RHP Chandler Shepherd (1-0, 5.73 ERA) vs. R-Sr., RHP Steve Weber (1-0, 5.68 ERA)
Sunday vs. Eastern Michigan
So., RHP Kyle Cody (1-0, 1.93 ERA) vs. TBD

Stadium
Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)

Parking
Parking at Cliff Hagan Stadium is FREE.

UK will utilize two lots: the C8 lot behind Shively Sports Center, and brand-new Parking Structure 7 on the corner of Complex Drive and Jerry Claiborne Way. Both parking lots are only steps away from Cliff Hagan Stadium.

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 fifth inning.

Fans should not use the university “R” lots adjacent to the dorms or on the south side of Nutter Training Facility. These lots are patrolled by the university 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fans that park in these lots may be ticketed or towed. Plenty of parking is available in the C8 and PS7 lots.

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

SEASON TICKET PRICES
$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating

- GO CATS -
For more information, please contact:
Brent Ingram (brent.ingram@uky.edu; 859-608-6230) or
Jake Schiphorst (jake.schiphorst@gmail.com; 859-257-3838)


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