LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Junior A.J. Reed worked six shutout innings and extended his hitting streak to 11 games at the plate, and sophomore Kyle Barrett collected three hits to lead Kentucky to an 8-2 series-opening win over Eastern Michigan, on Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (7-2) and Eastern Michigan – a team that won at No. 13 Clemson on opening day – battled into the fifth inning of a scoreless game. The Wildcats then pounded out seven runs on seven two-out RBI to break open the game, adding a run in the sixth and allowing a pair of unearned runs in the seventh for the Eagles.
The consensus national and Southeastern Conference player of the week after a five-homer, three-game weekend last week, Reed (3-0) worked six innings, scattering two singles – including one bunt single – walking four and striking out five.
“A. J. had a nice day,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “He was stronger than his previous appearances. He looked a little bit better. He was more consistent in his delivery and was competitive late in the ballgame. He threw way too many pitches. He got zeros but wasn’t efficient doing it. Eastern Michigan did a nice job fouling off some pitches and that got his pitch count high.”
A first-team preseason All-America southpaw Reed worked his second consecutive quality start of the year and the 12th of his three-year career. After allowing a bunt single with two outs in the second inning, Reed – a member of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List – faced 16 consecutive hitters without allowing a hit to end his outing.
"I obviously didn’t have my best stuff today, but I was able to battle through it and in the end they didn’t score," Reed said. "We knew that they were going to swing early, so we were trying to attack them early. We were just trying to get them to pop up or hit it on the ground. We just kept attacking and in the end it went our way.”
At the plate, Reed extended his hitting streak to 11 games, despite being intentionally walked twice in the game. Reed scored twice, raising his season total to a team-high .417 with three doubles, six homers and 17 RBI, sporting a .500 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging mark. On the mound, Reed has a 3-0 record and a 1.00 ERA in his three starts, including a win over No. 1 Virginia in the season opener.