COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Max Kuhn and A.J. Reed each had four hits and a home run, and Dylan Dwyer worked 6.2 one-run inning in his second career Southeastern Conference start, leading No. 19 Kentucky to a series-clinching 11-4 win at Texas A&M, on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in front of 5,311 fans at Blue Bell Park.
Kentucky (26-13, 9-8 SEC) clinched the series victory at Texas A&M with the win, a day after posting a thrilling 6-3 win in the opener on Friday night. After UK fell behind a run in the first inning, UK plated single tallies in the third, fifth and sixth innings, before exploding for two runs in the seventh and ninth and putting up a four-run tally in the eighth. The win improved the Wildcats to 3-0 on its four-game road trip, including a 4-2 win at No. 8 Louisville on Tuesday.
The Wildcats rode prolific offensive days from Kuhn and Reed, with the duo each charting four-hit games, with Reed belting his nation-leading 15th homer and Kuhn belting his fifth homer of the year. Reed finished 4-for-6 with a double off the wall in rightfield, driving in four runs. Kuhn went 4-for-6 with a two-run homer in the ninth and double down the left and rightfield lines.
On the year, Reed has hit .375 (54-for-144) with 11 doubles, one triple, 15 homers and 52 RBI, owning a .778 slugging percentage and a .494 on-base mark. The midseason national player of the year by Perfect Game, Reed also has a 7-1 record and a 2.41 ERA in 10 series-opening starts on the mound, working 71 innings. Kuhn, hitting in front of Reed in the order in all 39 games, leads the SEC in walks (30) and runs (49), batting .348 with 13 doubles, five homers and 36 RBI.
A native of Murray, Ky., Dwyer (5-1) worked 6.2 innings, allowing five hits and one run – coming in the first inning – walking two and striking out four. In his first two career SEC starts, Dwyer has worked 13 one-run innings. Including a midweek win over No. 8 Louisville on April 1, Dwyer has worked 18.2 innings in his last three starts, owning a 3-0 mark and a 1.45 ERA, allowing three runs.
Kentucky freshman Logan Salow replaced Dwyer with two on and two out in the bottom of the seventh inning, getting a strikeout to escape the jam. Salow worked 1.1 perfect innings, striking out one, stranding two inherited runners. Salow, a native of Ashland, Ky., has inherited 19 runners in 2014, allowing only three to score.
UK then used freshman Zack Brown and junior Spencer Jack in the ninth inning, with Brown allowing three ground-ball singles through the infield, with all three runs scoring. Jack got the final three outs, striking out one to end the game.
The Wildcats were led at the plate by Kuhn and Reed but UK also got two-hit games from Ka’ai Tom and Micheal Thomas. Freshman JaVon Shelby notched a triple and scored two runs, with Austin Cousino, Marcus Carson, Thomas Bernal and Storm Wilson each charting hits. Bernal extended his hitting streak to a team-high 11 games with an RBI single.
Texas A&M (23-17, 7-10 SEC) ace starter Daniel Mengden (2-6) worked six innings, allowing nine hits and four runs – three earned – walking one and striking out five. Lefty Tyler Stubblefield replaced Mengden with a runner on first and no outs in the seventh, allowing a homer to Reed, the first batter he faced. Stubblefield worked 1.2 innings, allowing five hits and five runs, walking one and striking out one. TAMU then used Jason Freeman and Ryan Hendrix to finish out the game, with Hendrix allowing two runs on one hit.
The series will conclude on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET at Blue Bell Park. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com. UK will turn to junior right-hander Andrew Nelson (1-3, 3.22 ERA) on Sunday to face off with Texas A&M sophomore righty Grayson Long (4-1, 2.47 ERA). The game on Sunday will be played with an SEC travel curfew due to Kentucky’s commercial air travel out of Houston. No new inning can start after 4 p.m. ET.
The Aggies got on the board in the bottom of the first inning, as Blake Alleman led off with a single to rightfield, falling just in front of Wilson. Logan Taylor then battled through a full-count walk and after Cole Lankford’s sacrifice bunt, Logan Nottebrok grounded out to Reida to score Alleman.
Kentucky evened up the game in the top of the third inning, as Cousino led off with a single against the shift and Kuhn smashed a two-strike single to rightfield. Reed then loaded the bases with an RBI single through the right side. After a Thomas grounder allowed the Aggies to get Cousino as the lead runner out at the plate, Tom lofted a single into shallow leftfield to score Kuhn and even up the game at 1-1.
The Wildcats took a lead in the top of the fifth inning, as Kuhn led off the game with a double down the leftfield line, scoring on Reed’s RBI single into right-centerfield.
Shelby gave UK a run in the top of the sixth inning as the freshman laced a line drive off the wall in leftfield, motoring to third before a bobble allowed him to score just ahead of the throw.
UK added two runs in the seventh to chase Mengden and give the Wildcats a 5-1 lead. Kuhn doubled to lead off the inning, his second double of the game, with the Aggies going with a lefty reliever to face Reed. Reed smashed an 80 mph changeup on a 1-1 offering over the 400 foot sign in centerfield, his nation-leading 15th homer of the year.
In the top of the eighth, UK plated four runs, Carson dropping a single into shallow leftfield, with Reed scoring him with a laser double off the wall in rightfield. Thomas then scored Reed with a single to centerfield and Tom was hit by a pitch. Bernal delivered an RBI single, scoring Thomas, with Wilson following with an RBI single to leftfield, scoring Tom.
UK added two runs in the top of the ninth, as Shelby was hit by a one-out pitch and after the second out of the inning, Kuhn drilled his fifth homer of the year off the videoboard in left-centerfield.