LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Sophomore All-America A.J. Reed worked six innings and went 4-for-5 at the plate with a homer and five RBI, leading No. 8 Kentucky to a 21-2 rout of Akron in the series opener on Friday evening at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (8-1) pounded out 18 hits, drew nine walks and was hit by two pitches en route to its highest scoring output since hanging 22 runs on Mississippi State in 2009 in Starkville, Miss. UK plated five runs in the first and then exploded for an 11-run inning in the second, adding a single run in the third and four in the fifth, before emptying the bench with a 21-0 lead.
The Wildcats were led by Reed’s do-everything game, as the southpaw worked six innings and allowed only two runs. At dish, Reed equaled his career high with a 4-for-5 game with five RBI, belting his third homer of the year. He is hitting .378 (14-for-37) on the year with 16 RBI.
“Overall, it was good to get some runs early and see A.J. (Reed) pitch better than he has in his last two outings,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said postgame. “It was really nice to see some of our guys get on track offensively, as well as allowing Jeff Boehm and Tyler Cox to throw a couple of innings.”
UK’s explosive offensive attack was led by Reed’s four hits and five RBI, with junior third baseman Paul McConkey going 2-for-4 with a career-high four RBI, adding a triple and a double. All-America centerfielder Austin Cousino – who has now reached base safely in 67 of his 71 career games – went 3-for-3 with a team-high four runs scored, two walks and an RBI.
“Everyone was seeing the ball well and starting off hot in the early innings really helped,” Cousino said. “It was great for our offense to get back in rhythm.”
Junior second baseman J.T. Riddle continued his torrid pace to the year, extending his hitting streak to 12 games with a 2-for-4 day, adding a pair of walks and RBI, stealing his third bag. The Frankfort, Ky., native has come to the plate 47 times this season and has reached base safely 29 times (62-percent). Riddle leads the team with a .526 average (20-for-38) with 14 runs, three doubles, one triple, one homer and 10 RBI.
The Wildcats also got multiple-hit games from Max Kuhn, who went 2-for-3 with two walks and three RBI, and shortstop Matt Reida, who set a new career high with three runs scored in a 2-for-3 game with a walk. Lucas Witt, Micheal Thomas and Zac Zellers each added hits, with Thomas drawing a walk and Zellers driving in two runs and scoring twice.
Reed (2-1) worked six innings, allowing six hits and two runs, walking two and striking out four. It marked Reed’s first quality start of the year and the third of his two-year UK career. Sophomore lefty Jeff Boehm then worked two shutout innings, before freshman righty Tyler Cox took over to finish the game with a shutout ninth.