Fresh off a fourth consecutive conference series win during the weekend against No. 10 Ole Miss, top-ranked Kentucky breaks from league action to host No. 19 Louisville in a rivalry tilt, with first pitch set for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (30-3, 9-3 Southeastern Conference) completed its first series win over the Rebels since the 2008 season over the weekend. The Wildcats won the set over a blistering-hot Ole Miss club that entered the weekend fresh off a series win over consensus No. 1 Florida. UK posted a 3-2 win in the opener, suffered a 9-3 loss in the second game, before riding a strong pitching effort from Corey Littrell to a series-clinching win Sunday, 8-3.
The game will be televised live on the UK IMG Network, with Dick Gabriel, Ryan Lemond and MLB Gold Glove winner Doug Flynn calling the action. Fans can see the game on Fox Sports South, in addition to locally on C-WKYT and in Louisville on WYMO-TV. The game will also be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, available in Central Kentucky on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
Ranked No. 1 in the nation for the first time in school annals, the Wildcats have been paced by an offensive attack that leads the nation in average, in addition to pacing the SEC in nearly every offensive category. UK has opened up 2012 with a 30-3 mark, the best start to a season in school history, leading the NCAA in wins and pacing the conference atop the standings for the second consecutive week.
UK’s 9-3 start to conference play is also a program best, with UK running up a school-record 21-game home winning streak earlier in the year and a program-best 22 game winning streak to open the season, the second-longest streak in the storied history of the SEC. UK now owns a 7-2 record against teams ranked in the top-25, also boasting a 9-1 record in one-run games in 2012. UK’s tilt with the Cardinals will put UK’s 21-game non-conference winning streak on the line.
UK will send freshman left-hander A.J. Reed (4-0, 2.42 ERA) to the mound to face Louisville freshman right-hander Jared Ruxer (4-0, 2.37 ERA) on Tuesday. A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed will be appearing in his 10th game with three starts, tossing 26 innings in 2012. Reed has allowed only 25 hits and six walks, striking out 27. Ruxer, a native of Indianapolis, has appeared in seven games with five starts, tossing 30.1 innings, allowing 25 hits and nine walks, striking out 15.
The Wildcats own a .328 average as a team with a .506 slugging mark and a .421 on-base percentage, belting 40 homers in 33 games. UK has hit 40 homers with 73 doubles, walking 132 times and striking out 182. UK has added 32 stolen bases, with a .975 fielding percentage. On the mound, UK owns a 3.44 ERA, with nine saves and 81 walks in 293 innings, striking out 288.
Individually, freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino leads the team in nearly every offensive category, batting .365 with 13 doubles, one triple, five homers and 27 RBI, stealing seven bases and recording seven outfield assists. Freshman A.J. Reed has hit .350 with three homers and 33 RBI, while catcher Luke Maile owns a .341 mark with nine homers, 36 RBI and seven steals. Cameron Flynn has added a .341 average with eight homers and 26 RBI.