Behind a dominating first career start from freshman right-hander Chandler Shepherd and a three-hit game from catcher Luke Maile, the Kentucky baseball team pounded out 12 hits and posted a 9-2 win over Xavier, on a pleasant Wednesday night at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (8-0) – the Southeastern Conference leader in batting average and slugging percentage – continued its 2012 offensive explosion with nine runs on 12 hits, including six walks and three hits batters. The Wildcats were led offensively by Maile, who batted 3-for-3 with a walk and a career-high three runs scored, launching his third homer of the year. Senior Thomas McCarthy drilled his second homer of the year and despite not reaching base safely in Tuesday’s win over Morehead State, has reached base safely in 60 of his 62 career UK starts.
UK also got two hits from freshmen Austin Cousino and Thomas Bernal, with J.T. Riddle, Paul McConkey, Brian Adams and Matt Reida each recording hits. Freshman A.J. Reed drew a game-high two walks and scored a run, with sophomore leftfielder Lucas Witt also drawing a walk. Cousino led UK with three RBI, with both his hits coming as RBI knocks.
UK starter Chandler Shepherd (1-0) turned in a dynamic start in his first career starting assignment. The 6-foot-3 righty tossed five shutout innings, allowing only two hits and one walk, striking out five.
UK then turned to freshman southpaw Sam Mahar relieved Shepherd in the sixth and tossed a shutout inning, before right-hander Chris Garrison took over in the seventh, tossing one inning with two hits and two runs allowed. Junior right-hander Tim Peterson tossed a shutout eighth inning with a strikeout and freshman Jeff Boehm got two outs in his first career pitching appearance, one by strikeout, and Walter Wijas came on to get the final out of the game on one pitch.
Xavier (1-6) starter Alex Westrick (0-1) went three innings, allowing three hits and two runs, walking three and striking out two. XU also used Jacob Bodner, Scott Klever, Nathan Mutsch, Alex Vice and Seth Willoughby relieved Westrick and tossed the remainder of the game.
Kentucky returns to action with a three-game series on the weekend with Illinois-Chicago, starting on Friday at 4 p.m. ET.