LEXINGTON, Ky. -- 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.
In the bullpen, UK has been paced by Tim Peterson (2-0, 2.51 ERA) who has a team-best 15 relief outings, with 14.1 innings, allowing 10 hits and one walk, striking out 19. Senior Alex Phillips (5-0, 2.01 ERA), sophomore Trevor Gott (1-0, 1.50 ERA) and Walter Wijas (2-0, 7.47 ERA) have appeared in at least 13 games in relief. Gott leads the team with seven saves, striking out 19 and walking four in 12 innings.
Louisville (23-9, 7-2 Big East) will enter the Tuesday tilt coming off a road series win at Georgetown over the weekend. The Cardinals were ranked as high as No. 18 in the polls last week, entering their three-game conference tilt at the Hoyas. As a team, UL has hit .316 with 22 homers in 32 games, stealing 57 bases and fielding .966. On the mound, UL owns a 3.09 ERA with 12 saves, walking 99 and striking out 277 in 285.1 innings.
Individually, UL has been led by Ty Young, who has hit .378 with three homers and 23 RBI. Nick Ratajczak has batted .370 with seven doubles and 12 RBI, while Jeff Gardner has totaled a .327 with a homer and 25 RBI. Adam Engel has hit .316 with a homer, 10 RBI and 23 stolen bases. Stewart Ijames leads the club with 10 homers and 37 RBI, batting .299.
In the bullpen, UL has been led by a team-best 14 relief outings from Derek Self (0-1, 1.35 ERA), who has seven saves with just 11 strikeouts and two walks in 20 innings. Dace Kime (0-0, 3.74 ERA) has appeared in 13 games with 25 strikeouts in 21.2 innings. Cody Ege (0-0, 1.00 ERA) and Chad Green (1-0, 2.70 ERA) have each appeared in 12 games out of the bullpen.
UK leads the all-time series with Louisville, 66-33-1, including a 32-12 all-time mark in games played in Lexington. UK is coming off a series sweep in the two games last year, the first series sweep in the back-and-forth series since UK swept the Cards in 2006. Over the last 36 meetings, UK leads the series 26-10. In the first game of the set in Lexington last year, UK posted a dominating 7-1 win, as Jordan Cooper worked 6.2 innings without allowing an earned run. UK got three-hit games from Chad Wright and Braden Kapteyn, including homers from Maile and Kapteyn. Phillips worked 2.1 shutout innings in relief to seal the win. Mike Nastold started for UL, working two innings, allowing five hits and four runs. In the meeting at Louisville, UK posted a 3-2 win, getting a single run in the ninth inning at Jim Patterson Stadium, with Gott closing out the game in the ninth for the win. Cooper again worked 6.1 innings, allowing only one earned run. UK got three-hit games from Wright and Taylor Black, with Thomas McCarthy adding two knocks and Michael Williams notching a double. Jeff Thompson started for UL, working 3.2 innings, allowing seven hits and two runs.
The Wildcats lead the SEC in nearly every offensive category, pacing the league in average (.328), slugging (.506), on-base percentage (.421), runs (261), hits (372), RBI (240), doubles (73), total bases (573) and hit batters (60). UK ranks second in home runs (40) and third in walks (132). On the mound, UK ranks third in the league in strikeouts and fifth in fielding percentage. Individually, Cousino ranks fifth in average (.365), eighth in slugging (.584), first in runs (35), third in hits (50), 10th in RBI (26), first in doubles (13), first in total bases (80) and first in at bats (137). Maile ranks fifth in slugging (.634), 10th in on-base percentage (.450), second in runs (33), seventh in hits (42), second in RBI (36) and second in homers (nine). Reed ranks 11th in average (.350), 10th in hits (41) and sixth in RBI (33), while Flynn ranks second in slugging (.682) and fifth in homers (eight). Littrell leads the SEC in pickoffs, with shortstop Matt Reida ranks second in the SEC in defensive assists.
Kentucky – 30-3, 9-3 SEC
Louisville – 23-9, 7-2 Big East
Kentucky: No. 1 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 2 (USA Today/ESPN coaches), No. 3 (Baseball America), No. 3 (NCBWA)
Louisville: No. 20 (USA Today/ESPN coaches), No. 26 (Collegiate Baseball), not ranked (Baseball America), No. 19 (NCBWA)
Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) -- Lexington, Ky.
Tuesday, April 10 * vs. No. 20 Louisville * 6:30 p.m.
Television (UK IMG Radio Network with Dick Gabriel, Doug Flynn and Ryan Lemond)
Tuesday: Live on Fox Sports South, C-WKYT (Central Kentucky), WYMO-TV (Louisville)
Radio (UK IMG Radio Network with Neil Price)
Tuesday: WLAP 630-AM in Lexington; WKJK 1080-AM in Louisville
Live video, audio and stats on UKathletics.com
Tentative Pitching Matchups
Tuesday vs. Louisville
Fr., LHP A.J. Reed (4-0, 2.42 ERA) vs. Fr., RHP Jared Ruxer (4-0, 2.37 ERA)
Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)
Parking at Cliff Hagan Stadium is FREE.
UK will utilize two lots: the C8 lot behind Shively Sports Center, and brand-new Parking Structure 7 on the corner of Complex Drive and Jerry Claiborne Way. Both parking lots are only steps away from Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Fans who park in the PS7 lot will be given a parking value card to exit the structure free of charge. Value cards should be picked up at the baseball ticket booth prior to the fifth inning.
Fans should not use the university “R” lots adjacent to the dorms or on the south side of Nutter Training Facility. These lots are patrolled by the university 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Fans that park in these lots may be ticketed or towed. Plenty of parking will be available in the C8 and PS7 lots.
SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES
$5 - General Admission Seating - Adults
$2 - General Admission Seating - Kids/Seniors
SEASON TICKET PRICES
$35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating