Overall Record: 22-9, 8-4 SEC
Record Last Week: 2-1, 2-1 SEC
Last 5, Last 10 Games: 4-1, 7-3
Wednesday, April 6 * postponed vs. No. 4 Louisville
Friday, April 8 * won vs. Alabama, 3-2
Saturday, April 9 * won vs. Alabama, 6-2
Sunday, April 10 * lost vs. Alabama, 1-2
Upcoming Schedule (times Eastern)
Tuesday, April 12 * vs. Eastern Kentucky * 6:30 p.m. [SEC Network +]
Wednesday, April 13 * vs. No. 4 Louisville * 6:30 p.m.
Friday, April 15 * at No. 3 Vanderbilt * 7:30 p.m. [SEC Network +]
Saturday, April 16 * at No. 3 Vanderbilt * 3 p.m. [SEC Network +]
Sunday, April 17 * at No. 3 Vanderbilt * 2 p.m. [SEC Network +]
The Kentucky baseball team won its fourth consecutive series to open Southeastern Conference play over the weekend, posting a series win over Alabama at Cliff Hagan Stadium. No. 13 Kentucky will return to action with a five-game week, hosting Eastern Kentucky at 6:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, No. 4 Louisville at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, before traveling for a three-game weekend at No. 3 Vanderbilt in Nashville, with first pitch on Friday slated for 7:30 p.m.
Kentucky (22-9, 8-4 Southeastern Conference) opened the week with a rain-out of its Wednesday midweek tilt with No. 4 Louisville, waiting until Friday to return to the diamond. UK posted a 3-2 win over Alabama on Friday in the series opener, behind a strong start from Zack Brown, a game-winning double from JaVon Shelby and a save from Sean Hjelle. UK then clinched the series on Saturday behind Dustin Beggs, who despite not allowing an earned run, took a no-decision as UK won in the bottom of the ninth inning on a walk-off grand slam from Riley Mahan, 6-2. Alabama then got a strong start from Nick Eicholtz to post a 2-1 win over UK in the finale, Kyle Cody turning in 7.1 innings, allowing just one earned run.
UK has won all four of its SEC series to open 2016, joining Mississippi State as the lone schools in the league to accomplish that feat. UK has series wins at Tennessee and Georgia, and home wins over No. 1 Florida and Alabama. The Wildcats sit in second place in the SEC standings through four of 10 weeks, tied with Mississippi State and Florida, and two games behind South Carolina. UK has played the third-fewest home games (19) in the SEC, behind only Tennessee (15) and Missouri (18), sporting a 15-4 record at The Cliff. UK’s 8-4 start to a season is the second-best in program history, just behind the 2012 club’s 9-3 start. UK has only started 8-4 or 9-3 four times in school history, including 1988, 1992 and 2016.
UK has hit .292/.376/.445 as a team, scoring 202 runs through 31 games, with 58 doubles, seven triples and 30 homers, stealing 31 of 38 bases. Defensively, UK has fielded .970, turning 20 double plays and throwing out eight of 20 would-be basestealers. On the mound, UK has a 3.83 ERA in 277 innings, allowing only 249 hits and 100 walks, striking out 246 and holding opponents to a .236 average.
At the plate for UK, junior OF Zach Reks has led the team with a .371 average, owning three doubles, one homer and eight RBI. Junior DH Gunnar McNeill has hit .363 with seven doubles, five homers and 33 RBI, sporting a .947 OPS. Sophomore 1B Evan White has hit .356 with eight doubles, two triples, two homers and 28 RBI, stealing nine bases. Sophomore SS Riley Mahan has hit .315 with six doubles, two triples, four homers and 22 RBI, swiping five bases. Sophomore 2B Luke Becker has batted .282 with six doubles, one homer and 11 RBI and freshman OF Tristan Pompey owns a .259 average with five doubles, one triple, four homers and 22 RBI. Junior 3B JaVon Shelby has hit .255 with eight doubles, two triples and six homers, driving in 19 runs and stealing four bases. Freshman C Kole Cottam has a .255 average with three doubles, one homer and 12 RBI. Junior CF Storm Wilson has a .385 on-base percentage, serving as UK’s leadoff hitter, hitting .248 with nine doubles, one homer and six RBI.
UK has used the weekend rotation of junior righty Zack Brown (2-5, 6.39 ERA) on Friday, senior righty Dustin Beggs (2-5, 6.39 ERA) and senior right-hander Kyle Cody (3-2, 4.89 ERA) on Sunday. In relief for the Wildcats, senior righty Zach Strecker (2-0, 0.42 ERA) has appeared in a team-leading 13 games, working 20.1 consecutive shutout innings. Freshman Justin Lewis (2-0, 0.43 ERA) has four saves in 11 games and freshman Sean Hjelle (2-0, 0.82 ERA) has five saves in 11 games. Lefties Logan Salow (1-0, 1.93 ERA), Zach Logue (1-0, 4.02 ERA), Dylan Dwyer (2-0, 4.61 ERA) and Daniel Tillo (0-0, 6.00 ERA) have each appeared in at least seven games in relief.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE
6-2 * Sr. * RHP * Roswell, Ga.
Week Stats: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, GS, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 SO, .154 b/avg.
Notes: Kentucky senior righty Dustin Beggs had his history streak of winning every consecutive start snapped in a hard-luck no-decision on Saturday vs. Alabama … Beggs worked seven innings without allowing an earned run, walking one and equaling his season-high with 10 strikeouts … He surrendered four hits and just one walk … Beggs opened his first seven starts with wins, the first pitcher in school history to accomplish that feat, and has a 7-0 mark and a 2.40 ERA on the year … Beggs has worked 56.1 innings, allowing only 39 hits and eight walks, striking out 54 with foes hitting .191.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK NOMINEE
5-11 * Jr. * CF * Somerset, Ky.
Week Stats: .455 (5-for-11), 2B, BB, SO, .500 OB%
Notes: Kentucky junior centerfielder and leadoff dynamo Storm Wilson led the club in hitting during a three-game series win over Alabama … Wilson hit .455 (5-for-11) with a double and a walk in the series … On the year, Wilson has a .248 average and a .385 on-base percentage, with nine doubles, one homer and six RBI, stealing four bases and sporting a 15-12 walk-strikeout ratio.