Zack Brown will open weekend series against Auburn on mound

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Coming off a pair of midweek wins against Dayton and Miami (Ohio), the No. 22 Kentucky Wildcats baseball team will continue its Southeastern Conference slate this weekend with a three-game series against the Auburn Tigers. UK will begin the series Friday with a 7 p.m. ET game before playing again Saturday at 7 p.m. ET and concluding with a 2 p.m. ET game Sunday, all at Plainsman Park at Auburn.

The Friday and Sunday games will be broadcast live on SEC Network + and the Saturday game will be on the SEC Network. The games also will be on the UK Sports Radio Network. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the games live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at UKathletics.com.

The Wildcats will turn to the weekend rotation of junior righty Zack Brown (2-7, 5.25 ERA) on Friday, senior right-hander Dustin Beggs (7-1, 2.30 ERA) on Saturday and senior righty Kyle Cody (4-2, 4.28 ERA) on Sunday. Auburn will look to start the combination of Cole Lipscomb (1-3, 5.94 ERA), Justin Camp (3-3, 3.47 ERA) and a pitcher to be determined for Sunday.

A native of Seymour, Ind., Brown looks to make his 11th start of the season, after working 60 innings, allowing 63 hits and 23 walks while striking out 46 batters. Brown earned his fourth quality start of the season against Arkansas in his last start, pitching a career-high 9.2 innings while allowing the game’s lone run and walking two batters while striking out six Arkansas batters. Despite the stellar performance, Brown received the loss, moving to 2-7 on the season. 

Beggs, a native of Roswell, Ga., has worked 70.1 innings, allowing 48 hits and nine walks while striking out 59 batters. In his two-year career at UK, Beggs has a 14-5 record and a 3.07 ERA in 24 starts, working 164 innings, allowing 130 hits and 29 walks and striking out 134 batters. Last week against Arkansas, Beggs incurred his first loss of the season, allowing just two runs on five hits over the course of seven innings. 

A native of Chippewa Falls, Wis., Cody has worked in 54.2 innings, allowing 48 hits and 22 walks, striking out 49 batters. In his career, Cody has a 15-9 record and a 4.37 ERA in 57 games and 38 starts, saving five games in 216.1 innings, walking 72 and striking out 179. Last time Cody took to the mound, he pitched 5.1 innings vs. Arkansas, allowing four hits and four runs while striking out four in a no-decision appearance. 

Kentucky (26-15, 10-8 SEC) is coming off a pair of midweek wins after matching up with Dayton on Tuesday evening and Miami (Ohio) on Wednesday, with both games being shortened to eight innings after patches of rough weather on both nights.

UK began the week with a 5-3 victory over the Flyers of Dayton in large part thanks to a solo homer from junior third baseman JaVon Shelby. Shelby opened the bottom of the second in style, crushing the ball to left-center field for his first home run since March 20, when he hit two bombs against Georgia.

Senior Zach Strecker earned the win after two innings pitched with a strikeout, two hits and an unearned run. Strecker’s three wins this season match his total throughout the first three years of his career. True freshman Sean Hjelle earned his seventh save of the season after an 11-pitch performance and securing the final out of the eighth inning. Hjelle’s seventh save ties for 14th place in career saves in Kentucky baseball history.

The Wildcats continued their success Wednesday evening in an 11-1 blowout of Miami (Ohio). Sophomore first baseman Evan White put on a show, tying a career-high four hits including a solo home run. Shortstop Riley Mahan added an impressive day at the plate, going three-for-four with two doubles and two runs.  Shelby reached base three times, including an RBI double.

Sophomore pitcher Zach Logue (2-1) pitched five innings, giving up one earned run, four hits and one walk to earn the victory. Logue struck out seven Miami hitters to tie his career high in that category.

Kentucky will look to continue its hot offense from the past two games, as White’s .354 batting average and designated hitter/first baseman Gunnar McNeill’s 35 RBI pace the team’s offense. UK is hitting .279 this season.

Auburn enters the series 18-23 overall, 5-13 in the SEC. Joshua Palacios is the team’s offensive leader, hitting .408 over 30 games this season. Niko Buentello has a team-best 42 RBI.

Kentucky holds a 42-75 record against Auburn all-time. The two sides last matched up on May 19, 2015 in the SEC Tournament, when the Tigers earned a 6-3 victory.

Records

Kentucky – 26-15, 10-8 SEC

Auburn – 18-23, 5-13 SEC

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change)

Friday, April 29 – at Auburn – 7 p.m. [SEC Network +, Andy Burcham and Mark Fuller]

Saturday, April 30 – at Auburn – 7 p.m. [SEC Network, Mike Morgan and Gabe Gross]

Sunday, April 31 – at Auburn – 2 p.m. [SEC Network +, Andy Burcham and Mark Fuller]

Internet Coverage

Live audio and stats on UKathletics.com

UK Radio Network

WLAP 630-AM [Neil Price]

Tentative Pitching Matchups

Friday at Auburn

Jr., RHP Zack Brown (2-7, 5.25 ERA) vs. R-So., RHP Cole Lipscomb (1-3, 5.94 ERA),

Saturday at Auburn

Sr., RHP Dustin Beggs (7-1, 2.30 ERA) vs. So., RHP Justin Camp (3-3, 3.47 ERA)

Sunday at Auburn

Sr., RHP Kyle Cody (4-2, 4.28 ERA) vs. TBA

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