Baseball hosts morehead state, xavier in midweek tilts

[B][I]Wildcats Face Eagles Tuesday, Musketeers Wednesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium[/I][/B]

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Off to a 6-0 start to the season for the first time since 2008, the Kentucky baseball team returns to its homestand, hosting Morehead State and Xavier in a pair of midweek tilts, facing the Eagles at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday and the Musketeers on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky (6-0) has opened the season unbeaten for the first time since UK began the 2007 and 2008 seasons with a school-record 19-0 record. The Wildcats have posted opening-weekend wins in Spartanburg, S.C., at Wofford and USC Upstate and vs. Eastern Michigan, in addition to a home-opening sweep over Buffalo last weekend.

The Wildcats will host Morehead State at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday and Xavier at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Both games will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Lexington can hear the game live on WGVN 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com.

UK will send freshman southpaw A.J. Reed (0-0, 0.00 ERA) to the mound for his first career start on Tuesday vs. Morehead State. The Eagles will counter with senior right-hander Matt Robertson (0-0, 1.42 ERA). On Wednesday, UK freshman righty Chandler Shepherd (0-0, 18.00 ERA) will make his first career start vs. Xavier, with the Musketeers countering with freshman southpaw Alex Westrick (0-0, 1.59 ERA).

A 6-foot-4, 235-pound, two-way player, Reed will be making his second career pitching appearance. In the season debut on Feb. 17, Reed came on in relief in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and one out and struck out the first hitter he faced before getting the final out of the game to seal the win. Shepherd made his collegiate debut on Feb. 18 vs. Eastern Michigan, pitching the ninth inning of the UK win. Shepherd, the consensus top high school prospect in the state of Kentucky in 2011, allowed two runs in his inning, almost escaping the outing unscathed but UK’s attempted game-inning double play turn was just short.

Robertson has appeared in three games in relief for Morehead, tossing 6.1 innings, allowing seven hits and one run, walking one and striking out four. Westrick has appeared in two games in relief, tossing 5.2 innings in his first two career outings. He has allowed only four hits and two runs, walking one and striking out five.

The Wildcats have utilized a balanced approach with a .341 team average, a 3.50 team ERA and a staggering .996 fielding percentage. UK has made just one error on the year, coming on an attempted pickoff attempt at second base.

UK has been led offensively by junior outfielder Zac Zellers, who has hit .583 (7-for-12) with a double, triple, two homers and five RBI. On Monday, Zellers became the first UK junior college player in his first year at UK to win SEC Player of the Week since 2006.

Freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino owns a .435 average (10-for-23) with four doubles, one triple, one homer and five RBI, while leftfielder Lucas Witt owns a .400 (8-for-20) average). Cameron Flynn and Luke Maile have each launched two homers, while freshman A.J. Reed leads the team with 10 RBI through his first six collegiate games.

On the mound, UK has used a weekend rotation of Taylor Rogers (2-0, 3.00 ERA), Jerad Grundy (1-0, 4.66 ERA) and Corey Littrell (1-0, 2.77 ERA). In the pen, Tim Peterson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) has appeared in a team-best three games, while Alex Phillips (0-0, 0.00 ERA), Sam Mahar (0-0, 0.00 ERA), Chris Garrison (0-0, 3.86 ERA), Walter Wijas (1-0, 5.40 ERA) and Trevor Gott (1-0, 9.00 ERA) have each appeared in two games.

Morehead State (4-4) has hit .301 as a team through its first eight games, totaling a .416 slugging percentage and a .383 on-base mark, stealing 8-of-13 bases and fielding .960. The Eagles have been led offensively by Chase Greenwell, who owns a .419 average (13-for-31) with three doubles and an RBI. Nick Duff has hit .400 (6-for-15) with a home run and four RBI, while leading returnee Andrew Deeds has hit .364 (12-for-33) with three doubles and three RBI. Duran Elmore has batted .350 (7-for-20) with two RBI and four stolen bases. In the bullpen, Matt Duncan (1-1, 2.25 ERA) owns a team-high four relief outings with two saves, striking out four in 5.2 innings.

Xavier (1-5) has batted .252 as a team in the first six games, with a .297 slugging percentage and a .348 on-base mark, stealing two bases and fielding .937. The Musketeers picked up a huge win at North Carolina earlier in the year, besting the national powerhouse Tarheels. XU has been led offensively by Seth Willoughby, who has hit .556 (5-for-9) with a homer and two RBI. Daniel Rod owns a .400 average (10-for-25) with a double and two RBI, while Derek Hasenbeck lead the team with six RBI, batting .294 (5-for-17) with two doubles and five walks. In the bullpen, Willoughby has a save in two appearances, striking out four in 3.1 hitless innings. Alex Vice has appeared in a team-high four games with a 1.80 ERA in five innings, striking out three.

[B][U]Records[/U][/B] Kentucky – 6-0, 0-0 SEC
Morehead State – 4-4, 0-0 OVC
Xavier – 1-5, 0-0 Atlantic 10

[B][U]Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change) — Lexington, Ky.[/U][/B] Tuesday, Feb. 28 * vs. Morehead State * 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 29 * vs. Xavier * 4 p.m.

[B][U]Radio (BBSN with Neil Price)[/U][/B] Tuesday: WGVN 1580-AM in Lexington
Wednesday: WGVN 1580-AM in Lexington

[B][U]Internet Coverage[/U][/B] Live video, audio and stats on UKathletics.com

[B][U]Tentative Pitching Matchups[/U][/B] [B]Tuesday vs. Morehead State[/B] Fr., LHP A.J. Reed (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Sr., RHP Matt Robertson (0-0, 1.59 ERA)
[B]Wednesday vs. Xavier[/B] Fr., RHP Chandler Shepherd (0-0, 18.00 ERA) vs. Fr., LHP Alex Westrick (0-0, 1.59 ERA)

[B][U]Stadium[/U][/B] Cliff Hagan Stadium (3,000)

[B][U]Parking[/U][/B] 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.

[B]Fans should not use the university “R” lots adjacent to the dorms or on the south side of Nutter Training Facility.[/B] 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.

[B][U]Tickets[/U][/B] [B]SINGLE GAME TICKET PRICES[/B] $5 – General Admission Seating – Adults
$2 – General Admission Seating – Kids/Seniors

[B]SEASON TICKET PRICES[/B] $35 General Admission
$55 Reserved Seating

About Scott Anderson

I love covering the Kentucky Wildcats and even though I can't cheer on the outside when I go to games now, I am definitely cheering on the inside. You can follow me at @SAndersonNOB on twitter.

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