Britney McIntosh | UK Athletics
The season is finally underway for the University of Kentucky Baseball squad. After what could be considered a disastrous season last year, the Bat Cats are back and ready to prove that they’re a team that demands respect, both in the SEC and nationally. With another season comes more coverage of the team from us here at KSR. The ‘Cats began the 2014 campaign in Wilmington, NC, where they faced #1 Virginia, UNC-Wilmington, and VMI. The team closed out the 4-day stretch of games in Spartanburg, SC, where they faced USC-Upstate. In case you missed any of the action, here’s a recap of what happened over the last several days:
February 14th, vs. #1 Virginia
Result: UK 8– Virginia 3
Starting Pitchers: UK- AJ Reed | Virginia- B Waddell
Kentucky started the season with a bang, defeating the #1 ranked team in the nation, Virginia. Brooks Holton already did a full recap on the game, which can be read here. You can also click here if you want to read what some national writers are saying about UK’s performance and what it could mean for the rest of the season.
February 15th, vs. UNC-Wilmington
Result: UK 10– UNC Wilmington 4
Starting Pitchers: UK- Chandler Shepherd | UNC Wilmington- Jordan Ramsey
Working off of the momentum it gained from defeating the #1 team in the country, UK laid a beat-down on the host of the festivities for the weekend, UNC Wilmington, on Saturday. The MVP of the game would go to AJ Reed, who knocked in 4 runs in 5 at-bats just a day after pitching against Virginia. Shepherd, who would get the win, put in 5.2 innings pitched, striking out 4 and giving up 2 earned runs.
February 16th, vs. VMI
Result: UK 9- VMI 10
Starting Pitchers: UK- Kyle Cody | VMI- Andrew Woods
Though the first two games in Wilmington couldn’t have played out more perfectly, the Bat Cats would slip and let one get away against VMI on Sunday. Though UK would lead for the vast majority of the game, VMI would plate 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th to take a late lead. The ‘Cats would regain the lead in the top of the 9th thanks to an RBI from Thomas and Ka’ai Tom scoring on a wild pitch. Unfortunately, with Sophomore Zach Strecker coming in for the save, Kentucky would give up the lead, and the game, in the Bottom of the 9th. UK would leave Wilmington with a 2-1 record.
February 17th, vs. USC Upstate
Result: UK 6- USC Upstate 8
Starting Pitchers: UK- Dylan Dwyer | USC Upstate- Eric Birklund
UK would end the long four day stretch of games with a matchup against USC Upstate in Spartanburg, SC. Dylan Dwyer would be on the mound, getting his first career start for UK. Kentucky would jump out to an early 4-0 lead thanks to RBI’s from Cousino and Thomas. In the 4th, with the help of UK errors, Upstate would tie it all up at 4-4. Kentucky would continue to put runners on base but it would be USC Upstate who would take a 5-4 lead in the Bottom of the 5th. The score would stay the same until the Top of the 6th when Cousino would drive in a run for his 2nd RBI of the game, tying the game up at 6-6 . With it being the 4th day in a row of games, UK would have to rely on Freshman pitching to close out the game. Upstate would knock in 3 runs during the 6th off of Freshman Robert Zeigler, who was making his NCAA debut. UK would get a run back thanks to Reida, and get some solid innings pitched by Spencer Jack (3 IP, 4 SO, 3 H, 0 ER) , but would never recover, finishing the four game stretch with a 2-2 record.
— Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game included Kentucky in his Top 25 after its win against #1 Virginia. UK is currently the 7th SEC team in the rankings, coming in at #25, with Miss St being the highest at #5. You can see the rest of the Top 25 here.
UK vs Saint Joseph’s | 2/21/2014 | Norfolk, Virginia | 12:00 PM ET
UK vs Old Dominion | 2/22/2014 | Norfolk, Virginia | 4:00 PM ET
UK vs St. John’s | 2/23/2014 | Norfolk, Virginia | 11:00 AM ET