(UK Athletics, Chet White)
Your University of Kentucky baseball team is winners of its first two Southeastern Conference series — a solid start to league play, as the Cats have had to fight back in each set after dropping the series openers to both Florida and Mississippi State. The Cats have improved in the rankings to No. 8 in the country, and will begin a three-game series at Cliff Hagan Stadium this weekend against Georgia.
Kentucky is working on a 19-5 season, a dip down in overall production from a year ago when the team rattled off 22-straight victories to start the season. But the competition this year has been fierce and a couple of bumps along the way, especially out of conference, do not hurt. The money is made in SEC play, and head coach Gary Henderson knows it. He will not hesitate to rest players in out-of-conference games in order to better prepare his team for the all-important league match ups.
The Cats opened SEC play on the road with a series win at Florida and followed it up with a series win over No. 14 Mississippi State last weekend. The back-to-back series victories make UK winners of nine of its last 12 SEC series’ going back to last season.
The Cats offense is being led by junior second baseman J.T. Riddle with a .352 average with five doubles, one triple, one home run, and 17 RBI. Reed is also knocking it around, sporting a .341 average with four doubles, two triples, six homers, and 28 RBI. Sophomore All-American centerfielder and lead-off hitter Austin Cousino has a .286 average with five doubles, four homers, 16 RBI, and eight stolen bases.
Starting this weekend against the Georgia Bulldogs (9-17, 0-6 SEC) will be the usual rotation: On Friday at 6:30, sophomore A.J. Reed (2-3, 2.94 ERA); On Saturday at 2 o’clock, junior Jerad Grundy (5-1, 1.99 ERA); and on Sunday at 1 o’clock, junior Corey Littrell (3-0, 2.56 ERA).
The weather is looking great for this weekend, with highs in the 60s. So what are you waiting for? Get over to the Cliff to see the No. 8 team in the nation in action.