Kentucky wins Doubleheader

FROM PRESS RELEASE
Game 1

MOBILE, Ala. — Scott Green struck out a career-high 10 batters in just five innings of action, as the No. 20 Kentucky baseball team pounded out 13 runs, to take its second game in the 23rd annual Coca-Cola Classic, 13-3 over Fairfield, on Sunday morning at Hank Aaron Field.

Green, a Baseball America preseason All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection, got his first start since getting the nod at Florida on April 1, 2005. The 6-foot-8, 245-pound right-hander opened up his 2008 season in impressive fashion, striking out the side in the top of the first inning. Aside from Fairfield’s three-run second inning, Green was perfect, sitting down 10, now allowing a walk, working five innings, and seven hits. Green nearly single handedly retired the first eight outs of the game, striking out seven and recording one ground out hit back to the mound.

Freshman lefty Mike Kaczmarek and sophomore Tyler Henry combined to blank the Stags through the two final frames.

Fairfield’s Ryan Calabrese got the start and took the loss, lasting just three innings, allowing eight runs -three earned – walking five and striking out just one Wildcat.

Pacing UK offensively were preseason All-American outfielder Collin Cowgill, who finished with a 2-for-4, one triple, two RBI day. Sawyer Carroll finished 1-for-1, with three RBI, and Bryan Rose finished 1-for-1 with two RBI. First baseman Brian Spear, the UK season record holder for walks in a season, drew two base on balls, finishing 1-for-3 with two runs, and two RBI.

Kentucky struck early in the bottom of the first, as Brian Spear and Sawyer Carroll each drew one-out walks. Freshman Bryan Rose, who hit a home run in his first collegiate at bat yesterday vs. Xavier, promptly plated the duo with a line-drive double into the left-center field gap.

Fairfield answered in the top of the second, as Peter Allen led off with a double down the left-field line, later scoring on a single into right-center field from Brian Rudolph. Tucker Nathans followed with a double down the left line and Matt Tiagwad plated him with a double off his own off the right-field wall. Catcher Mike Bourdon gave the Stags the lead with a single through the left-side of the infield, scoring Nathans for a 3-2 lead.

Trailing for the first time in the young season, UK exploded out of the gates in the bottom half of the second, plating six runs on four hits, two Stag errors, two walks, and a hit by pitch. Tyler Howe got the inning started with a single through the right side and a Chris Wade sacrifice bunt moved Howe into scoring position. Freshman Chris Bisson reached on a throwing error by the Fairfield shortstop, promptly stealing second, putting Howe and Bisson in scoring position. Leadoff hitter Keenan Wiley drew a walk and with the bases juiced Spear came through with a two-RBI single through the right side. Carroll drove in his fourth RBI in six at bats with a sacrifice fly and Collin Cowgill legged out an infield single, driving in a run. Rose got plunked with a pitch and Chris McClendon finished off the six-run UK frame with a two-RBI single through the right side.

Carroll got UK’s fourth inning going with a lead off, four-pitch walk, his second of the day. Cowgill followed, delivering a rope off the left-field wall for a triple, scoring Carroll. Troy Frazier pinch hit for Rose and scored Cowgill with an RBI groundout, making it 10-3 UK.

The Wildcats stretched its lead in the fifth, plating two runs on one hit. Neiko Johnson led off the inning with a walk, advancing to second on a passed ball, and taking third on a stolen base. Keenan Wiley and Spear each drew walks, loading the bases for Carroll. The 6-foot-4 slugger pounded out a double down the right-field line, scoring two runs, giving him four RBI in the game.

In the bottom half of the seventh, UK plated its final run, forcing the mercy rule, and giving UK a 13-3 win. With the bases loaded and just one out, Brian Suerdick connected on an RBI single to give UK the final margin.

Kentucky (2-0) returns to action at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, completing its stay in the Coca-Cola Classic. UK will face off with South Alabama at USA’s Stanky Field. Fans can catch the action live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio), with Dick Gabriel, or can see the live video feed provided by the University of South Alabama, at its official website, USAjaguars.com. Fans wanting to see the action live, can pay a one-time fee of $6 to watch the action.

Game 2

MOBILE, Ala. — Collin Cowgill connected on a three-run home run in the seventh inning, part of a six-run frame, to give the No. 20 Kentucky baseball team a five-run lead that it would not surrender, boosting UK a 10-3 win over the South Alabama Jaguars, in the final game of the 23rd annual Coca-Cola Classic, on Saturday afternoon in front of 1,227 fans at Stanky Field.

Cowgill, a preseason All-American and member of the USA Baseball Golden Spikes National Player of the Year Award Watch List, strolled to the plate in the seventh inning with two runners on base and promptly opened up a large UK lead with a towering shot, sent high over the American flag in left field for his first homer of the season. Cowgill earned Coca-Cola Classic Most Valuable Player Honors while batting .308 (4-for-13) on the weekend, with five runs, one double, one triple, a homer, five RBI, three walks and two steals.

Kentucky (3-0) started Greg Dombrowski, the school career-record holder for the highest winning percentage in the 103-year history of the program, and the senior right hander delivered a five-inning performance, allowing just one earned run, picking up his 18th win of his career. Lefty James Paxton relieved Dombrowski and worked three innings, allowing three hits and striking out four. Dynamic senior right-hander Aaron Lovett and veteran Andrew Albers closed out the contest with a scoreless ninth inning.

South Alabama (2-1) got a five-inning start from lefty Lance Baxter, who allowed four runs, two earned, walking three and striking out six Wildcats earning the loss.

USA, a tradition-rich program that sports 24 NCAA Regional appearances since 1972, struck first in the bottom of the first inning. The Jags took advantage of two UK errors and a wild pitch to plate two runs. Leadoff man Ray Kruml ripped a groundball up the middle that freshman infielder Neiko Johnson, making his first career start, attempted to field with a diving backhand stab. The ball scooted off his glove allowing Kruml to reach. Kruml immediately stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Chris Davis drove in Kruml with a single through the right side, and Clint Toomey reached on an error charged to UK shortstop Chris Wade. USA first baseman Ryan Bohanan drove in Davis with an RBI single through the right side.

UK answered in the next half inning, scoring three runs to take a 3-2 lead. Junior outfielder Collin Cowgill led off the frame with a walk and designated hitter Troy Frazier followed with an infield single. Chris McClendon, attempting to lay down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position, forced Baxter into a throwing error, allowing Cowgill to score. After a quick Marcus Nidiffer strike out, freshman shortstop Chris Wade delivered an RBI double into the right-center field gap, plating Frazier and McClendon.

The Wildcats tacked on another run in the top of the third, as Carroll reached on a two-out walk. Baxter attempted to pick off Carroll at first base, but his throw sailed over the head of the first baseman, allowing Carroll to trot to third. Frazier plated Carroll with a double that was fielded with one hop by Kruml in center field – who fielded it barehanded – but Frazier legged it out for a double, narrowly missing the tag.

The Jaguars cut the UK lead to one with a run in the bottom half of the fourth inning. Ryne Jernigan led off with a single that scooted under the diving glove of UK shortstop Chris Wade and into left field. Ryan McCory followed, cranking a double off the base of the wall in left field, scoring Jernigan.

UK exploded for six runs in the seventh, as Neiko Johnson led off with a walk. Keenan Wiley followed, working the count full, and delivered a single into centerfield, allowing Johnson to reach third. Spear drove in Johnson with an RBI ground out to the shortstop. Carroll followed, drawing his second walk of the game, setting the stage for Cowgill, UK’s powerful cleanup hitter. Cowgill connected on the first ball he saw, a high and inside pitch, with Carroll and Wiley on base, sending it towering over the American flag – flying high in left field – for his first home run of the season. The inning was not over however, as McClendon singled through the right side, stole second, and moved to third on an error. Catcher Marcus Nidiffer, making his first career start, drew a walk and Wade scored the duo with a double down the left-field line.

Kentucky opens up its home slate with a 4 p.m. ET matchup with Oakland on Tuesday, at Cliff Hagan Stadium.