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Kentucky, South Alabama, South Florida, JMU, and Liberty pick up wins


Kentucky 2 Western Kentucky 1

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Collin Cowgill and Ryan Wilkes delivered solo home runs, lifting the 17th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats to a 2-1 victory over state rival Western Kentucky – sweeping the two-game season series – in front of a WKU school-record 3,057 fans at Nick Denes Field.

Kentucky (31-10, 9-9 Southeastern Conference) got the only two runs it needed from Cowgill and Wilkes. Cowgill’s home run was his 16th of the season, good for second in the NCAA, three behind Georgia shortstop Gordon Beckham’s 19 homers on the year. Wilkes belted his sixth of the season after hitting four combined homers in his first three years for the Wildcats.

Kentucky has played in front of three school-record crowds in 2008, setting the UK record with 4,009 fans at UK’s 12-inning win over Louisville on April 8. On Tuesday, Louisville drew 3,652 fans, a school regular season record at Jim Patterson Stadium. WKU’s 3,057 fans marks a school record, toppling the previous record of 1,336 fans from the Louisville-Western game on April 1, a WKU win.

The Wildcat bullpen came through with eight solid innings of relief, after freshman starter Mike Kaczmarek was chased from the game in the second, working only one inning, allowing three hits and no runs. Senior Tommy Warner picked up his third win of the season, tossing five innings of outstanding relief, making one lone mistake, a solo home run from J.B. Paxson. Brock Baber, Andrew Albers and Scott Green combined to shut down WKU through the final three innings, not allowing a hit and striking out four over the final three frames. After Albers got six outs and worked a 1-2 count on Scott Kaskie with two out in the bottom of the ninth, UK turned to closer Scott Green who threw one pitch to get the strikeout and chart his second save of the season. Albers threw first-pitch strikes to all three hitters in the ninth inning.

Keenan Wiley notched a two-hit game, with Cowgill and Wilkes registering the other two hits of UK’s season-low four hits. Wiley extended his hit streak to a team-high 13 games.

The win marks Kentucky 23rd non-conference win in its past 24 games, with the lone blemish coming in a Tuesday night walk-off loss to Louisville at Jim Patterson Stadium.

WKU starter Matt Hightower took the loss, falling to 3-4 on the year after hurling 5 2/3 innings, allowing three hits and the two decisive runs, striking out five.

Kentucky returns to action with a crucial SEC series at No. 10 Vanderbilt this weekend. Fans can catch the action live on the Big Blue Sports Network (radio) with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price calling the action. In Lexington the game can be found on WLAP 630-AM and in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM.

Cowgill got Kentucky on the board in the third inning, sending his team-best 16th home run of the season soaring over the right-centerfield fence. Cowgill’s homer marked his third in the two-game series with the Hilltoppers.

Wilkes gave UK a 2-0 lead with a solo home run in the top of the sixth, his sixth homer of the year. Wilkes connected on a 2-2 offering from Hightower, sending a rocket over the fence in the left-centerfield gap.

Paxson, the WKU backstop, got WKU on the board, lifting a Warner offering high into the air, towering over the fence in right-centerfield for his eighth homer of the year, making it 2-1 UK.

Kentucky Recap
Western Kentucky Recap

South Alabama 10 Alabama 9

MOBILE, Ala. – In a game that saw four lead changes, South Alabama out-slugged Alabama 10-9 on Wednesday night in front of a season-high 2,363 fans at Stanky Field.

South Alabama left fielder Clint Toomey’s RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning off Alabama senior Josh Copeland scored pinch-runner Russell Harben from second base to give the Jags the extra inning win.

Third baseman Jake Overstreet led of the inning with an infield single that rolled only about 20 feet from home plate. Center fielder Ray Kruml followed with a bunt and was called safe at first base by umpire Bruce Ravan that set off the Alabama dugout and eventually led to the ejection of assistant coach Mitch Gaspard.

Toomey than bounced a single up the middle to give USA their second straight win over the Crimson Tide.

Copeland (2-2) allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings of relief. It was his first run allowed since March 7 against Youngstown State, a span of 10 outings and 18 1/3 innings.

South Alabama closer Greg Johnson (2-1) was the winning despite a blown save in the ninth inning.

Alabama (23-20) rallied from three separate deficits, including a game-tying solo home run by junior catcher Alex Avila in the top of the ninth inning to force extra innings.

Avila led the Tide with three hits and two RBI, while freshman second baseman Ross Wilson hit two home runs. Freshman shortstop Josh Rutledge extended his hitting streak to 19 games with his 22nd multi-hit game of the season.

“Offensively we did a nice job of coming back from a 7-2 deficit,” Gaspard said. “We didn’t pitch very well on the front end, but we battled back and got the lead. Wilson and Avila hit some big home runs for us. South Alabama had some good fortune late in the game, too.”

Avila’s 11th home run of the season with one out in the ninth inning forced extra innings.

South Alabama (24-19) scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning aided by an Alabama error to post the come-from-behind win. The Jaguars loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning against senior left-hander Will Stroup as they mounted the comeback.

Kruml led off the inning with a four-pitch walk and moved to second on Toomey’s bunt that dropped in the infield for a base hit. Stroup then hit David Doss to load the bases with no outs.

The Crimson Tide called on right-hander Austin Hyatt, who was making his first relief appearance since March 4, to try and work out of the jam. Ryne Jernigan potential double-play ground ball was booted by shortstop Josh Rutledge, allowing Kruml and Toomey to score the tying and go-ahead runs as the Jags took a 9-8 lead. Hyatt avoided further damage when Ryan Bohanan grounded out to first and Ryan McCrory and Chris Davis struck out to leave two runners in scoring position.

“We did a good job to minimize that one inning when the game could have gotten out of hand for us,” Gaspard added.

Wilson had given the Crimson Tide an 8-7 lead with a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning. It was Wilson’s second home run of the game and his fifth in the last five games for the Tide. Overall, he has eight home runs this season.

The Crimson Tide took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when freshman second baseman Wilson cracked a solo home run to left-center field.

South Alabama grabbed a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second inning taking advantage of a two out walk. Davis, the No. 7 hole hitter, drew a two-out walk and scored one pitch later when shortstop Bunky Kateon, a transfer from Mississippi State, stroked a two-run home run to right field. It was Kateon’s fifth home run.

The lead was short-lived as the Tide got a run back in the top of the third inning when junior Avila lined a two-out single to left field to score Rutledge, who led off the inning with a single up the middle to extend his hitting streak to 19 games.

The Jaguars scored five runs on five hits, including four extra base hits; in the bottom of the third inning to take a 7-2 lead. Doss drove in the first run with an RBI double down the left field line to give the Jags a 3-2 lead. Second baseman Ryne Jernigan added a two-run double and first baseman Bohanan followed with a two-run home down the left field line to put USA in front 7-2. It was Bohanan’s eighth home run of the year.

Alabama came right back with five two-out runs in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game at 7-7. Rutledge drove in two runs with a single to left field and sophomore DH Brandon May and Avila followed with two-out, RBI singles to pull the Tide to within a run at 7-6. Senior first baseman Matt Bentley drew a bases loaded walk to force home May with the tying run. USA reliever Travis Johnson struck out Jake Smith to end the inning as UA left the bases loaded.

Alabama returns home this weekend to take on arch-rival Auburn in a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The series opener is Friday, April 25 at 6:35 p.m. (CDT).

South Florida 2 Stetson 1

TAMPA, Fla. – With a 2-1 victory over Stetson on Wednesday, the University of South Florida baseball team swept both midweek games for the second time in two weeks.

Sophomore starter Teddy Kaufman earned his second win of the season, striking out two while allowing one run from four hits in 6.2 innings. Freshman Michael Anzivino relieved Kaufman in the seventh, then sophomore closer Shawn Sanford picked up his 10th save of the year with a 1.2 inning, no-hit outing.

“We needed that out of Teddy, especially after last night when we used so many pitchers,” said USF coach Lelo Prado. “He did a good job, and Anzivino did a good job. Then Shawn came in and did what he is supposed to do, and that is finish the job. I was very happy with our pitchers tonight.”

Freshman Ryan Lockwood singled up the middle in the first inning to tie USF’s longest hitting streak in the past nine years. With the hit, he ties shortstop Water Diaz’ 24-game clip in 2007. Lockwood was 3-of-4 in Wednesday’s game, with a trio of singles, two runs scored and a stolen base.

After Tuesday night’s game – two grand slams and four homers, 30 runs, 425 pitches thrown by 13 different pitchers, 10 innings and the better part of five hours – the match up between the Bulls and Hatters had no home runs, three runs scored, 233 pitches by five pitchers and nine innings in two hours, 22 minutes.

“We did enough to win,” added Prado. “After last night, I knew this one was going to be tough, I’m just happy we got the win.”

Both teams chalked up a run in the first inning, but were held scoreless the next four frames. In the sixth, the Bulls scored one run from three hits to win the game 2-1.

With two outs in the first, Lockwood sent a base hit up the middle then junior Brian Hobbs doubled down the left line to pick up his 25th RBI of the season and tie the game at one.

Lockwood led off the sixth with his third base hit of the night, then stole second base. With two outs, junior Chris Rey singled to the right side, scoring Lockwood and giving USF the lead.

USF continues its seven-game homestand this weekend when Villanova comes to town for a three-game BIG EAST set. The Bulls and Wildcats meet at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, then at 1 p.m. Sunday. Friday night’s game can be viewed on Catch 47, the local cable partner of USF athletics, as well as heard on 1010 Sports and Press Pass Radio.

JMU 8 George Washington 5

ARLINGTON, Va., April 23, 2008 – Freshman McKinnon Langston (Tallahassee, Fla./North Florida Christian) hit the go-ahead RBI single in the 11th inning and redshirt senior Trevor Kaylid (Cary, N.C./Green Hope) followed with a two-run double as James Madison University defeated George Washington University 8-5 on Wednesday afternoon at Barcroft Park.

JMU improved to 28-10 overall and built its road mark to 13-4 after entering the game tied for the ninth-best away record in the country. The three-run 11th marked the second straight game the Dukes scored three runs in their last turn at bat to break a tie. JMU is 2-0 in extra-inning games, having won in 11 at Old Dominion. GWU fell to 18-22 overall and lost for the 10th time in its last 12 games.

The teams had played six scoreless innings heading into the 11th. Redshirt sophomore Steven Caseres (New City, N.Y./St. Joseph Regional) earned a leadoff walk and reached second on redshirt freshman Trevor Knight’s (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne’s-Belfield) sacrifice bunt. Langston then knocked a single to right to drive in the go-ahead run. After a hit batter, Kaylid, in his first career at bat, lined a double to the gap in left center to score a pair of runs.

Three JMU relief pitchers combined to hold the Colonials scoreless over the final eight innings. Knight earned the victory after working a scoreless 10th and 11th with three strikeouts to improve to 6-1. Kaylid tossed four innings with four strikeouts, allowing only one hit and one walk. Freshman Alex Valadja (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Catholic) started in his first appearance since February and allowed all five runs on seven hits with four walks in three innings.

Junior Jimmy Duggan (Jefferson, Md./St. John’s Prospect Hall) entered in the 11th and retired just one batter, surrendering two runs on one hit with a walk. That spoiled the relief effort of sophomore Ryan LaPointe (Somersworth, N.H./Phillips Exeter Academy), who had held the Dukes scoreless for 6 1/3 innings on just four hits. Junior Chris Neary (Phoenix, Az./Sunnyslope) started and allowed five runs on six hits with four walks, four hit batters, and two balks.

Six JMU batters had two hits apiece to account for 12 of the team’s 13 hits. Redshirt senior Joe Lake (Elkridge, Md./Long Reach) was 2-for-4 with a double and a pair of walks. Sophomore Matt Browning (Mystic, Conn./Fitch) had a pair of hits with a double, two hit by pitches, and scored twice. Freshman David Herbek (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield) singled twice with a hit by pitch, stolen base, run, and RBI. Sophomore Alex Foltz (Mathias, W.Va./East Hardy) was 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs, and a run. Langston had two hits with an RBI and a run, while redshirt sophomore Chris Johnson (Shrewsbury, N.J./Redbank Regional) singled twice, scored twice, and was hit by a pitch.

Junior Tim Reeves (Cumming, Ga./North Forsyth) singled twice with a pair of RBIs and a walk for the Colonials. Senior Andrew Abokhair (Ashburn, Va./Broad Run) had two hits with an RBI double. Sophomore Sean Rockey (Sammamish, Wash./Eastlake) also had two hits with a double and scored twice. Sophomore Tom Zebroski (Port Washington, N.Y./Paul Schreiber) had a two-run single and walked. Junior Doug Eizen (Philadelphia, Pa./Haverford School) singled twice.

GW had four consecutive batters reach base to start the game with a single and a walk followed by a balk to set up the leadoff batters on second and third. Reeves then singled through the left side to score one, but the second runner was thrown out at the plate on one hop by Browning. Another single set up first and third before a popup to first on a bunt resulted in a double play to end the inning.

JMU came back in the second inning with Johnson reaching on a two-out single. He moved to second on a balk and came around on Herbek’s shallow fly ball to center that dropped for a single.

The Colonials came back to load the bases on a single and a pair of walks in the bottom of the second. After an infield popup, Zebroski lined a two-run single to left center for a 3-1 lead. Reeves followed with an RBI base hit through the right side.

The Dukes got a one-out rally going in the fourth with three consecutive batters getting hit by a pitch. Foltz then sliced a line drive to left that dropped just in front of the diving left fielder, junior Andrew Haberern (Emmaus, Pa./Emmaus), to score a pair of runs. A walk reloaded the bases before a shallow popup to right field by redshirt junior Brett Sellers (Greencastle, Pa./Greencastle-Antrim) was caught by the second baseman, resulting in a sacrifice fly to tie the score. A bases-loaded walk by Knight gave the Dukes their first lead of the game at 5-4. The four JMU runs came on just one hit.

GW tied the game in the bottom of the fifth. Rockey smashed a leadoff double off the wall in left center. After freshman Kevin Munson (Roanoke, Va./Cave Spring) relieved Valadja and retired his first two batters, Abokhair drilled a double off the wall in left for the RBI.

After plenty of scoring early, the teams traded zeros all the way to the 11th inning when JMU claimed the victory with a three-run inning.

Liberty 11 Old Dominion 3

Norfolk, Va. – Liberty third baseman Cody Brown drove in four runs with a two-run home run and a pair of doubles, as the Flames downed the Old Dominion Monarchs, 11-3, Wednesday night at Bud Metheny Stadium.

Liberty moves to 21-20 on the season. Old Dominion drops to 18-21.

Liberty pushed four runs across in the first inning, staking itself to a sizable early advantage. Kenneth Negron (Jr., 2B, Kingwood, Texas) and Errol Hollinger (Jr., C, Upland, Calif.) walked to open the game. After both runners advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch, P.K. Keller (Sr., RF, Clearwater, Fla.) plated the first run of the contest, by lifting a sacrifice fly to left field to score Negron. David Giammaresi (Sr., 1B, Coral Springs, Fla.) brought home the second run of the opening frame with a RBI ground out. After Aaron Grijalva (Sr., 1B, Redlands, Calif.) beat out an infield single and Garrett Young (Sr., DH, Fountain Valley, Calif.) was hit by a pitch, Brown (Jr., 3B, Boynton Beach, Fla.) lined a double into the right field corner for a 4-0 Flames advantage.

Liberty extended its lead in the second frame. Aaron Phillips (Sr., SS, Claremore, Okla.) was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and moved to third base on a hit-and-run single by Hollinger. Keller ripped a single through the right side of infield to bring home Phillips for a 5-0 edge. Giammaresi followed with a sacrifice fly to plate Hollinger, giving the Flames a 6-0 lead. The next batter, Grijalva, made it, 7-0 Flames, with a run-scoring single.

The Monarchs plated their first run of the contest in the bottom of the inning. With two out, shortstop Gerard Hall walked. Catcher Edgar Hernandez followed with a RBI double to make it, 7-1 Liberty.

The Flames scored for the third consecutive stanza in their next at bat. Brown doubled to the base of the left field wall to lead off the Liberty third inning. Three batters later, Negron singled sharply through the left side of the infield to cash in Brown and put the Flames up, 8-1.

Old Dominion added two runs in the bottom of the frame. Center fielder Jimmy Miles opened the inning with a double. Two batters later, first baseman Brian Cipolla hit a two-run home run over the right field wall, slicing the Liberty advantage to 8-3.

After a scoreless fourth, the Flames upped their lead to 10-3 in the fifth inning. Young worked a free pass to lead off the inning and scored ahead of a home run by Brown over the left field wall. The two-run shot was the Liberty third baseman’s sixth round tripper of the year, tying him for the team lead.

The Flames added a run in the top of the ninth inning for the final score of 11-3. With one out, Joseph Feely (Fr., CF, Chesapeake City, Md.) tripled to the base of the center field fence and scored on a single by Phillips.

Liberty starter Tyler Light (Jr., RHP, San Bernardino, Calif.) held the Monarch hitters in check during his six innings of work to move to 2-2 on the season. The right-hander gave up three runs on seven hits, striking out seven and walking two during his time on the hill for the Flames. Joe Steinwedell (So, RHP, Encinitas, Calif.) pitched a scoreless seventh for Liberty, while Brett Curll (So., RHP, Virginia Beach, Va.) shut out Old Dominion for the final two frames.

Old Dominion starter Dexter Carter falls to 1-4 on the year. The Flames roughed up the right-hander, as he yielded six runs over 1 1/3 innings.

Brown and Grijalva paced Liberty’s 13-hit attack with three hits apiece. Burns had two hits for Old Dominion.

Liberty continues its five-game road trip with a Big South Conference three-game weekend series at Winthrop, beginning Friday. Game time for the series opener is scheduled for 6 p.m.

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