UK baseball team caps record-breaking series with 26-3 win

Staff and Special ReportsMarch 9, 2014 

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    Kentucky at Indiana

    When: 4:05 p.m. Tuesday

Micheal Thomas homered for the second consecutive game and Max Kuhn also went deep as the Kentucky baseball team clobbered Ball State 26-3 at Cliff Hagan Stadium on Sunday.

Kentucky (13-3) scored a school-record 58 runs in the three-game series. The previous record was 47 in a three-game set against Tennessee Martin in 2007.

"We've had a great couple days and really a great weekend offensively," UK Coach Gary Henderson said. "We did not hit many soft fly balls this weekend."

After a 10-8, extra-inning loss in the series opener Friday, UK outscored Ball State 50-4 over the next two games. The Cats batted .425 (54-for-127) in the series.

Thomas, a senior catcher, will be sad to see Cardinals pitchers leave town. He hit .615 (8-for-13) in the series with 13 RBI.

"Micheal is being really aggressive and competing at a really high level," Henderson said. "He is managing the pitchers well and is battling with two strikes."

In Sunday's series finale, every UK player with an official at-bat got a hit. Kuhn, a junior third baseman, went 4-for-6 with three runs and three RBI. Freshman Marcus Carson went 3-for-3 with three runs and four RBI, and freshman Storm Wilson reached base three times and scored three runs.

"It's great when you can get a lead and put some of the younger kids in," Henderson said. "That went well for us the last couple of days."

Kyle Barrett, Austin Cousino, Dorian Hairston and JaVon Shelby each had two hits. Shelby, a freshman from Tates Creek, doubled and hit his first career triple in the eighth inning. Cousino's double in the fourth inning was his eighth of the season.

Barrett extended his on-base streak to 35 games, dating to last season. A.J. Reed, who was hit by two pitches and scored three runs, went 1-for-2 to extend his hitting streak to 18 games.

On the mound, UK junior right-hander Andrew Nelson (1-0) pitched a career-high 62⁄3 innings, allowing one earned run, walking one and striking out four.

"I just stuck with the plan, kept the ball low and threw first-pitch strikes," Nelson said. "I just let them hit the ball and let the defense work. I was able to stay loose and focused. It was easy with the amount of runs we scored."

The Cats' next game is Tuesday at Indiana, which was ranked No. 17 last week by Baseball America. After a home game against Northern Kentucky on Wednesday, UK will open the Southeastern Conference portion of its schedule Friday night at Alabama, the first of a three-game series.

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