Fresh off its fourth consecutive conference series win this season, most recently against Mississippi, Kentucky's baseball team hosts Louisville at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Kentucky (30-3, 9-3 Southeastern Conference), which hadn't won a series against the Rebels since 2008, took the opener 3-2 and lost the second game 9-3 before riding a strong pitching effort from Corey Littrell to a series-clinching win Sunday, 8-3.
The Wildcats, ranked No. 1 by Baseball Collegiate and No. 3 by Baseball America, lead the nation in batting average and top the SEC in nearly every offensive category. Their overall and conference records are both their best starts to a season in school history.
UK will send freshman left-hander A.J. Reed (4-0, 2.42 ERA) to the mound to face U of L freshman right-hander Jared Ruxer (4-0, 2.37 ERA) on Tuesday. Reed has allowed 25 hits and six walks, striking out 27 in 26 innings. Ruxer has pitched 30 1⁄3 innings, allowing 25 hits and nine walks with 15 strikeouts.
The Wildcats are batting .328 as a team with a .506 slugging mark and a .421 on-base percentage. They have 40 home runs in 33 games. On the mound, UK has a 3.44 ERA in 293 innings.
Freshman center fielder Austin Cousino leads the Cats in nearly every offensive category. He's batting .365 with 13 doubles, one triple, five home runs, seven stolen bases and 27 RBI. Reed has hit .350 with three homers and 33 RBI while Cameron Flynn is batting .341 average with eight homers and 26 RBI.
Louisville (23-9, 7-2 Big East) enters the game coming off a road series win at Georgetown this past weekend. The Cardinals, ranked 19th by Collegiate Baseball, are batting .316 as a team with 22 homers in 32 games. On the mound, U of L has a 3.09 ERA.
The Cards are led by Ty Young, who has hit .378 with three homers and 23 RBI. Nick Ratajczak has batted .370 with seven doubles and 12 RBI. Stewart Ijames leads the club with 10 homers and 37 RBI, batting .299.
UK leads the all-time series with Louisville 66-33-1, including a 32-12 record in games played in Lexington. UK swept the two games the teams played last year.
Maile earns SEC honor
Junior catcher Luke Maile, a Covington Catholic graduate, was named the Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Week along with Alabama senior center fielder Taylor Dugas.
Maile hit .471 (8-for-17) last week with 20 total bases, including three doubles, three home runs and six RBI.
This year, Maile has hit .341 (42-for-123) with nine doubles, nine home runs and 36 RBI.