Sophomore A.J. Reed worked five innings on the mound and was a career-best 4-for-5 at the plate with three RBI to lead No. 8 Kentucky to a 9-2 season-opening win over UNC Asheville on Friday afternoon at Spartanburg, S.C.
Reed pitched five innings with two runs. And he also got his first career triple.
"It was a lot of fun," Reed said. "It is always good to get a win in your first game. I was just going out there to try and do what I could to help the team get the win.
"Getting the start on the first game, there is a little bit of pressure and you are a little bit fired up, your adrenaline is going a little bit. You just got to settle down and make a pitch when you needed to and I was able to for the most part."
Junior second baseman J.T. Riddle also starred in the victory, going 3-for-4. The Frankfort native hit doubles off the left and right-field walls.
"My approach was just to get the foot down. That is what I have been working on for the last month or so," Riddle said. "Just see the ball and hit it where it is pitched. I knew they were going pitch me away all day. ... Later on they came inside and I just went with the ball."
Kentucky (1-0) also got multiple-hit games from centerfielder Austin Cousino, who was 2-for-4 with two walks and two stolen bases. Rightfielder Zac Zellers was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a walk, while leftfielder Lucas Witt was 2-for-5 with an RBI.
■ Shortstop Matt Reida hit in the No. 8 spot in the order for the first time in his career. He has made 90 consecutive starts as the No. 9 hitter.
■ Zac Zellers stretched his hitting streak to a team-high six games.
■ Kentucky won its ninth opener in the past 10 seasons.