Junior second baseman J.T. Riddle set a school record with a 6-for-6 game at the plate and starter Jerad Grundy tied a career best with nine strikeouts in six innings, sending No. 8 Kentucky (2-0) to a 20-3 victory against Niagara on Sunday at Spartanburg, S.C.
Riddle, whose perfect day at the plate set a UK modern-era record (2002-present), had a triple, a double and four singles, finishing a homer shy of hitting for the cycle. He is the first UK player to collect five or more hits since Marcus Nidiffer went 5-for-6 at Indiana in 2010. Through two games this season, Riddle is 9-for-11 with five runs, three doubles, one triple and four RBI.
"It felt great up there," said Riddle, the 2010 Kentucky Mr. Baseball who played at Western Hills. "It looks like a beach ball right now. I am putting good swings on it, just staying with my techniques and doing what I have to do to get base hits. Whether it is with two strikes or early in the count I am just putting good swings on the ball and a couple of them fell in for me last game."
UK Coach Gary Henderson talked about Riddle's strong start to the season: "He is more composed, he has always had good composure but it is even better. ... He is more disciplined at the plate. Obviously he has better bat speed and the strength issue is really obvious. He is a really, really good player and he has gotten off to a good start."
Grundy (1-0) worked six innings, allowing four hits and two unearned runs.
"Jerad had a nice night for us," Henderson said. "He had to throw a few extra pitches in the sixth because we kicked it around a little bit, but a really good outing for Jerad to get the season going."