Know Your Baseball Enemy: Kentucky Wildcats

The Kentucky Wildcats (15-11, 2-4) travel to Columbia, S.C to take on the University of South Carolina Gamecocks (19-5, 4-2 SEC).  The Gamecocks should win the series and hopefully sweep them as that would be real nice.  USC also has revenge in mind as UK won two of three last year when the two squads clashed.

The Gamecocks lead the overall series with UK, 38-29, including a 20-10 mark in gamesplayed in Columbia.

Let’s break this down further…

Today’s 7 p.m. game will be televised on FS South while Saturday’s 4:30 p.m. game and Sunday’s 1:30 p.m. game will be on SportSouth.

Our starting pitchers:
–Today’s starter is junior southpaw Michael Roth (5-1, 1.50 earned run average).
–On Saturday, the Gamecocks are going with sophomore right-hander Colby Holmes (2-0, 4.00) will get his first career SEC start.
–Sunday is to-be-determined for USC.  Could see Forrest Koumas, Tyler Webb or Bryan Harper.

The Wildcats pitchers will be:
–UK junior right-hander Alex Meyer (3-3, 3.05) gets the nod today.
–On Saturday they will go with freshman lefty Corey Littrell (4-1, 5.17).
–Sunday, UK is going with sophomore lefty Taylor Rogers (2-2, 5.45).

UK Team Summary:
As a team, UK has hit .307 as a team, with 155 runs scored, 18 homers and 48 stolen bases through 26 games. On the mound, the Wildcats have a 3.90 team ERA, with eight saves, walking 77 and striking out 219 in 228.2 innings, posting a .973 fielding percentage.  UK’s bullpen owns a 2.92 ERA as a team through 26 games, totaling eight saves and 86 strikeouts in 83.1 innings.

Whom to watch for on the UK roster:
Freshman J.T. Riddle has led the Wildcats through his first 21 career games, batting .364 with five doubles, two homers and 14 RBI, stealing 4-of-5 bases. Junior leftfielder Chad Wright has hit .344 with eight doubles, three homers and 19 RBI, leading the team with 12 stolen bases. Senior shortstop Taylor Black – who hit 10 homers in SEC play last year – has hit .343 with eight doubles, two triples, one homer and 19 RBI, stealing eight bases.

USC Summary:
As a team, SC has hit .292 with 169 runs and a league-leading 25 homers in 24 games, stealing 16 bases. On the mound, Carolina has an impressive 2.87 ERA, saving seven games in 213 innings, walking 78 and striking out 205, fielding .970 as a club.

Who needs to continue to step up for USC:
The Gamecocks have been led by All-American outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who has hit .303 with sevendoubles, one triple, six homers and 22 RBI. Third baseman Adrian Morales leads the team with a .370average with six doubles, three homers and 19 RBI, while slugging first baseman Christian Waler has added a .341 average with five homers and a team-best 25 RBI.  These three need to continue to be the “punch.”

What could happen:
I see USC getting a sweep as UK is 0-2 versus ranked teams.  Call me crazy but as long as USC can continue their paly, like they did against UF, then three wins is possible.  Worst case is USC gets 2 of the three.  UK’s pitcher today, Alex Meyer, is a stud as he has MLB abilities so it could prove the toughest game for USC.


About flounder

Two-time grad of THE University of South Carolina.