A.J. Reed hit a three-run home run and Chandler Shepherd threw 5.2 innings of two-hit relief Tuesday to highlight No. 8 Kentucky's 11-5 win over Murray State in the Wildcats' soggy home opener at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
In a game whose start was delayed three hours by frequent downpours in Lexington, Shepherd (1-0) turned in his longest career outing in relief of starter Kyle Cody. The sophmore right-hander entered the game with UK and Murray tied 4-4 in the third inning and worked out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam. He allowed only two singles, an unearned run and struck out a career-high six.
"We played really good," UK head coach Gary Henderson said. "I was really glad to see it for (Shepherd). His first couple of outings this year were a little rough. He is a really good competitor and has some really good pitches. Sometimes it takes a while to relax at the beginning of the season and let your skills play out, and that is what we did today."
Reed, a preseason All-America selection, got Kentucky (6-1) started at the plate with a three-run blast to right field in the first inning. It was the second home run of the season for the sophomore first baseman, who added a fourth RBI later in the game.
The Cats also got two hits each from shortstop Matt Reida and designated hitter Max Kuhn, who drove in a run. Kentucky's catchers combined for three RBI with Michel Thomas driving in two and Greg Fettes plating one. Outfielders Austin Cousino and Lucas Witt also had run-scoring hits for UK. Second baseman J.T. Riddle extended his hitting streak to 10 with a single and one RBI.
Murray State (4-4) was led by first baseman Mike Kozlowski and second baseman Dylan Wheeler, who each collected two hits.
Racers starter Tim Vonder Haar (1-1) took the loss, allowing five earned runs on six hits and two walks through 2.2 innings of work.
UK returns to action on Wednesday, playing host to Eastern Kentucky at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Network, live in Lexington on WWTF 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com. UK will send freshman southpaw Ryne Combs (0-0, 3.00 ERA) to the mound to face Eastern Kentucky freshman right-hander Chris Cervantes (0-1, 10.38 ERA).
• Fettes made his first career start at catcher.
• Cody made his first career start on the mound, allowing three earned runs on six hits and two walks through 2.2 innings of work.
• Cousino has scored a run in every game this season.
• Witt collected his ninth RBI of the season.
• UK coach Gary Henderson has a 90-38 career mark at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Cats top Murray in soggy home opener
Dawg Post Top Stories
No. 17 DE Malik Herring Names Top FiveMalik Herring is Scout's No. 17 DE in the country and he has named his top five schools...
Scout FootballMonday at 2:54 PM
No. 18 S Xavier McKinney Breaks his SilenceSince decommitting from Alabama on July 14, Xavier McKinney has kept to himself. The No. 18 safety in the country opens up about his decision, talks about what is next and more…
Scout FootballFriday at 3:58 PM
2018 DE Brenton Cox is Quietly Blowing UpBrenton Cox has quietly emerged as one of the top juniors in the state of Georgia and he has added some big offers this summer...
Who's Next for Georgia on the OL?ELLENWOOD, Ga. — Who's next? Who will fill that fifth chair? Georgia wants to add one more offensive lineman to its 2017 class and Bulldog commit Justin Shaffer talks that...