A.J. Reed displayed why he's been on almost every preseason All-America list entering the 2013 college baseball season by leading No. 8 Kentucky to a 9-2 win over UNC Asheville on Friday in Spartanburg, S.C.
Reed, a sophomore left-hander from Indiana, pitched five solid innings and also posted a career-best 4-for-5 line at the plate with a triple and three RBI.
"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."
The Wildcats (1-0) also got a 3-for-4 performance with two doubles from junior second baseman J.T. Riddle in his first career start as UK's cleanup hitter. Kentucky's top four spots in the lineup went 11-for-19 on the day, including a 2-for-4 start by preseason All-America centerfielder Austin Cousino and a 2-for-5 day by leftfielder Zac Zellers.
Reed (1-0) allowed only six hits and two runs in his five innings of work. He struck out four and did not issue a walk. He gave way to senior reliever Walter Wijas in the sixth inning, who worked 1.2 scoreless. Freshmen Dylan Dwyer and Kyle Cody closed out the win for the UK pitching staff.
The Wildcats will play their second game of the season on Saturday, facing USC Upstate at 4 p.m. ET. UK will send preseason All-American Corey Littrell to the mound to face off with USC Upstate ace lefty David Roseboom. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, available in Lexington on WWTF 1580-AM and online at UKathletics.com.
• Kentucky opened its season in South Carolina for the fifth-consecutive year. UK has now won 11 straight games played in February.
• Riddle made his team-high 67th consecutive start for the Wildcats.
• Zellers has a six-game hitting streak dating back to the 2012 campaign. Cousino extended a five-game hitting streak.
• Max Kuhn made his first career start and played first base for the first time in his two-year career at UK.
Reed powers UK in season-opening win
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