It was an All-America type of day for Kentucky's A.J. Reed.
The Wildcats' sophomore pitcher/first baseman worked six innings on the mound, went 4-for-5 at the plate and drive in five runs Friday as Kentucky pounded Akron 21-2 at Cliff Hagan Stadium in the first of a three-game weekend series.
Reed equaled his career highs of four hits and five RBI. Three of those came on his third home run of the year. He pushed his season average to .378 and a team-high 16 RBI. On the mound, he scattered six hits over six innings and struck out four in improving to 2-1 on the season.
Kentucky (8-1) pounded out 18 hits and drew nine walks in the blowout. It marked the Wildcats' highest scoring total since plating 22 runs against Mississippi State in 2009.
The Cats got five runs in the first before exploding for 11 in the second inning, sending 16 batters to the plate. UK added a single run in the third and four in the fifth before turning the game over to its reserves with a 21-0 lead.
Reed wasn't the only offensive star for the Cats. Junior third baseman Paul McConkey went 2-for-4 with a double, triple and a career-high four RBI. Sophomore centerfielder Austin Cousino went 3-for-3 with two walks, four runs scored and an RBI.
"Everyone was seeing the ball well and starting off hot in the early innings really helped," said Cousino, one of UK's three preseason All-America selections. "It was great for our offense to get back in rhythm."
Junior second baseman J.T. Riddle also extended his hitting streak to 12 games, going 2-for-4 with a pair of walks and an RBI. He also stole his third base of the season. The Frankfort native has now reached base safely in 29 of 47 plate appearances this season. He leads the team with a .526 average.
The Wildcats also got multiple-hit games from Max Kuhn (2 for 3) and Matt Reida (2 for 3). Lucas Witt, Micheal Thomas and Zac Zellers each added one hit to the UK barrage.
Sophomore lefty Jeff Boehm then worked two shutout innings for UK before freshman right-hander Tyler Cox took over to finish the game with a shutout ninth.
Akron (0-7) starter Jon Pusateri (0-3) worked an inning, allowing seven hits and nine runs, walking one and striking out one. Michael Steensen, Pay Dyer, Joe Cochran and Joe Vazquez worked in relief, with Cochran saving the bullpen with three shutout innings over the fifth, sixth and seventh.
UK will return to action on Saturday in Game 2 against the Zips. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. The Cats will send southpaw Jerad Grundy (2-0, 0.69) to the mound.
• Cousino has reached base safely in 67 of his 71 career games at UK.
• McConkey recorded his first career triple in the first inning.
• Kuhn extended his hitting streak to a career-long nine games.
Reed shines as Cats pound Zips 21-2
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