A.J. Reed belted his fourth home run in the last six games and freshman pitcher Kyle Cody picked up his first career win for Kentucky as the No. 7 Wildcats defeated Xavier on an icy Wednesday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
The red-hot Reed, a sophomore preseason All-America selection, went 2-for-3 with two walks and launched his SEC-leading fifth home run in the seventh inning to highlight the win. He is coming off being named the SEC Player of the Week, the Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's top honor.
Reed's season numbers now include a .426 average, a double, a triple, five home runs and 23 RBI. He has a .526 on-base percentage and .809 slugging perecentage.
"It's a fun part of the game," UK head coach Gary Henderson said of Reed's first 12 games. "It's fun when you get good kids like that. It's more fun when they are on your team. You will see kids get in a groove like that and he is certainly in one of those grooves. He is squaring it good."
Kentucky (11-1) also got a two doubles and two RBI from Max Kuhn and two hits from Micheal Thomas.
Cody (1-0) worked a career-long five innings, allowing only four hits and two runs while striking out three. The 6-foot-7 right-hander from Wisconsin did not walk a batter and at one point retired nine straight Xavier hitters.
"Today, I was a lot more focused and I knew what I had to do," Cody said. "I took my struggles from last game and I worked on changing it for the better. I tried to get ahead of the batters and tried to get the ball down. I didn't do that against Murray. I just needed to get ahead. Once I got ahead, I had to put my secondary pitch low in the zone."
Walter Wijas took over in the sixth inning, working 1.2 innings, allowing no runs and two hits. Chandler Shepherd came on to get out of the seventh with a runner at second and two outs, getting out of the jam. He allowed a lone run in the eighth before giving way to Trevor Gott for his second save of the year and the 13th of his UK career.
Xavier (3-7) starter Scott Flever (1-1) worked five innings, allowing four runs on eight hits – three earned – walking four and striking out two. Both of his walks were intentional to avoid Reed, the reigning national player of the week. Jacob Bodner, Jarred Marks, Zach Johnson, Daniel Przeniczny and Alex Vice each worked in relief for the Musketeers.
UK will return to action Friday with the first of a three-game series against Michigan State starting at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Reed homers again in UK win over Xavier
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