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Photo: Regina Rickert

Photo: Regina Rickert

Wildcats to Face Southern California on Thursday, UC Santa Barbara in Weekend Series

LOS ANGELES — The Kentucky baseball team, winners of its first two games of the year, will travel to the west coast for a season-long road swing, facing off with Southern California on Thursday, before opening a three-game series with No. 16 UC Santa Barbara.

The four games will be broadcast live on the UK Radio Network, with Dick Gabriel voicing the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the games live on Fox Sports 1580-AM, or online at

Kentucky (2-0) will open the weekend with a 9 p.m. ET matchup with USC on Thursday at historic Dedeaux Field, the site of UK coach Gary Henderson’s first collegiate pitching victory as a member of the San Diego State Aztecs.

UK will then venture to face UC Santa Barbara in a three-game series, with the first game slated for 9 p.m. ET on Friday, returning to action at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday and concluding the series on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET.

UK will send junior right-hander Dustin Beggs (1-0, 1.69 ERA) to the mound on Thursday to face USC lefty Tyler Gilbert (0-0, 11.57 ERA). On Friday, UK will turn to junior righty Kyle Cody (0-0, 0.00 ERA) to face off with UC Santa Barbara in the opener of the series. UK has not announced a starting pitcher for the final two games at UCSB.

The Wildcats posted a season-opening 11-7 win over Ball State, using a 17-hit attack and a strong start from Beggs. Beggs worked 5.1 innings and allowed just one run in his UK debut. UK got a two-homer game from junior catcher Greg Fettes, who totaled four RBI and a pair of walks. UK also got a three-RBI game from JaVon Shelby and Thomas Bernal, with Shelby belting a homer. Freshman first baseman Evan White added three hits in his collegiate debut, with Ka’ai Tom charting three knocks.

In the 10-1 win over Richmond on Saturday, UK got four shutout innings from Cody, who worked on a strict pitch count. Bernal once again added three RBI on two hits, with Tom going 2-for-2 with three RBI.

As a team, UK has hit .368 in two games, with a .526 slugging and a .467 on-base percentage, stealing six bases. UK has a 2.50 ERA as a team in 18 innings, walking seven and striking out 22.

Through two games of 2015, UK has been led by Tom, who has started 5-for-8 with two doubles, four RBI and a steal. Shelby is off to a 4-for-9 start with a homer and four RBI. White is 5-for-9, Bernal is 4-for-9 and Fettes is 3-for-7 with five RBI. Rightfielder Storm Wilson has scored a team-high five runs, drawing three walks, getting plunked by two pitches and owning a four-steal game in UK’s win over Richmond.

Southern California (4-0) is coming off a 6-4 win over No. 19 Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday. The Trojans opened their season with a three-game sweep of Townson last weekend. As a team, USC has hit .307 with a .436 slugging and a .422 on-base percentage. USC has stolen 15 bases in 15 attempts and allowed only two steals, fielding .981 as a team. On the mound, USC has a 2.50 ERA through 36 innings, allowing 30 hits and 16 walks, striking out 37.

Individually, the Trojans have been led by Dante Flores, who has hit .538 (7-for-13) with two doubles, a triple and three RBI. Bobby Stahel has hit .455 with five RBI, with Garrett Stubbs hitting .438 with four RBI and four steals. Blake Lacey has a .308 average with four RBI. AJ Fritts and David Oppenheim own the two homers for the Trojans. In relief, Kyle Davis has both saves in 2.2 innings, not allowing a hit and striking out six.

UC Santa Barbara (4-0) opened its season with a four-game sweep of BYU last weekend. The Gauchos have hit .309 as a team through four games, with five doubles and 22 runs scored, stealing eight bases. UCSB has fielded .987 early in the year and thrown out three attempted base-stealers. On the mound, UCSB has a 1.25 ERA through 36 innings, allowing 27 hits and 13 walks, striking out 27.

Individually, the Gauchos have been led by .500 averages from Dalton Kelly and Cameron Newell. Robby Nesovic paces the club with six RBI, owning a .375 average. In relief, UCSB has used James Carter for both saves on the year, working 3.1 innings, allowing just two hits and striking out five.

Kentucky – 2-0, 0-0 SEC
Southern California – 4-0, 0-0 Pac-12
UC Santa Barbara – 4-0, 0-0 Big West

Schedule (times Eastern and subject to change)
at Southern California * Thursday, Feb. 19 * 9 p.m.
at UC Santa Barbara * Friday, Feb. 20 * 9 p.m.
at UC Santa Barbara * Saturday, Feb. 21 * 9 p.m.
at UC Santa Barbara * Sunday, Feb. 22 * 5 p.m.

Radio (UK IMG Network with Dick Gabriel)
Thursday, February 19
· Fox Sports 1580-AM in Lexington
Friday, February 20
· Fox Sports 1580-AM in Lexington
Saturday, February 21
· Fox Sports 1580-AM in Lexington
Sunday, February 22
· Fox Sports 1580-AM in Lexington

Tentative Pitching Matchups
Thursday at Southern California
Jr., RHP Dustin Beggs (1-0, 1.69 ERA) vs. Jr., LHP Tyler Gilbert (0-0, 11.57 ERA)
Friday at UC Santa Barbara
Jr., RHP Kyle Cody (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. TBA
Saturday at UC Santa Barbara
Sunday at UC Santa Barbara



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