In our first two weekend review posts there was little wrong with UofL’s or WKU’s opening weekend performance. That trend stops now as each of the other four Kentucky teams combined to go 0-12 on the weekend. In the third post we will look at the University of Kentucky.
- Freshmen struggle: UK head coach Gary Henderson is always quick to downplay the expectations for freshmen playing in the Southeastern Conference, but even he had to admit the Cats would need contributions from youngsters this season. It was probably too much to ask for freshmen to carry UK during their first collegiate series, but the Cats had to hope for a little more than they got this weekend. At the plate three freshmen hitters, J. T. Riddle, Matt Reida and Lucas Witt, combined to go 1-13 with seven strikeouts. On the mound two freshmen relievers, Corey Littrell and Trevor Gott, combined to go 0-2 after surrendering nine runs in four and one-third innings. On the bright side, four of those nine runs were unearned.
- Defense comes up short for Cats: At preseason media day Henderson said the Cats’ season would depend on pitching and defense, but after the first series of the year he can’t be happy with the Cats’ defensive effort. On Saturday Marshall scored four unearned runs in the eighth inning to break open what was a 2-2 tie after a throwing error by second baseman Neiko Johnson. On Sunday Miami (Ohio) scored the go-ahead run after junior catcher Michael Williams dropped what would have been an outfield assist gunning down the go-ahead run at home plate. On the weekend UK recorded four errors, but two of them came at crucial times. The defensive lapses on Saturday and Sunday wasted two superb starts from Alex Meyer and Taylor Rogers. Meyer and Rogers combined for 20 strikeouts in 13 innings.
- Revolving door at second base: In three games Henderson started three different players at second base: freshmen Reida and Riddle and redshirt senior Johnson. The three batters combined to go 1-9 during their time at second base. At media day Henderson said he would focus on the best defensive option at the position, so he couldn’t have been happy that both Reida and Johnson committed errors while at second base. The problems at second base could have been overlooked if UK had found any offense elsewhere. The Cats batted .181 on the weekend.