Matchup of the week: University of Kentucky @ Alabama
The Cats continue Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a road trip to Tuscaloosa to face an Alabama team with one more win on the season and an identical 2-1 conference record. The Crimson Tide was projected to finish next-to last in the SEC West by the conference coaches prior to the season, so the matchup could have big implications for the conference tournament picture. If Kentucky finishes where it has in the last two seasons, fighting for the final berth in the conference tournament in the final weeks of the season, Alabama is likely to be one of the teams it is competing against. Senior catcher Brock Bennett leads the Tide with a .406 batting average, and senior right-handed pitcher Nathan Kilcrease has anchored the pitching staff with a 2-1 record and 2.30 ERA.
Player to watch: RHP Matt Koch (UofL)
The University of Louisville pitching staff has been outstanding through the early weeks of the 2011 season but hit a speed bump last week dropping two of three games to Xavier. Koch started things off poorly for the Cards last weekend by surrendering eight runs in three innings. Until the UofL offense begins to carry its weight against quality competition, the Cards cannot afford any poor outings from its weekend starters. Koch needs to rebound this weekend when the Cards open Big East Conference play versus Rutgers.
Stat of the week: EKU still winless on the road
Eastern Kentucky University opens Ohio Valley Conference play at Eastern Illinois on Saturday, and if the Colonels win a game this weekend it will be the team’s first road win of the season. EKU has dropped its last seven games and each of its 10 road games this season. The Colonels’ road games have not been particularly close either as the team has been outscored 93-33 on the road this season.
Out of state Ky. collegians playing Ky. schools: LHP Jeremy Dobbs (Austin Peay), LHP Jack Snodgrass (Austin Peay)
You will have to forgive Murray State University if it thinks it is facing an in-state opponent this weekend with two Kentucky high school alumni likely getting weekend starts for Austin Peay. The Governors feature Daviess Co. High School alum Jeremy Dobbs and Bowling Green High School alum Jack Snodgrass in its weekend rotation. Dobbs is 4-0 with a 3.18 ERA in five games, including two starts this season, and struck out 11 batters in his start last weekend. Snodgrass is 0-2 but boasts a 2.92 ERA on the season in four starts.