LEXINGTON, KY - The Buffalo baseball team will kick off the 2012 season with a challenge, heading down south for a three-game weekend series against the Kentucky Wildcats (3-0). After an exciting offseason and summer league season, the team will finally hit the field on Friday afternoon for a 4 pm first pitch in SEC country.
Kentucky swept through its opening weekend with relative ease, winning all three games by a combined score of 26-6 and holding its opponents (Wofford, Eastern Michigan and USC-Upstate) to a .200 combined batting average. After finishing last season with a record of 25-30 and an imposing home record of 21-10, the team has been projected to reach the NCAA tournament in 2012. Additionally, the team has two pitchers (Taylor Rogers and Jerad Grundy) in Baseball America's top 20 draft prospects.
The Bulls return nine position players who started in 35 games or more last season, and a pitching corp that only graduated one starter and two relievers. Aside from reigning Mid-American Conference player of the year Tom Murphy, the team will be chock full of veteran players and an offense that remains nearly intact from last season (returning over 92 percent of the team's total runs scored). Recently named to the Golden Spikes Award watch list, Murphy and his group of third-year juniors in Jason Kanzler, Matt Pollock and Alex Baldock will aim to improve on the team's 14-38 record in 2011.
Kentucky leads the overall series 3-0, having met with UB in 2005 for the Bulls season opener then as well. The Wildcats are offering a paid live video feed along with its live stats for the weekend series.
Friday: RHP Cameron Copping vs. LHP Taylor Rogers (1-0, 1.50 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Kevin Hughes vs. LHP Jerad Grundy (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Jeff Thompson vs. LHP Corey Littrell (1-0, 0.00 ERA)