Chris Rusin threw eight shutout innings, while Andy Burns went 3-for-3 with three RBI as Kentucky shut out Indiana State 5-0 Saturday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
Rusin, a senior left-hander, gave up six hits and a walk, striking out nine. Now 2-1, he threw 110 pitches, 73 for strikes, and dropped his ERA from 6.75 to 3.63. Only one Indiana State runner reached second base — in an eighth inning that included two errors and Rusin’s lone walk.
Tyler Henry closed with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Burns drove in UK’s first three runs. His second-inning triple scored two runs, and a fourth-inning sacrifice fly made it 3-0.
“It’s a lot off your chest when you get the runs and you can just go out there and throw,” Rusin said. “Nothing to hold back, throw a lot of strikes, get some early action and, hopefully, you can go the whole game.”
UK pitchers have allowed one walk in 18 innings against Indiana State. The Wildcats for a three-game sweep Sunday at 1 p.m.
In addition to his offensive production, Burns contributed some nifty defense from the get-go. The second batter of the game, Koby Kraemer, hit a slow roller in no-man’s land between the mound, third and short. Burns charged, made a clean pick and threw out Kraemer.
An inning later, Sycamores leadoff batter Luke Fieser singled. Tyler Graham tried to advance Fieser with a bunt.
However, Burns charged, plucked the popup out of the air, then fired to first to double off Fieser.
“The ball just kept finding me,” Burns said, “and that’s what you’ve got to do in a game like that.”
Coach Gary Henderson liked what he saw from Burns.
“I thought he was much more aggressive at third base. Much more aggressive, looser, more confident,” Henderson said. “And, boy, it’s surprising how often those things go hand in hand with a young player. A little success on one side, then helps out the other side. (I’m) really pleased with his development. Obviously, it was a great day for him.”
Following are the notes filed live during the game.
Baseball final: Kentucky 5, Indiana State 0
UK’s Tyler Henry retired Luke Fieser, Brian Jett and pinch-hitter Brian Ramirez in order in the ninth. Final score: Kentucky 5, Indiana State 0.
A full recap will be coming in Sunday’s Herald-Leader and online at http://www.kentucky.com/820/story/718452.html.
Wildcats take 5-0 lead to ninth inning
UK’s Andy Burns notches his third hit of the game, a single, but that’s all for UK in the eighth. RHP Tyler Henry will come on in the ninth and try to close the shutout. Through eight: UK 5, ISU 0.
Rusin wriggles out of jam in 8th; UK leads 5-0
Fielding errors on SS Chris Wade and 2B Chris Bisson, plus a two-out walk to Nick Ciolli, put Chris Rusin in a bind in the top of the eighth. A 6-4-3 double play and called third strike led to two runners being stranded. Bisson’s error was the first by a UK second baseman in 376 days. The previous E was charged to Neiko Johnson in February of 2008. Going to the bottom of the eighth: UK 5, ISU 0
Wildcats take 5-0 lead into the eighth inning
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, UK’s Marcus Nidiffer singles and Chad Wright walks. But RH Brandon Smith retires Neiko Johnson on a liner to center, then gets pinch-hitter Bryan Rose on a called third strike. Though seven innings: UK 5, ISU 0. Rose remains in the game, playing right field.
Kentucky leads Indiana State 5-0 in 7th
Indiana State’s Joe Meggs is stranded after knocking a two-out single up the middle. Going to the bottom of the seventh: UK 5, ISU 0.
Pitching change for the Sycamores: RH Brandon Smith. Starter Eric Valdez worked six innings, giving up five runs, three earned, on six hits and five walks. He struck out four.
Kentucky leads Indiana State 5-0 through 6th
Kentucky gets a sixth-inning single by Andy Burns, but nothing else. Heading to the seventh: UK 5, ISU 0.
Kentucky’s Rusin working on a gem
ISU snaps LHP Chris Rusin’s string of retired batters at nine, getting a two-out single through the right side of the infield by Nick Ciolli. However, that’s all the Sycamores get as Rusin strikes out the side. Through the top of the sixth, Rusin has a five-hit shutout going. All five hits are singles. He has not given a walk and has struck out seven.
Indiana State makes a couple of defensive changes in the bottom of the sixth. Ben Ferrell comes in at second, Brian Jett at first.
Wildcats up lead to 5-0 through five innings
UK adds a run in the fifth to take a 5-0 lead. Keenan Wiley and Marcus Nidiffer opened the inning with back-to-back singles. The runners moved to second and third on Chad Wright’s sacrifice bunt. Wiley scored on Neiko Johnson’s sacrifice fly to short center. ISU 1B Tyler Graham took the cutoff throw on the mound, then threw wildly past catcher Bronco Lafrenz, which allowed Nidiffer to move to third. Cory Farris struck out to end the inning.
Rusin locks down ISU again
In the top of the fifth, LHP Chris Rusin retires Indiana State 1-2-3 for a second consecutive inning. Overall, he has retired seven in a row.
UK pads lead to 4-0
UK’s Andy Burns, who tripled in two runs in the second, added an RBI in the fourth. Neiko Johnson and Cory Farris started the inning with back-to-back walks. Chris Wade’s bunt down the first-base line went for a hit, loading the bases. A sacrifice fly to center, by Burns, scored Johnson and moved Farris to third. Farris scored when Chris Bisson legged out a fielder’s choice, avoiding a double play. Through four innings: UK 4, ISU 0.
1-2-3 in top of the fourth
UK LHP Chris Rusin retires Indiana State 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth.
Cats waste leadoff double
Bottom of the third, UK’s Braden Kapteyn leads off with a double to the gap in left-center. But ISU RH Eric Valdez retires the next three in order, including two strikeouts. Through three innings: UK 2, ISU 0.
Nothing doing for ISU in third
In the top of the third, Indiana State’s gets back-to-back two-out singles by Ryan Strausborger and Koby Kraemer. But UK lefty Chris Rusin punches out Nick Ciolli to end the inning. UK 2, ISU 0.
Kentucky takes 2-0 lead in second inning
Andy Burns delivered a two-out, two-run triple to the gap in right-center, giving Kentucky a 2-0 lead in the second. Leadoff batter Chad Wright reached on a fielding error by 2B Koby Kraemer. One out later, Cory Farris walked. A strikeout later, Burns tripled. Sycamores CF Ryan Strausborger made a valiant attempt at a catch, but his all-out dive earned just a soft glance off his glove. Burns was stranded when Chris Bisson flied to left.
No score through 1 1/2 innings
Indiana State got a two-out single from Nick Ciolli in the first and a leadoff single by Luke Fieser in the second. Fieser was erased when Tyler Graham popped up to third baseman Andy Burns on a bunt attempt, with Fieser doubled up easily at first base.
UK had a pair of first-inning walks, but Braden Kapteyn was picked off second base to end the inning.
Indiana State (9-3) – Ryan Strausborger, cf; Koby Kraemer, 2b; Nick Ciolli, rf; Brady Shoemaker, lf; Luke Fieser, 3b; Tyler Graham, 1b; Joe Meggs, dh; Pascual del Real, ss; Bronco Lafrenz, c. Pitching: RH Eric Valdez (1-0, 2.19).
Kentucky (7-2) – Chris Bisson, 2b; Braden Kapteyn, 1b; Keenan Wiley, cf; Marcus Nidiffer, c; Chad Wright, lf; Neiko Johnson, dh; Cory Farris, rf; Chris Wade, ss; Andy Burns, 3b. Pitching: LH Chris Rusin (1-1, 6.75).
Umpires – John Bennett, home; Don Hudson, 1b; Nathan Huber, 3b.
Weather – (unofficial) 69 degrees, wind 12 mph, in from rf, with gusts up to 23 mph.