2004 Baseball Preview: The Lineup

With the exception of the new head coach, there are many familiar faces starting for Kentucky. In fact, the majority of the lineup will remain the same from last year. Moreover, what this year's offense might lack in firepower could very well be made up by that experience.

This year's squad brings back four senior infielders, led by Mike Breyman. Breyman is by far the biggest power hitter the Cats have on the roster this year and will be needed to provide some muscle at the four and five spots this year. While his defense is subject at times, he will start at first base for the Cats.

The always dependable Spencer Graeter will play second base and most likely hit towards the top of the lineup. Since his freshmen year, the former Louisville Ballard star has been extremely consistent at the plate and on the field. The third senior is Joe Naill, whom will start at shortstop. The coaches are hoping his good summer will translate into a good fall. If Naill can get on base, the Cats will be finally be able to use his excellent speed on the basepaths this season. The Cats desperately need Naill to step up if they want to be a player this season.

The fourth senior infield starter is Jake Kungl at third base. Kungl does not have a powerful bat, but was a formidable player at third base for the Cats last season. He should fit in nicely as a starter this season. Another senior, Aaron Edwards, could also start at catcher, where he is splitting time with sophomore Justin Scutchfield. Together this unit will be the most experienced in the SEC. Whether or not that adds up to wins during the week, is still up in the air.

Two senior starters return in the outfield as Caleb Stewart is back in right field. Stewart has been inconsistent at times in the outfield, but he has got a lot of talent with the bat. If he gets off to a good start early, the talented hitter from Boyd County High School could put up big numbers in his last season. Senior Casey Gilvin will take care of duties in center field this season. The Lexington native hopes to build on a great first season since transferring from Morehead. He is the most exciting player to watch, as he finds ways to get on base and create runs if needed. Freshman Billy Grace and senior Matt Fritts are competing in left. Grace has got a very nice bat and will contribute as a Freshmen.

The Cats have the experience to be a tough win. If the freshmen can contribute as expected and the generous schedule pays dividends, the Cats could very well have a winning season in Jon Cohen's first year at the helm.

Kentucky opens today at Winthrop's Tournament facing Kent State. They play Winthrop, and Maryland this weekend.

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