UK Baseball Notebook

UK Baseball Notebook; The Cats set to open the season with a very tough three game weekend stretch; starting pitching lineup announced; starting lineup announced

This Week
Feb. 18 vs. Appalachain State • 11 a.m.
(Charleston, S.C.)
Feb. 19 at Charleston Southern • 2:30 p.m.
(Charleston, S.C.)
Feb. 20 vs. George Mason • 11 a.m.
(Charleston, S.C.)

Pitching Rotation (2004 stats)

Fri.   Andrew Albers (L) freshman from N. Battlefield, Saskatchewan
Sat.   Scott Green (R) freshman from Louisville, Ky.
Sun.   Kalen Gibson (R) 3 5.06 15/13 74.2 80 51 42 61 38

Kentucky Opens Season at Buccaneer Classic
The Kentucky baseball team kicks off the 2005 campaign with three games at Charleston, S.C., in the Buccaneer Classic hosted by Charleston Southern. The Wildcats will also face Appalachian State and George Mason on the weekend. Kentucky has just four returning starters from last year's squad and brings back just three total pitchers. However, the Wildcats will be bolstered by 18 newcomers which comprised the nation's 25th-ranked recruiting class. It is the second year for head coach John Cohen, who went 24-30 in his inaugural year. He has a 60 percent career winning percentage.

Quick Notes

  • Kentucky is 51-41-3 all-time in season openers, but have not won back-to-back openers since 1990-91. The Wildcats beat Ball State, 3-2, to begin the 2004 campaign.
  • Junior pitcher Kalen Gibson and sophomore outfielder Billy Grace were named preseason All-SEC by
  • As many as five newcomers could be in the starting lineup for the opener. UK will use two newcomers in the starting rotation.
  • UK opens the season in South Carolina for the second straight year after beginning at Rock Hill a year ago.

    Projected Starting Lineup

    Pos.  Player   Cl.  Note
    C    JP Lowen  Jr.  transfer from Chipola JC (Fla.), lefty power hitter
    1B   Michael Bertram  Jr.  Batted .303 as a sophomore
    2B   JB Schmidt  Sr.  hit .264 a year ago
    3B   Shaun Lehmann  Jr.  transfer from Dyersburg State CC (Tenn.)
    SS   John Shelby III   So.  hit .279 as a freshman, can also play centerfield
    LF   Collin Cowgill   Fr.  Kentucky Mr. Baseball in 2004
    CF   Antone DeJesus   Fr.  speedster who covers a ton of ground in outfield
    RF   Billy Grace   So.  top returning hitter at .331 a year ago
    DH   Matt Fritts   Sr.  redshirted 2004 season

    Kentucky Head Coach John Cohen

    On getting the season started
    "Our players are really excited, with all the drill work and all the intrasquad games, they're excited about playing outside competition. I think we're ready. It's like any other sport, where you're not ready to play your best until you get to the meat of your schedule. But we're at a good starting point. I feel like our preparation has been outstanding. It's been as good a preseason as I've ever been a part of. The staff has done a great job."

    On the biggest challenge this weekend
    "In basketball, if you have a great scorer, you can double-team him. In baseball, if you have that dominant guy on the mound, you can't double-team that guy. In college baseball, anybody can beat anybody because of who's on the mound. The teams we face this weekend have a couple guys that can beat you, and I think can beat anybody. It'll be a challenge."

    On this weekend's opponents
    "George Mason had the greatest year in the history of their program last year and they have 18 guys back. Appalachian State has a new coaching staff and will be a lot better than they've been in the past. Charleston Southern beat Florida last week, so even though people might not recognize these names, it's very good competition early.

    On playing so many young players this weekend
    "We've got a freshman on the mound. There's a good chance we'll have two freshmen start in the outfield with a sophomore. Potentially, we could pitch five or six different freshmen this weekend. It's an issue with us, but the amount of energy and enthusiasm and passion the young guys have is going to help them clear some hurdles. We're excited about seeing them play."

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