The Wildcats took two games out of three over the weekend and now stand at 5-1 on the young season. Get the latest tidbits from all the action, as the 'Cats head home on Tuesday for their first home game of the season.
Some news and notes from Saturday's victory via Scott Dean of the UK Media Relations Department
Cowgill continues to shine
Player of the weekend has got to be Collin Cowgill. The sophomore from Lexington stood out on Sunday, going 4-for-5 with 2 runs, but had a home run on Friday and 2 RBI's on Saturday, as well. He has officially carried over his fantastic summer league showing into the year.
Much needed bench-clearing
UK used 6 pitchers and gave up just 2 runs against Michigan State, making UK Baseball coach John Cohen very pleased to say the least. His goal this pre-season has been to get some of his younger kids some game action.
After having a whole week off without at least one midweek game, which is very rare in college baseball, and using just two guys out of bullpen to date, Cohen liked being able to get six new pitchers a chance to show their stuff.
Arkansas State, a bad loss?
In regards to Friday's loss to Arkansas State, the UK Baseball staff was not discouraged. According to Dean, the Wildcats hit the ball real well in their 7-3 defeat, which was UK's first of the season, but the 'Cats were extremely unlucky.
"The game was alot closer than the 7 to 3 score indicated," Dean said. "The 3-run homer in the ninth obviously gave them some more space, but it was tight before that."
UK welcomes a five-game homestand this week, with two middle of the week games against Evansville, Tuesday and Cincinnati, on Wednesday. Northwestern than comes into town for the weekend.
Among the many early going successes to look out for this week, in addition to the explosive hitting display, is the pitching performances of UK's youngsters and the defense. UK has turned eight double plays this year.
Offensively, everyone in UK's lineup has been hitting the ball well, forcing Coach Cohen to make little adjustments to his lineup for the second straight weekend.
"They kinda stuck with same group," Dean said. "They have the 4 different outfielders and two catchers, but they seem pretty set with the infield of (Michael) Bertram, (Ryan) Wilkes, (John) shelby, (Ryan) Strieby all the way around.
John Shelby Update
Speaking of Shelby, the pre-season All-American had a nice turnaround day, recording 2 hits Sunday. Prior to the win against Michigan State, Shelby hadn't recorded a hit through the weekend after struggling in the first weekend. Despite the lack of offensive fire power, Ryan Strieby had a nice weekend and appears to have gotten on track, just in time for this week's homestand in Lexington.
Goals of Pre-Conference
In regards to the early queries involving pre-conference play, the UK Baseball staff believes that slip-ups like Friday are not immediate concerns. "The league is so tough," Dean said. "That if you are top 8 in the conference, you are almost a shoe-in to make the NCAA tournament - no matter what. Obviously, you've got to take care of business in the non-conference games, but everybody in SEC loses a few they shouldn't. The idea is to continue working to get ready for SEC play.
Health wise, UK is still 100%, with the exception of expected starter Andrew Albers, who is still on the shelf. The sophomore, who is still recovering from arm problems, is still not set to join the rotation, yet.
Snipped: A Look Back
Saturday's hero, Craig Snipp threw so well in throwing a complete game against Lamar, the staff is contemplating what to do with him in the future. "I think they'd like to start him a lot more," Dean said, "but he's so valuable out of the bullpen as well. I think it's gonna have to be a week to week thing, to see where he fits best. Either one, he's going to continue to help tremendously."
Saturday's performance was even more impressive considering that Snipp hadn't even threw more than six innings, prior. "He was comfortable the whole way through," Dean said. "He threw 133 pitches the entire game. Coach Henderson makes the decision (to stay in the game), Craig got into some jams late and the bullpen was up and ready, but everytime he needed to, Snipp just kept making the pitch.
Snipp ended three of the last five innings with runners on.
Green Light to Steal
UK continues to run on the bathpaths with considerable success. This weekend, the UK baserunners were given the green light to steal by the staff if the runners felt they had an advantage with respective pitchers and catchers.
"They were caught a couple times," Dean said. "It's something to work on, but it depends on the situaton with the pitchers and catchers, and the times to second."
There is no doubt, Cohen has got plenty of speed on the bathpaths to work with.