Coughlin, Strieby are UK's Quick Fix

When UK Baseball coach John Cohen officially landed his two super star junior college additions in Sean Coughlin and Ryan Strieby, he knew it was only a matter of time before their impact would be felt.

And to date, neither have disappointed.

Junior college additions Sean Couglin and Ryan Strieby continued their torrid paces by leading the Wildcats in UK's sweep of Northwestern in Lexington over the weekend.

Couglin, who is a rare switch hitting catcher, has really hit his peak since becoming a Wildcat. After batting .338 with 5 home runs and 37 RBI's as a sophomore at Central Arizona College last season, Couglin decided to forgo an opportunity to play pro ball and decided on Lexington.

On Saturday, Coughlin hit two home runs and drove in three to give him a team-high five home runs on the season. He became the first Wildcat to hit more than one home run in a game since John Shelby did it against Arkansas last season and also scored a career-high four runs, adding another two on Sunday.

Coughlin, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 32nd round in 2003, felt he needed to 'clean up' some parts of his game. Under Cohen, he's cleaned up offensively, currently leading the team in 'dingers'.

The benefits for the 6-foot-1, 215 pound catcher extend further than the plate, as he's continued to improve defensively, as well. The newcomer has been able to learn from senior Justin Scutchfield, arguably one of the best defensive catchers in the Southeast.

"I think we've got one of the best pair of catchers in the SEC," Cohen said. "Sean is one of the best offensive catchers around, and Scutchfield is one of the better defensive catchers. Together they complement each other, very well."

Strieby, whom is the more highly recruited of the two, followed Coughlin's Saturday lead, going 4-for-5 with a grand slam and two doubles on Sunday in a 10-3 victory that completed the sweep of the visiting Wildcats. The 6-foot-7, 245 pound first baseman had a double and also added 10 put-outs defensively at first base.

Coughlin and Strieby's production has accounted for the majority of the Wildcats offense to date.

Strieby, who was drafted in the 29th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004, came to Kentucky from Edmonds Community College in Brier, Wash. He chose UK over a number of baseball powers, including Oklahoma State. Last year, he hit a rediculous .450, with 7 home runs.

"The stuff Coach Cohen teaches you is a different philosophy than most of us our used too," Strieby said on Cohen. "But he really helps you become a more complete and mature hitter."

Making up UK's heart of the lineup at the number 3 and number 4 spot, UK's two newest additions are going to have to be an integral part of the process in order for UK to accomplish its goals this year.

"We're looking to get to an NCAA regional," Strieby said. "Our group came here to do that. It doesn't happen too often at a school like Kentucky, so it's a big deal."

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