Albers gets the save
Lost in the celebration that followed UK's exciting finish against South Carolina on Sunday was the fact that sophomore Andrew Albers recorded the final three outs for Kentucky and was awarded a save.
"It was huge for his confidence," catcher Sean Coughlin said following the win. "I think he was a little bit down after what happened last Friday night, but he battled back. He threw some great pitches and I was really glad to see him have the success he did in the ninth."
Recovering from arm trouble, the Wildcats had hoped to have a fully recovered Albers by mid-season, but have found his return to have mix results.
Albers was generally attributed to UK's collapse against Arkansas last Friday, where Kentucky held a 9-4 lead heading into the ninth inning before giving up 6 runs in the final frame. Albers, who was called upon after Brock Baber struggled and loaded the bases, could not throw a strike and was subsequently pulled in Kentucky's loss to the 'Hawgs after walking two straight batters on 9 pitches.
Sunday's contest looked nothing like a week ago, as Albers recorded the final three outs and finished with a game ending strike out to officially send the Gamecocks back to Columbia.
Worth The 'Price' of Admission
You never wanna look ahead after a weekend series like the one the Wildcats experienced in Lexington, but it's hard not to get excited about Friday's probable matchup against Vanderbilt.
David Price, arguably the nation's top pitching prospect, is the scheduled starter for Friday's contest. A sophomore, the lefty is 5-2 with a 2.34 ERA heading into this past weekend's series with Alabama, where he was shelled.
Still, Price is worth the 'price' of admission as he's considered with great majority as the best pitcher in the Southeastern Conference.
"He's a good friend of mine," shortstop Ryan Wilkes said of Price. "But he can be beaten and he has been beaten before. It will be good to be able to see him and to have both of our teams playing for first place."
Dominating Top 25 Opponents
With Sunday's victory over #7 South Carolina, the Kentucky Wildcats are now 10-5 on the year against ranked opponents, and even more impressively 7-2 against teams ranked in the top 10. They also hold a sparkling 2-0 series record against the top 10, as well.
Welcome Back, John Shelby
Pre-season All-American candidate John Shelby couldn't have picked a better weekend to find his bat. The junior from Lexington (Ky.), who had been struggling to date, blasted a pair of home runs and three doubles to drive in six, while batting .462 and slugging 1.154 in the series sweep of Eastern Division rival South Carolina.
Arguably his shining moment of the year to date was Friday, when Shelby smacked a walk-off game winning home run in the bottom of the 11th against Wynn Pelzer, who had previously not allowed a run in SEC play in 19 innings. The win over South Carolina was UK's first over the traditional powerhouse, this decade.
Shelby followed up Friday's heroics with an RBI double in Saturday's come-from-behind win and a two-run home run and RBI double on Sunday. For the week, he doubled, had at least one run, one hit and one RBI in all contests, all the while extending his hitting streak to six games.
Rusin to the Rescue
Freshmen Chris Rusin was the pitcher of the week and for good reason. The freshmen from Michigan, pitched in three of Kentucky's four wins during the week, allowing just three hits on 5 2/3 innings of relief. He helped save Kentucky from a disasterous collapse Friday, working 3 1/3 innings in the game -when the game was tied at 9-9 - retiring all 10 men he faced against a USC team that leads the conference in batting.
After throwing 40 pitches Friday, Rusin entered the game on Sunday in the sixth inning of a one-run game with USC base runners on the corners and retired the clean-up man in the order to end the threat. For the weekend, Rusin faced 11 Gamecock batters, retiring all 11 over the weekend.
* - Team News & Notes compiled by UKAA