UK soul searching after Saturday's losses

Their 12-2 and 11-5 losses on Saturday left the UK baseball team disappointed. But it was the way they played that left the players doing some soul searching in the locker room.

"Today was probably the worst we've played since I was a freshman here," said junior center fielder Antone DeJesus.

The Cats committed six errors, five in game one alone, and was allowed 23 total runs to a Tennessee team that entered this weekend's series with just a 1-5 record on the road this season. And UK's offense, which leads the SEC in 10 different offensive categories, was held in check Volunteer starters James Adkins and Craig Cobb, who were both able to pitch all the way to the ninth-inning.

"Obviously it wasn't our best day," said junior first baseman Sawyer Carroll. "It's pretty rough. It's kind of hard to really accept what happened. We know we are a hundred times better than that, and that is about as bad as we can possibly play."

Tennessee seemed to feed off of every miscue the Cats made, and they made a lot of them. Carroll committed three errors alone on the afternoon.

"Baseball is a lot about confidence and momentum and stuff like that," Carroll said. "We have to get better at making routine plays, myself especially. We are just giving up way too many outs. These teams are just to good to give them six outs an inning, they are going to put up runs."

The first two games of this weekend's series were ugly, but they were not the first sign of trouble for the defending SEC champions. Carroll said the team hasn't played to its full potential for a few weeks now.

Saturday left UK just 4-6-1 in SEC play and convinced the team to hold a players-only meeting after the game to get to the heart of the problem before Sunday's series finale against Tennessee.

"There were just things we needed to hash out," Carroll said. "A lot of people just needed to get some things off their chests and a lot of issues had to be addressed."

According to Carroll, the meeting was very productive.

"I think it should happen at least once a year. We are midway through the season and some people had to say some things and some issues had to be brought up and I think we are a lot better for it."

DeJesus said that early series losses to Arkansas, Mississippi State and now Tennessee have wounded the team's confidence.

"Our guys today, we kind of lost track of how we had been playing in the past and how we had been feeling from a confidence standpoint," DeJesus said. "We really talked about it and we are trying to instill that back into us. We need to play with that attitude that we are the best."

"We know that we are one of the best teams in the country. Today we didn't show it, and tomorrow we just need to go out and prove what we can do."

And that all starts with confidence.

"During our 19-game winning streak, that was one of the things we talked about," DeJesus said. "Every day we would come to the park with the attitude that we were better than the team we were playing. And that's something that I have always thought too. Even through the SEC season we haven't played a team that - I think we've been better than every team we've played."

They way UK is playing now, they are not better than the teams they are playing. But they have the potential to be. Which is why the series finale against the Volunteers could be the most pivotal game of the 2007 season.

The Cats are convinced that they are a hundred times better than what they showed on Saturday. On Sunday, they set out to convince the rest of us.


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