Wildcat baseball update: Part 3 of 3

The Kentucky Wildcat baseball program won the SEC regular season championship in 2006, and has landed top five recruiting classes in recent years. The 2010 season holds much promise for the Wildcats. But here's a look back--and forward--at some of the recent Cats who have helped the Wildcats earn success at UK. This is the third of a three-part series on Wildcats in the professional leagues.

Tyler Howe

Playing in the New York Mets organization, catcher Tyler Howe played in 22 games in the Rookie league for the Kingsport Mets. Howe hit .245 with four doubles, one roundtripper and eight RBI on the year. The native of Clinton, Iowa, had an impressive on-base percentage of .519 and hit well with the bases empty, gathering a .333 mark. Howe also pitched 4.1 innings of scoreless baseball for the Mets this season, only allowing one hit over the four innings worked.

Zach Dials
Starting the season in Advanced-A with the Dunedin Blue Jays, former UK star Zach Dials ended the season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats. At New Hampshire, Dials went 1-5 with a 3.14 ERA in 24 games. The native of Wabash, Ind., allowed 24 hits, 13 runs, 10 earned, one homer and 20 walks in 28.2 innings of work. Dials struck out 18 for the Fisher Cats and recorded one save. Combined this season, Dials went 1-6 with a 2.76 ERA allowing 18 runs, 15 earned and one homer in 49 innings of work. Dials, a right-hander, was awesome versus left-handed batters, posting a 1.86 ERA and only two earned runs in 9.2 innings of work. He also struck out nine lefties on the year.

Chris Rusin
After being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the fourth round of the 2009 June draft, left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin moved quickly out of rookie ball and into the class-A shortened season this past season. In two games in the rookie league, including playing with several 16-year old prospects behind him defensively, Rusin hurled five innings allowing just one hit and no runs, giving him an immediate promotion to the Class-A team. With the Class-A Boise Hawks, Rusin went 0-4 in eight starts. The native of Canton, Mich., allowed 14 runs, 12 earned and one homer while walking nine. He ended the season with a 3.48 ERA and 27 strikeouts. Combined, Rusin finished the season with a 3.00 ERA in 10 games. Rusin was dominate against left-handed batters with a 0.00 ERA allowing only six hits and no runs in 4.2 innings against lefties. Expect Rusin to move quickly through the Cubs system in 2010.

Chris Wade
Drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 11th round of the 2009 MLB Draft, former Kentucky shortstop Chris Wade played in 47 games with the Class-A short season Jamestown Jammers this season after a successful stent in the rookie leagues. In Class-A, Wade posted a .277 batting average with an on-base percentage of .356. The native of Lexington, Ky., hit six doubles, three triples and drove in 18 RBI for the Jammers. Wade played one game in the rookie league, gathering a double and a walk. The middle infielder and former freshman All-American stole five bases on the year and 24 runs scored.

Clint Tilford
Pitching in 12 games in his first year in the Colorado Rockies organization, Kentucky product Clint Tilford posted a 7.15 ERA only allowing three homers and 27 strikeouts. The native of West Paducah, Ky., played for two teams during the season, the rookie league Casper Ghosts and the Class-A short season Tri-City Dust Devils. Tilford pitched in one game with Tri-City and 11 with the Ghosts. With the Ghosts, the hard throwing righty posted a 6.94 ERA giving up 32 runs, 27 earned in 35 innings pitched.

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