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Web Wednesday: Baseball here to stay edition

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Each Wednesday here at Cat Scratches, we're going to take a look back at the latest week's news in UK Athletics from around the web.

Best on the Net

Baseball - Bat Cats prove they're for real (Lexington Herald-Leader, John Clay)

Right now, Kentucky is the best team in that conference. The standings say so. Both the Cats and Tigers entered the weekend leading their respective divisions, yet tied for the overall lead at 11-4. Kentucky exited 13-5; LSU 12-6.

Remember, this is a UK baseball team that was 25-30 overall last year and 8-22 in the SEC. It had gone three straight years with a losing conference record.

Baseball - Midseason Update: The Awards Ballot (BaseballAmerica.com, Aaron Fitt)

Our projected field of 64 at the midway point features a trio of surprising No. 2 seeds in New Mexico State, Auburn and Oregon--none of whom projected as regional teams heading into the season. Kentucky was included in our preseason NCAA tournament projection, but the Wildcats have jumped from the last SEC team in our preseason field to a national seed in our midseason field. No one could have expected the Wildcats to sweep their SEC-opening series against defending champion South Carolina and win their first 22 games en route to a 27-2 start, which also includes back-to-back road series wins at Tennessee and Georgia.


After belting two homers and hitting .462 during a four-game week, Kentucky junior catcher Luke Maile has been named Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Week, it was announced on Monday afternoon by the league office.

A native of Crestview Hills, Ky., Maile won his second SEC Player of the Week of the year after helping lead UK to its first series win over a No. 1 ranked team in program history last weekend as the Wildcats bested LSU.

Baseball - Bat Cats back at No. 1 in Collegiate Baseball poll (Lexington Herald-Leader)

A 2-1 series victory against LSU this past weekend pushed Kentucky's baseball team back to No. 1 in the Collegiate Baseball poll. The Cats were also ranked No. 2 by Baseball America and No. 3 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll.

The Southeastern Conference-leading Wildcats, who were ranked No. 1 by Collegiate Baseball earlier this season, are fourth in the NCAA RPI, and have a 10-5 record against top-25 foes.

Men's basketball - Reds honor Calipari, UK for NCAA title win (Dayton Daily News, Jay Morrison)

The trip to GABP was one of many stops Calipari has made in the three weeks since UK beat Kansas 67-59 in the national championship game April 2.

"My wife asked why I keep doing all of these appearances, and I said, 'You know what? What keeps you going is you're making people feel good,' " Calipari said. "Yeah, it takes a lot of your time and it takes a lot of effort, but you just think about putting a smile on someone's face, someone who has never met the coach of Kentucky and they've lived there their entire life."


But his visit was upstaged when Clinton, who was in town to give a speech to area students at Rupp Arena, popped in on the Cats and took pictures with UK players and coaching staff -- and the trophies collected as NCAA champions.

Coach John Calipari wrote about Clinton's visit on his website, coachcal.com, saying the former president told the team: "Problems in the world and problems in the United States can only be solved by teamwork. That's it. This team has taught us the lesson that the higher the mountain, the more the team must be connected."

Football - Marcus Caffey's quick feet a defensive asset (Lexington Herald-Leader, Jennifer Smith)

Caffey found himself sliding down the depth chart at running back last season. So as soon as last season ended, Joker Phillips was in the freshman's ear discussing a position transition.

How did the Cats coaches convince Caffey?

"The NFL always needs defensive backs, and coach reminded me we can put more (defensive backs) on the field than running backs," Caffey said on Saturday after the Blue-White game.

Football - Kentucky makes some plays, finds some play makers in Blue-White Game (Lexington Herald-Leader, Jennifer Smith)

Some of the more impressive plays in the spring game came from wide receiver Demarco Robinson, who caught two Maxwell Smith passes for touchdowns of 69 and 21 yards.

He finished the day with nine catches for 146 yards.

"His acceleration is ridiculous," Smith said of his favorite target of the day. "You get the ball in his hands and he can take off and just lose the guy in no time. Demarco has really good feet, he's like a ballet dancer."

Softball - UK softball pitching, defense lead Cats to 3-1 win (KyKernel.com, Tyler Spanyer)

UK senior right-hander Rachel Riley participated in her 16th start of the season, going the distance and allowing only three hits while striking out seven.

"She was great for us today, in a game like this where both teams bring their A-game you have to have a player to keep everyone calm," UKā€ˆhead coach Rachel Lawson said, "and that's what Rachel did today."

Former Wildcats making headlines


The 9-year-old Dorchester boy who was taken by surprise when bullets flew into his home last week and pierced a Boston Celtics jersey he was wearing got a very special surprise Tuesday night.

Preston Jackson met with Celtics guard Rajon Rondo before the team's game with the Miami Heat.


But most of all, Knight wants to become a leader.

"It is a matter of earning your stripes and earning respect from other guys and doing what is best for the team," Knight said. "That is something that is earned over time and I definitely will embrace it and be more vocal.

"You've got to approach it the right way. As long as they know it is coming from the right place and as long as they know it is best for the team and you guys have good relationships. You have to be bold and be able to do it out of respect being basketball players rather than one guy being above the other."

News from UKAthletics.com








Volleyball - Volleyball Concludes Successful Spring Against Sweet 16 Opponents

Video of the week - 3 goggles with Kyle Wiltjer from the CATSPYs




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