Baseball Preview Series: Wildcats Boast Pitching Depth
Since Kentucky baseball coach Gary Henderson arrived in Lexington in 2004, the program has achieved a bevy of milestones.
Kentucky has reset the wins mark three times during Henderson’s tenure in Lexington, has soared to the program’s first No. 1 national ranking and boasted the unanimous national player of the year in AJ Reed.
One major milestone, making the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., remains a constant fixture in the daily progression of the program.
Entering 2016 as Baseball America’s 25th ranked team, Kentucky has its sights set on Omaha. Behind the return of its entire weekend starting pitching rotation – including Dustin Beggs and Kyle Cody who elected to turn down the MLB draft for their senior seasons – and junior ace Zack Brown, the Wildcats are poised for a big season.
While Kentucky returns a trio of weekend starting pitching, preseason All-America third baseman JaVon Shelby is set to anchor the offense, along with first baseman Evan White.
A 6-foot-2, 200-pounder, Shelby has shifted from second base to the hot corner for his junior season, after slugging nine homers and ranking third in the SEC in OPS in league games in 2015. Shelby is a preseason All-America selection by Louisville Slugger, Baseball America and D1baseball.com.
White, a freshman All-SEC standout out of Gahanna, Ohio, enters the season as the 29th best college prospect available for the 2017 MLB Draft.
Elsewhere positionally, UK returns middle infield starters Connor Heady and Riley Mahan, senior catcher Zach Arnold, and outfielders Marcus Carson and Storm Wilson. Mahan and Wilson are coming off all-star summers in their collegiate leagues, with Mahan shifting into the shortstop job during the fall practice season.
On the mound, senior relievers Zach Strecker and Bo Wilson have proven to be durable weapons from the right side, with lefties Logan Salow and Zach Logue poised for high-impact seasons in relief. During the summer, Salow pitched in the Cape Cod League and Logue was named the Perfect Game Collegiate League Pitcher of the Year.
The Wildcats open their 2016 season in Spartanburg, S.C., at Wofford on Feb. 19. After a weekend in South Carolina and in San Diego for the Tony Gwynn Invitational – honoring Henderson’s former teammate at San Diego State – the Wildcats will open their home schedule at Cliff Hagan Stadium with an 11-game homestand to lead up to Southeastern Conference play.
SEASON TICKETS ON SALE
Fans can begin purchasing new season tickets for the 2016 Kentucky baseball season and single-game tickets will go on sale in February.
For more information on UK baseball tickets, contact the Kentucky ticket office at (859) 257-1818 or visit UKathletics.com/tickets.
2015 Season Tickets:
$55 – Reserved Seating
$35 – General Admission