Kapteyn Listed Among NCAA's Potential Breakout Performers

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky baseball junior right-handed pitcher and infielder Braden Kapteyn – a member of the 2010 John Olerud Two-Way Player Award Watch List – has been tabbed as the potential breakout performer among college baseball utility players by Perfect Game USA.

A native of Lansing, Ill., Kapteyn was listed as the utility player in the draft-eligible class who is viewed as a breakout candidate in 2011. Perfect Game’s Patrick Ebert breaks down each position, also including Southeastern Conference talents, LSU second baseman Tyler Hanover, South Carolina shortstop Peter Mooney and Alabama southpaw Adam Morgan.

“On a team full of little sparkplugs, Kapteyn would really stand out,” Ebert said in the breakdown. “With a tall, sturdy and well proportioned build, he looks either like a workhorse or a middle-of-the-order slugger. He could be used as the team’s closer to replace Matt Little. On the mound, he easily throws in the low-90s with the ability to reach the mid-90s on occasion. A nasty slider is his bread-and-butter pitch, which is nearly unhittable when he’s throwing it as well as he can. At the plate, he has light-tower power, using his size, strength and bat speed to muscle balls out of the park.”

Kapteyn, a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder, is coming off a breakout summer as a reliever in the prestigious Cape Cod League, where he was named a CCL All-Star and played at Fenway Park. A 39th round draft pick in the 2008 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants, Kapteyn made 15 relief outings during the summer, posting a 3-1 record and a 0.64 ERA, with one save in 28.2 innings. Most impressively during the summer, Kapteyn allowed only nine hits in his 28.1 innings, walking just 11 and striking out 29. Over his first 7.1 innings on the mound during the summer, Kapteyn did not surrender a hit.

A member of the John Olerud Two-Way Player Award in 2010, an award given to the top two-way player in the nation, Kapteyn owns a 7-0 career record on the mound for UK with six saves. At the plate in his career, Kapteyn has made 75 starts and posted a .306 (90-for-294) average with 22 doubles, 10 homers and 55 RBI.

In 2010, Kapteyn batted .294 (45-for-153) with 11 doubles, six homers and 28 RBI, owning a .403 on-base percentage and stealing 2-of-3 bases. Kapteyn got off to a slow start at the plate in 2010, owning a 1-for-16 start entering UK’s trip to San Diego. After pelting a double off the top of the wall in the thick California night air at San Diego State, Kapteyn was out of the slump, and without that early slump on the year, would have batted .321 with 10 doubles, six homers and 27 RBI.

Kentucky opens up the 2011 season on Feb. 18, traveling to face No. 20 College of Charleston in Charleston, S.C.

Kentucky to play Western Kentucky at Bowling Green Ballpark on April 19
The Kentucky baseball game on April 19 in Bowling Green, Ky., against Western Kentucky has been moved to the minor league Bowling Green Ballpark, it was announced by the Bowling Green Hot Rods and Western Kentucky.

The game will be the second consecutive WKU home game in the home-and-home annual series with the Wildcats that will be played at the Bowling Green Ballpark. The BG Ballpark is home to the low class A Bowling Green Hot Rods, of the Tampa Bay Rays, and was built before the 2009 season.

“We are really appreciative of the opportunity to play at the Bowling Green Ballpark this year,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “The crowd was great and was the largest to ever see a college baseball game in our state. College baseball in the state has grown exponentially since that 2006 season and these type of non-conference rivalry games are important to the growth of our sport. We appreciate Coach Chris Finwood, the WKU athletics department and the Bowling Green Hot Rods for welcoming us in 2011.”

In the 2010 meeting at the BG Ballpark, a boisterous crowd of 6,183 fans filled the stands for the first college game at the facility. The crowd was the largest to ever see a college baseball game in the state of Kentucky.

“We are really excited about the opportunity to play at the Bowling Green Ballpark again this year and would like to thank Brad Taylor and the Hot Rods organization for their partnership in promoting baseball in the Bowling Green area," WKU coach Chris Finwood said. “The atmosphere (in last year’s UK game) rivaled anything I've ever experienced during my years in the SEC. I don't think anyone who was there will ever forget that night; I know I won't. We are excited to be playing our two big in-state rivals Kentucky and Louisville downtown and hope to have the great support again for our ballclub.”

Tickets for the April 5 game against Louisville and April 19 game vs. Kentucky at Bowling Green Ballpark can be purchased now by calling the WKU Ticket Office at (270) 745-5222 and will be available online at wkusports.com starting February 8. Gates will open at 4:00 PM, and first pitch is scheduled for 6:00 PM. The game at Bowling Green Ballpark is included in WKU's baseball season ticket package. Information on season tickets can be found below.

Baseball Season Tickets on Sale
Season tickets for the 2011 Kentucky baseball season on now available for purchase.

Since UK won the 2006 SEC Championship in historic fashion, the UK baseball program has seen its fans support and attendance at Cliff Hagan Stadium soar to unprecedented heights. Annually, UK has ranked among the top 30 in the NCAA in attendance and has recently broken single game, series and season attendance records.

Fans can purchase season tickets or single-game tickets by calling the UK Ticket Office at (800) 928-2287 or online at UKathletics.com.

            2011 Season Tickets:
            $55 - Reserved Seating
            $35 - General Admission

            2011 Single Game Tickets:
            $5 - General Admission - Adults (18+)
            $2 - General Admission - Youth / Seniors (65+)
            **Children ages 5 & under are admitted free