Cousino, Henderson Highlight 2012 SEC Awards

May 29, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky baseball centerfielder Austin Cousino has been named the freshman of the year and Gary Henderson has been named the coach of the year to highlight a bevy of UK honorees in the 2012 Southeastern Conference postseason awards, it was announced by the league office on Tuesday morning.

Cousino was named the SEC Freshman of the Year, a second-team All-SEC outfielder, a member of the All-SEC Freshman team and a member of the SEC All-Defensive team. Henderson, in his fourth season at the helm of UK and after directing the Wildcats to a historic 2012 season, became UK’s first coach named SEC Coach of the Year since 2006.

Corey Littrell and Luke Maile were each named second-team All-SEC, with Littrell tabbed as a starting pitcher and Maile as a catcher. Freshman A.J. Reed was twice honored on the All-SEC Freshman team, as the first baseman and as the designated hitter/utility player.

A native of Dublin, Ohio, Cousino has re-written the UK freshman record book in 2012, setting new marks in hits and runs scored. One of the top performers in college baseball, Cousino was named to the 22-man USA Collegiate National Team to become the third UK player in program history named to the USA roster. A first-team high school All-America out of Dublin Coffman, Cousino leads UK in nearly every offensive category, including average (.318), at bats (239), runs (56), hits (76), doubles (19) and steals (13), adding nine homers and 38 RBI. In his first 30 career SEC games, Cousino hit a team-high .302 with 10 doubles, six homers and 17 RBI, stealing six of seven bases.

Henderson guided UK to the best regular season in program history and the best finish in the SEC Tournament in the modern-era history of the field (1998-present). He led the Wildcats to a conference lead in eight of 10 weekends, with UK finishing one game out of the SEC standings, owning a No. 1 national ranking for the first time in program history and posted a staggering 10-5 record against top-10 foes. While guiding a well-rounded club that owns a 15-6 record in one-run games, Henderson has directed the UK pitching staff to a school record 20 saves, with UK on set to set a new school mark for fielding percentage.

A native of Louisville, Ky., and the 2010 Louisville Slugger Kentucky High School Player of the Year out of Trinty High School, Littrell gives UK its second consecutive All-SEC starting pitcher, as first-round pick Alex Meyer earned the accolade in 2011. Littrell, a semifinalist for the College Baseball Hall of Fame NCAA Pitcher of the Year Award, has an 8-2 record and a 2.66 ERA in 15 starts. The 6-foot-3 southpaw has tossed 91.1 innings, striking out 80. In SEC games, Littrell went 6-1 with a 2.93 ERA, striking out 46 in 61.1 frames.

Maile, the 2009 Kentucky High School Mr. Baseball out of Covington Catholic High School, is the first UK catcher to earn All-SEC honors since Sean Coughlin in 2007. A semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, both given to the top player in collegiate baseball, Maile has hit .313 with 13 doubles, 12 homers and 49 RBI, stealing nine bases. The 6-foot-3 catcher owns a school-record 10 game-winning RBI in 2012, including a walk-off homer against No. 2 South Carolina to open league action. In SEC play, Maile hit .296 with six doubles, four homers and 19 RBI, stealing three bases. Opponents were thrown out a staggering eight times in 11 attempts when trying to steal off Maile in SEC play.

Reed and Cousino became UK’s first All-SEC freshman team honorees since Ryan Wilkes in 2006. A native of Terre Haute, Ind., and the 2011 Indiana State Player of the Year, Reed has been a star two-way player for the Wildcats. A finalist the 2012 John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, Reed has batted .314 with nine doubles, four homers and 42 RBI at the plate and charted a 5-2 record and a 2.62 ERA on the mound. In 15 games and five starts on the bump, Reed has tossed 44.2 innings, walking only seven and striking out 43. Reed is coming off a breakout week at the SEC Tournament, including his first career start on the mound vs. an SEC opponent, tossing 5.2 shutout innings in a win over Ole Miss and going a career-high 4-for-4 with a homer. In his 29 career games vs. the SEC, Reed hit .324 with three doubles, two homers and 15 RBI.

Kentucky (43-16) opens NCAA Tournament play on Friday at 4 p.m. ET, traveling to the Gary, Ind., Regional at US Steel Yard. Second-seeded UK will face No. 3 seed Kent State in the opener, with top seeded Purdue facing off with No. 4 seed Valparaiso.

2012 SEC Awards

  • SEC PITCHER OF THE YEAR - Chris Stratton, Mississippi State
  • SEC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR - Austin Cousino, Kentucky
  • SEC COACH OF THE YEAR - Gary Henderson, Kentucky
  • SEC SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - Michael Roth, South Carolina

First Team

  • 1B - Christian Walker, South Carolina
  • 2B - Alex Yarbrough, Ole Miss
  • 3B - Matt Reynolds, Arkansas
  • SS - Anthony Gomez, Vanderbilt
  • C - Mike Zunino, Florida
  • OF - Raph Rhymes, LSU
  • OF - Preston Tucker, Florida
  • OF - Taylor Dugas, Alabama
  • DH/UTL - Brian Johnson, Florida
  • P - Chris Stratton, Mississippi State
  • P - Kevin Gausman, LSU
  • RP - Steven Rodriguez, Florida

Second Team

  • 1B - Matt Snyder, Ole Miss
  • 2B - Bo Bigham, Arkansas
  • 3B - Curt Powell, Georgia
  • SS - Nolan Fontana, Florida
  • C - Luke Maile, Kentucky
  • OF - Austin Cousino, Kentucky
  • OF - Ryan Tella, Auburn
  • OF - Mason Katz, LSU
  • DH - Drew Steckenrider, Tennessee
  • P - Alex Wood, Georgia
  • P - Corey Littrell, Kentucky
  • P - Bobby Wahl, Ole Miss
  • RP - Matt Price, South Carolina

All-Freshman Team

  • 1B - A.J. Reed, Kentucky
  • 2B - Will Maddox, Tennessee
  • 3B - Josh Tobias, Florida
  • SS - Joey Pancake, South Carolina
  • C - Grayson Greiner, South Carolina
  • OF - Austin Cousino, Kentucky
  • OF - Tanner English, South Carolina
  • OF - Hunter Cole, Georgia
  • OF - Ben Moore, Alabama
  • DH/UTL - A.J. Reed, Kentucky
  • P - Aaron Nola, LSU
  • P - Tyler Beede, Vanderbilt
  • RP - Jonathan Holder, Mississippi State

All-Defensive Team

  • P - Ryan Eades, LSU
  • P - Kendall Graveman, Mississippi State
  • P - Michael Roth, South Carolina
  • 1B -Dominic Ficociello, Arkansas
  • 2B - Alex Yarbrough, Ole Miss
  • SS - Nolan Fontana, Florida
  • 3B - Matt Reynolds, Arkansas
  • C - Mike Zunino, Florida
  • OF - Evan Marzilli, South Carolina
  • OF - Taylor Dugas, Alabama
  • OF - Austin Cousino, Kentucky