Sawyer Carroll Named Midwest League All-Star Game MVP

June 24, 2009

CLINTON, Iowa -- Former Kentucky consensus first-team All-American outfielder Sawyer Carroll was named Midwest League All-Star game Star of Stars, after batting 4-for-4 with two steals and a run scored, in front of 2,561 fans Tuesday night at Alliant Energy Field.

Carroll, a native of Henryetta, Okla., and third-round pick in the 2008 MLB Draft, followed that performance Tuesday night with the news that he had been promoted to the San Diego Padres Lake Elsinore Storm of the high class-A California League.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound outfielder was perfect at the dish, doing 4-for-4 with two steals and a run scored. Carroll, UK’s first consensus first-team All-American in the 105-year history of the program, came into the game as one of the hottest hitters in the league, batting .424 (14-for-33) in his last 10 games, with 10 runs scored, five doubles, one triple, one homer, six RBI, 10 walks and four steals.

"I felt good the past few games coming in,” Carroll said following the game Tuesday. “I just wanted to carry it over, find some pitches to hit and I did that. It's just a lot of fun. I really don't have a whole lot of words for it right now.”

Carroll batted .316 (79-for-250) in 66 games for the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League, adding 20 doubles, one triple, five homers and 40 RBI, drawing 40 walks and stealing 14-of-19 bases. Carroll reached base at a .410 clip and slugged .464, totaling an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of .874. During June, Carroll has batted .353 (24-for-68) with seven doubles, three homers and nine RBI.

During his sparkling two-year UK career, Carroll exited the program as the all-time record holder in batting average, hitting .386 (173-for-448) in 117 games, adding 45 doubles, five triples, 22 homers and 139 RBI, posting a 83-58 walk-strikeout ratio and stealing 16-of-19 bases. Carroll’s .483 career on-base percentage checks in second-best in UK history, just behind Eddie Brooks (1992-94) .489 mark. During his historic 2008 season for UK, Carroll batted .419 (98-for-234) with 22 doubles, three triples, 19 homers and a school-record 83 RBI, stealing 12-of-12 bases and drawing 44 walks.

Neiko Johnson Hitting in the New York Collegiate Baseball League
After batting 3-for-4 for the second consecutive game Tuesday, Kentucky infielder Neiko Johnson extended his season batting average to a robust .397 (23-for-58) in 16 games this summer for the New York Collegiate Baseball League’s Watertown Wizards.

Johnson, a 5-foot-9, 160-pound sophomore middle infielder, leads the team with his .397 average, adding five doubles, one triple and two homers, drawing in 12 RBI and stealing 8-of-8 bases. Johnson has drawn a team-high 18 walks to just 10 strikeouts, reaching base at a .539 clip and slugging .621.

A native of Stone Mountain, Ga., Johnson has played in 27 games with nine starts during his two year career. Johnson has batted .220 (9-for-41) with 15 runs scored, two doubles and five RBI, stealing 3-of-3 bases. In 2009, Johnson started seven games and played in 13, hitting .250 (6-for-24) with seven runs, and three RBI. 

Northwoods League Update
Kentucky freshmen Andy Burns and Chad Wright are off to successful starts to their summer baseball seasons in the Northwoods League.

Burns, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound infielder, has hit .247 (21-for-85) for the Duluth Huskies with four doubles, one triple and six RBI, swiping seven bases. Burns, a 2008 High School Aflac All-American out of Fort Collins, Colo., hit  .287 (51-for-178) in 50 games for UK as a freshman in 2009. Burns added nine doubles, one triple and seven homers in 2009, driving in 33 RBI and stealing 3-of-3 bases. Last summer, Burns played for Duluth and was named the ninth-best prospect in the Northwoods League by Baseball America, as one of few 17 year old incoming freshmen to play in a collegiate summer league.

Wright, who had a dynamic freshman season as UK’s lead-off man and left-fielder in 2009, ranks second in the Northwoods League with 16 stolen bases, adding a .290 (27-for-93) average with seven doubles, one homer and eight RBI. Wright, a native of Paducah, Ky., had one of the more prolific freshmen campaigns in the history of the UK program, batting .343 (62-for-181) in 50 games, scoring 40 runs, charting eight doubles, one triple and four homers, driving in 23 RBI and stealing 10-of-12 bases. A defensive weapon in the outfield, Wright’s most memorable defensive play in 2009 came in the bottom of the ninth inning at No.  11 Florida when, on the final weekend of the year, he leaped over the left-field fence to rob UF slugger Preston Tucker of the game-tying grand slam and help UK secure the drama-filled win. Wright played in all 30 SEC games for UK in 2009, and in league games alone, batted .336 (37-for-110) with 25 runs, five doubles, two homers and 10 RBI, drawing 16 walks and stealing a team-best 7-of-9 bases.