LEXINGTON, Ky. -- For the fourth consecutive year, the Kentucky baseball team has been ranked in the top-35 in the NCAA in average attendance, checking in No. 34 for the 2009 season, totaling an average of 1,850 fans per game, it was announced.
Kentucky has now ranked in the top-35 for four consecutive years, dating back to UK's 2006 Southeastern Conference Championship campaign that announced UK as an annual national contender in college baseball. UK ranked No. 35 in 2006, No. 28 in 2007 and a school-record No. 25 following UK's school-best 44-win season in 2008.
In 2003-2005, Kentucky ranked at the bottom of the SEC cellar in attendance, averaging 329 fans per game in 2003, 387 fans per game in 2004, and 383 fans in 2005. UK's 2006 season saw a jump in attendance from last place in the league to 11th place, averaging 1,512 fans per game during its unprecedented worst-to-first run. During the 2007 season, UK averaged 2,060 fans per game and during the 2008 season, UK totaled 2,134 fans per game, setting a new school mark.
The SEC again flexed its status as the top conference in college baseball, with the conference owning the top five spots in the NCAA in attendance, with defending College World Series Champion LSU leading the nation with 9,611 fans per game. Arkansas (7,906), Ole Miss (7,003), South Carolina (6,805) and Mississippi State (6,301) rounded out the top five. All 12 SEC teams are ranked in the top 41, with Tennessee ranking last among SEC teams and No. 41 nationally.
Kentucky opens its 2010 season for the second consecutive season at the Caravelle Resort Invitational, hosted on the campus of Coastal Carolina. UK will open on Feb. 19 in Myrtle Beach, S.C., against Virginia Tech at noon ET, before facing West Virginia Feb. 20 and Coastal Feb. 21. UK opens its home schedule with in-state foe Murray State Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. ET at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
BISSON, PAXTON NAMED TO ALL-CANADIAN TEAM
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky junior second baseman Chris Bisson and senior left-handed pitcher James Paxton have been selected to the Canadian Baseball Network All-Canadian Team, it was announced.
The two UK standouts were named to the listing of the top native Canadian baseball players competing in the United States, a total of 711 players. Paxton, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound southpaw was tabbed as the top pitcher, earning first-team honors, while Bisson was named to the second team.
Bisson, a 2009 All-Southeastern Conference selection at second base for UK, enters the year as one of the top infielders in the nation, a year removed from leading UK in nearly every offensive category. The Orleans, Ontario, native, led UK in average (.360), runs (49), hits (80), triples (three), RBI (52) and walks (20). After his breakout collegiate campaign, Bisson continued to impress in the prestigious Cape Cod League, pacing the league with 36 steals in 42 games, and hitting for a .269 average. Following the year the coaches selected Bisson second-team All-SEC and SEbaseball.com tabbed him first-team.
Paxton, a native of Ladner, British Columbia, was a supplemental first-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2009 MLB Draft, marking the first, first-round UK draft pick since World Series Champion Joe Blanton was selected in the first round by the Oakland Athletics in 2002. In 2009, Paxton ranked third in the NCAA in strikeouts per nine innings, fanning 13.22 hitters per nine innings pitched. Overall, the lefty totaled a 5-3 record and a 5.86 ERA, hurling 78.1 innings with 115 strikeouts and just 20 walks.