LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky junior outfielder Lance Ray has signed a professional contract with the Minnesota Twins as an eighth-round selection in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft, it was announced.
A native of Las Vegas, Nev., Ray led UK in several offensive categories in 2010, including average (.356), slugging (.720) and on-base percentage (.458). Ray finished with 11 doubles, one triple, 10 homers and 34 RBI in 41 games and just 29 starts, drawing 20 walks and striking out 21 times.
Ray becomes the sixth UK player or signee to sign a professional contract, with junior infielder Chris Bisson signing with the San Diego Padres as the fourth-round pick, the highest drafted UK player in 2010. In addition, UK closer Matt Little (31st round) signed with the Detroit Tigers, signee Tyler Oliver signed with the Washington Nationals (35th round), and seniors Gunner Glad and Marcus Nidiffer each signed non-drafted free agent deals, with the Twins and the Houston Astros, respectively. A total of 14 current and former players and signees were drafted in the 2010 MLB Draft.
A transfer from junior college powerhouse Western Nevada College, Ray had offseason wrist surgery after a dynamic fall practice season. Ray struggled early in his UK career, going through a difficult stretch to open the season and owning a batting average of .182 entering a pinch-hit, ninth-inning at bat against Alabama on April 9. Ray delivered in that at bat with a two-out RBI single that gave UK a lead it would not relinquish in the series opener with the Southeastern Conference Tournament runner-up Crimson Tide. After that at bat, Ray’s bat was arguably the hottest in the conference,
After that pinch-hit RBI single, Ray was a fixture in the lineup, playing in 24 games with 22 starts in the final 26 UK games, batting .424 (36-for-85) with 24 runs, 10 doubles, one triple, nine homers and 30 RBI, drawing 16 walks and striking out just 14 times. A 6-foot-1, 200-pounder, Ray finished the season on a 21-game starting streak, batting .418 (33-for-79) with 22 runs scored, nine doubles, one triple, eight homers and 28 RBI, drawing 16 walks and striking out just 13 times over the streak. In SEC play alone (17 of 30 starts), Ray hit .371 (26-for-70) with six doubles, seven homers and 21 RBI.
In 2010, Ray had several highlights late in the season, including a 4-for-5 game at Indiana, coming a single shy of hitting for the cycle. In the game at IU, Ray scored four times, totaled five RBI, hit two homers, had a double and a triple, and drew two walks. Later in that week, Ray belted a walk-off home run against No. 20 LSU to give UK a series-opening win, a three-run homer off LSU All-American closer Matty Ott in the bottom of the ninth inning that gave UK the come-from-behind win. The round tripper was Ray’s second three-run jack of the game, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored in the contest.
UK BASEBALL POSTER VOTED BEST SPRING POSTER IN COLLEGE ATHLETICS
The Kentucky baseball 2010 poster has been voted as the best spring poster in college athletics by the College Sports Information Directors Association, it was announced.
The poster, designed and conceptualized by UK creative director Kim Troxall and assistant director of marketing Nathan Schwake, with assistance from UK assistant director of media relations Brent Ingram, was voted as the No. 1 spring poster in the NCAA.
Included on the poster was UK junior left-hander Logan Darnell
, All-America infielder Chris Bisson
, senior catcher Marcus Nidiffer
, senior infielder/outfielder Gunner Glad
and senior centerfielder Keenan Wiley
“We were very proud of the 2010 Kentucky baseball poster and are honored to have it ranked tops among all spring posters in the nation,” Troxall said. “One of the joys of working at Kentucky is you have the pleasure of working with one of the top photographers around in David Coyle and have all the resources you need to continue to produce some of the best publications in the nation.”
Last season, the 2009 Kentucky baseball media guide was voted as the best media guide in the district, and last year, the Kentucky media relations department finished third in the NCAA with 15 total CoSIDA publication awards. Troxall, considered one of the best graphic designers in collegiate athletics, was also honored recently as her 2009-10 UK women’s basketball media guide was rated as the best in the nation. 2009-10 CoSIDA Spring Posters
1. Kentucky Baseball – 100.61% (Kim Troxall, David Coyle, Brent Ingram)
2. Navy Men’s Lacrosse – 98.38% (Mark Leddy, Navy Sports Information, Navy Athletic Promotions)
3. Auburn Track and Field – 97.98% (Brad Gust, Tyler Trout)
4. Oklahoma Baseball – 97.98% (Scott Matthews, Kelsey Hargens)
5. Auburn Men’s Tennis – 96.57% (Kendra Lee, Tyler Trout)
6. Oklahoma Track and Field – 96.57% (Scott Matthews, Kelsey Hargens)
7. Auburn Women’s Tennis – 96.36% (Scott Kemps, Tyler Trout)
8. Kentucky Track and Field – 95.76% (Craig Hornberger, Jeremy Strachan, David Coyle)
9. West Virginia Baseball – 95.76% (West Virginia Sports Communications)
10. Auburn Baseball – 95.56% (Dan Froehlich, Tyler Trout)