Final Season Notes from the Winningest Year in UK Baseball History
Trevor Gott saved a record nine games, helping UK to the most strikeouts in single-season history.
June 25, 2012
2012 Kentucky Baseball Final Season Notes (45-18, 18-12 SEC - T-3rd place finish in SEC)
Kentucky's 2012 season was the best in the 107-year history of the program, winning a single-season school-record 45 games, eclipsing the previous record of 44 wins in 2006 and 2008.
UK played a school-record equaling 63 total games (1988, 2008).
UK made its 14th all-time SEC Tournament appearance, going 2-1 to advance to the semifinals for UK's best SEC Tournament finish in the modern era of the tournament (1996-present).
Two SEC Tourney wins is the second-most in UK history (1993, 3-1; 1995, 3-1).
Kentucky made its seventh all-time NCAA Tournament appearance, going 2-2 to finish second in the NCAA Gary Regional, hosted by Purdue.
UK eliminated its second consecutive Big Ten regional host in NCAA Tournament play, also besting 2008 host Michigan.
A regional runner-up finish is the best NCAA Tournament appearance for UK, equaling the 1988, 2006 and 2008 teams.
With 45 wins, UK had its fourth 40-or-more win season in program history and its third since 2006. UK won 41 games in 1991, and 44 games in 2006 and 2008.
UK had a school-record nine players drafted (and five signees) in the 2012 MLB Draft, eclipsing the previous record of seven in 2008.
Since 2006, UK has averaged a staggering 7.29 MLB Draft picks per year after averaging 2.17 MLB Draft picks per season before the 2006 campaign.
Since 2006, UK has had a total of 51 players drafted or sign free agent contracts.
UK's 18 total SEC wins marks the second-most conference season in program history, just behind the 20-10 record posted during the 2006 SEC Championship season.
UK finished its season ranked No. 11 in the final regular-season Baseball America poll, checking in with the No. 14 NCAA RPI.
UK soared to its highest ranking in program history, ranking No. 1 in the Collegiate Baseball poll for three weeks of the season, including two consecutive. Overall, UK was ranked in the top 10 for seven consecutive weeks and in the top five for a total of five weeks. UK also earned its highest ever ranking in Baseball America, No. 4.
UK led the SEC a school-record eight of 10 weeks and won a total of seven of its 10 SEC weekend series, a program best.
After a series sweep over Alabama, UK became the first team to reach 40 wins in the NCAA.
UK finished with the second-most road wins in the SEC and a 9-6 record against the SEC East, the top division in the best conference in college baseball.
UK finished with an 8-4 record vs. the NCAA's top-10 RPI.
UK posted a 15-10 record against the top-25, the second-most wins against top-25 teams in the modern era of UK baseball, behind a 19-10 mark against top-25 teams in 2006.
UK set a new school-record with a 10-4 record against top-10 teams in 2012, a staggering total compared with a 3-3 record in 2008 and a 5-2 record in 2006 against top-10 foes.
UK set a new school-record with an 18-10 record in one or two-run games and 15-8 in one run games. By comparison, UK was: 9-5 in one run games in 2006, 13-9 in one or two runs games in 2006; 10-6 in one run games in 2008, 14-13 in one or two-run games in 2008; 7-7 in one-run games, 10-14 in one or two-run games in 2010.
A 22-game winning streak to open the 2012 season marked the longest winning streak in UK history, the best start to a season in program annals and the second-longest winning stretch in the storied history of the SEC.
UK won its first ever series over a No. 1 ranked-team, taking two of three games from top-ranked LSU at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
UK posted a new school-record 29-5 record in its 2012 home schedule.
A total of 22 saves set a new UK team record, shattering the previous school-record of 17 set in 1993.
UK finished with the second-best team ERA in program history, 3.41, just shy of the school record set in 1983, 3.37.
UK threw a school-record 570 innings in 2012, breaking the previous record of 563 innings in 2008.
The Wildcats tied a school-record with 502 total strikeouts in 2012, equaling the 502 strikeouts from the 1995 team which was headlined by MLB closer Scott Downs.
UK's pitching staff limited opponents to a .260 average, equaling the school-record, also set in 1984 when opponents batted for a .260 clip in 361.1 innings.
The UK pitching staff allowed only 27 home runs in 2012, the second fewest homers allowed in program history, just behind the 20 homers surrendered in 1989.
UK set a new school-record with a .976 fielding percentage, breaking the previous record of .974 set in 2008. It marked just UK's second all-time .970-or-better fielding season. UK also broke the record for the most putouts (1710) and the fewest errors (59), with its error total breaking the record set with 60 errors in 1980.
UK hit a total of 40 homers at Cliff Hagan Stadium, allowing only 19 homers. Opponents slugged just .368 at Cliff Hagan.
UK went a school-record 37-6 in day games in 2012, including a 14-4 mark in SEC day games.
While wearing its black jersey and white pants combination, UK went 14-1, with its only loss coming in the NCAA Regional Championship game with Kent State.
UK set a new school-record with 2,177 total team at bats, breaking the 2008 record of 2,157.
UK's bullpen owned a 32-1 record when leading after four innings and a 40-0 record when leading after seven frames. Overall, UK's pen owned a 17-6 record, a 2.97 ERA, with 22 saves and a .235 opponent average.
UK's bullpen inherited 155 runners in 2012, allowing 52 to score, a total of 34 percent. The inherited runner scored percentage is the second-best in program history, just behind 2008 (33-percent; 138/46).
UK played the longest game in SEC history and the second-longest game in the history of the NCAA Tournament, a 21-inning marathon to open the NCAA Gary Regional against Kent State.
Head CoachGary Henderson(SEC Coach of the Year, SEbaseball.com SEC Coach of the Year). Henderson is the second coach in UK history to earn SEC Coach of the Year honors, joining John Cohen in 2006, a staff Henderson served as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for.
C Luke Maile (second-team All-SEC, USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award semifinalist, NCBWA Dick Howser Award semifinalist, Sports Illustrated "Faces in the Crowd" 3/28/12)
LHP Corey Littrell (second-team All-SEC, College Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher of the Year Award semifinalist)
RHP Trevor Gott (USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Watch List, NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award Watch List)
CF Austin Cousino (SEC Freshman of the Year; second-team All-SEC OF, All-SEC Defensive Team, All-SEC Freshman team, Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America, NCBWA second-team freshman All-America, USA Collegiate National Team, SEbaseball.com SEC Freshman of the Year, NCAA Gary Regional All-Tournament Team)
LHP/1B A.J. Reed (All-SEC Freshman team DH and 1B, Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America, NCBWA first-team freshman All-America, College Baseball Hall of Fame John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award semifinalist, College Baseball Hall of Fame National All-Star Lineup, 4/2)
SS Matt Reida (Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award Watch List)
3B Thomas McCarthy (Lowe's Senior CLASS Award Finalist, SEC All-Tournament Team, NCAA Gary Regional All-Tournament Team)
OF Zac Zellers (NCAA Gary Regional All-Tournament Team)
SEC Weekly Awards: Maile (SEC Player of the Week; 4/9, 4/23), Zellers (SEC Player of the Week; 2/27), Cousino (SEC Freshman of the Week; 4/2), Reed (SEC Freshman of the Week; 3/18), Sam Mahar (SEC Freshman of the Week; 5/15)
Bullpen Improvement Breakdown
2006: 28-3 when leading after 4; 39-4 when leading after 7
2007: 27-4 when leading after 4; 31-3 when leading after 7
2008: 34-7 when leading after 4; 37-2 when leading after 7
2009: 21-7 when leading after 4; 21-4 when leading after 7
2010: 22-4 when leading after 4; 25-3 when leading after 7
2011: 19-8 when leading after 4; 22-4 when leading after 7
2012: 32-1 when leading after 4; 40-0 when leading after 7
2006: 152 inherited runners by the UK bullpen, 62 scored (41-percent)
2007: 175 inherited runners by the UK bullpen, 64 scored (36-percent)
2008: 138 inherited runners by the UK bullpen, 46 scored (33-percent)
2009: 144 inherited runners by the UK bullpen, 64 scored (44-percent)
2010: 156 inherited runners by the UK bullpen, 63 scored (40-percent)
2011: 165 inherited runners by the UK bullpen, 62 scored (38-percent)
2012: 155 inherited runners by the UK bullpen, 52 scored (34-percent)
Junior outfielder Brian Adams robbed the second homer of his career, skying the wall in leftfield at Dudy Noble Field against Mississippi State, to plunk a three-run homer out of the air. Adams also robbed All-America outfielder Mikie Mahtook of a homer as a freshman in 2010 during a UK series sweep over LSU.
Freshman centerfielder Austin Cousino became the first UK player in program history named SEC Freshman of the Year, the second player in UK annals to earn freshman All-America honors and the third UK player to earn a spot on the USA Collegiate National Team.
Cousino led UK in nearly every category, including average (.319), at bats (260), runs (61), hits (83), doubles (20), triples (two), steals (15) and outfield assists (eight). He added nine homers and 41 RBI, drawing 26 walks and getting hit by 13 pitches.
Led the SEC in outfield assists, throwing out eight runners, including a game with three against Ole Miss, nabbing three runners at the plate.
In UK single-season records, ranks 12th in hits, 11th in doubles, second in at bats, sixth in starts and ninth in hit by pitches.
Set a new UK single-season record with 142 putouts from his centerfield post, shattering the previous record from 2005 UK centerfielder Antone DeJesus (128).
Set or ranked among the tops in nearly every category in the UK freshman record book, setting new records in hits and runs scored.
Ranks third in UK freshman history in RBI (Chris Wade, 51, 2008), second in homers (Chris Gonzalez, 10, 1993), 12th in average (Jay Tedesco, .356, 1994), second in doubles (Wade, 24), seventh in walks (Jeff Abbott, 42, 1991) and third in steals (Andy Green, 20, 1997).
Opened his UK career with a 14-game hitting streak, reaching base safely in the first 16 games of his career, also recording an extra-base hit in five consecutive games to open 2012.
Led UK with 28 multiple-hit games, the second-most multiple-hit games in UK single-season history, behind the 31 multiple-hit games of Sawyer Carroll in 2008.
In games UK won, led the club with a .363 average with 16 doubles, one triple, eight homers, 35 RBI and 13 steals. In games UK lost, hit .200 (14-for-70) with four doubles, one triple, one homer and six RBI.
IN THE SEC: Ranked ninth in slugging (.515), second in runs scored (61), seventh in hits (83), second in doubles (20), eighth in homers (nine), third in total bases (134), sixth in hit by pitches (13), fifth in steals (15), first in at bats (260), second in plate appearances (303).
Junior outfielder Cameron Flynn hit .268 with nine doubles, nine homers and 36 RBI.
Flynn hung six sacrifice flies, the fourth-most in UK single-season history.
In home games, Flynn hit .348 with seven homers and 24 RBI.
In games UK won, Flynn batted .324 with all nine of his homers and 34 RBI. In games UK lost, hit .127 with two doubles, no homers and two RBI.
IN THE SEC: Ranked eighth in homers (nine) and fourth in sacrifice flies (six).
Sophomore right-handed reliever Trevor Gott set a new school-record with nine saves, helping UK post a school-record 22 team saves.
Gott saved nine of 10 chances, posting a 3-0 record and a 2.16 ERA in 23 relief outings. He tossed 25 innings, allowed only 17 hits and seven walks, striking out 38 and holding opponents to a .189 average.
Was nearly perfect through SEC play, tossing the first five innings of league action without allowing a hit, before allowing a grand slam to Vanderbilt's Connor Harrell, the only three runs Gott would allow all year in SEC play.
Inherited 19 runners in 2012, allowing only four to score, owning the lowest WHIP (1.08) on the club.
Now has 11 career saves through his two-year career, tied for fourth-most in UK career history.
Had a heroic outing in UK's 21-inning marathon NCAA Tournament opener with Kent State, coming on in relief to start the ninth inning of a tie game, tossing shutout frames in the ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th innings, spannin four, two-hit, shutout innings.
Four innings pitched marked a career high.
Also made his first career hitting appearance, striking out in the 11th inning with two outs and no runners on base, fouling off the first pitch he saw.
IN THE SEC: Ranked seventh in saves (nine) and third in games finished (21).
Junior left-handed starter Jerad Grundy started 16 games as the middle-of-the-weekend starting pitcher, posting a 6-3 record and a 3.78 ERA, tossing 85.2 innings, allowing 79 hits and 36 walks, striking out 63.
Tossed six quality starts in 2012, posting a 5-1 record and a 1.36 ERA in those starts, tossing 39.2 innings, allowing 27 hits and 12 walks, striking out 36 with opponents batting .191.
Had two dominating starts in the SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament, posting a 2-0 record and a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings, allowing nine hits and two runs, walking six and striking out 15.
Had a five-start span in the middle of the year where Grundy scuffled, before turning it on to post a 3-2 record and a 3.03 ERA over his final six starts in 2012.
Without his five bad starts in 2012, Grundy went 6-2 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts, tossing 65.1 innings, allowing 53 hits and 25 walks, striking out 51.
IN THE SEC: Ranked eighth in runners picked off (three).
Sophomore left-handed starting pitcher Corey Littrell had one of the best seasons for a UK pitcher in the history of the program, making 16 starts for the Wildcats and posting a 9-2 record and a 2.74 ERA. Litttrell worked 98.2 innings, allowing 104 hits and 25 walks, striking out 87.
With nine wins, Littrell won the fourth-most games in UK single-season history, shy of the school-record 13-win season of Jeff Keener in 1981.
Littrell became just the fourth nine-or-more game winning in program history.
He is just the second player since 1987 to win nine or more games, joining Greg Dombrowski's 10-win season in 2006.
His 2.74 ERA marks the eighth-best single-season ERA in program history.
With a .800 winning percentage, Littrell tied David Voit (1988) for fifth-best in UK single-season history.
Started 16 games, the third-most in UK history with UK owning a 13-3 record in his starts.
With a 15-8 career record through two seasons, Littrell owns a .612 winning percentage, the ninth-best in UK career annals.
Tossed 10 quality starts in 2012, owning a 9-1 record and a 1.48 ERA in his quality starts, tossing 67 innings, allowing 61 hits and 15 walks, striking out 57.
Became the eight UK pitcher to earn All-SEC honors in the history of the program and the third UK pitcher since 1997 to earn All-SEC accolades.
For six consecutive weeks to open SEC play, Littrell won a series finale for the Wildcats, with five of his starts going as rubber matches and the other with a sweep of two-time NCAA Champions South Carolina on the line.
Went 4-0, with a 2.92 ERA in his six-start stretch of pressure-laden matchups, tossing 37 innings.
IN THE SEC: Ranked seventh in ERA (2.74), sixth in innings pitched (98.2), sixth in strikeouts (87), third in wins (nine) and first in runners picked off (seven).
Junior catcher Luke Maile led UK at the plate as a middle-of-the-order hitter throughout the year, starting 62 of UK's 63 games, with his lone day off coming after pulling a hamstring in the 21-inning NCAA Gary Regional opener.
Posted a team-high .319 average with 13 doubles, 12 homers and 51 RBI, stealing nine bases and drawing a team-high 34 walks.
Drove in seven RBI in the games UK lost and 34 RBUI in the games that UK won, belting 11 homers in UK wins.
Was named second-team All-SEC as a catcher, the first UK catcher named All-SEC since Sean Coughlin (2006). Is now the ninth UK catcher in program history to earn All-SEC honors.
Collected 23 multiple-hit games and 14 multi-RBI outings, with his 23 multi-hit games ranking fourth-best in UK history.
Put up staggering numbers behind the plate defensively, as UK led the SEC in fewest steals against and runners picked off, with 8-of-18 would-be-basestealers reaching safely.
In SEC play, Maile threw out eight of 11 runners trying to steal base.
In his three-year career, allowed 36-of-54 runners to steal base, throwing out 34 percent of runners.
IN THE SEC: Ranked eighth in slugging (.533), ninth in runs score (48), sixth in RBI (51), fourth in homers (12), seventh in total bases (122), 12th in walks (34).
Freshman lefty Sam Mahar was a durable reliever for the Wildcats in 2012, appearing in 22 games with two starts.
Worked 38.2 innings, allowing 36 hits and 11 walks, striking out 33 with two saves.
Mahar made a pair of midweek starts, vs. Cincinnati and at Louisville.
Worked a career-high six shutout innings in a start vs. UC, with only two singles allowed.
Picked up a save in the 12th inning at Indiana, his first career save, then got his second save with 2.1 shutout innings vs. Alabama in the finale of a doubleheader.
After allowing a run and two hits without getting an out at Mississippi State on May 19, was shut down due to minor injury for the postseason.
Was named SEC Freshman of the Week after picking up the save vs. Indiana and the save against Alabama in a four-game week.
Inherited 21 runners in 2012, second-most on the team, allowing seven to score.
Senior third baseman Thomas McCarthy started all 63 games for UK at third base, batting .310 with 20 doubles, five homers and 33 RBI, stealing four bases.
With 20 doubles, has the 11th most doubles in UK single-season history, with 39 doubles in two seasons
Had 242 total at bats in 2012, the sixth-most in UK season history, equaling the 242 at bats from Andy Green in 2000.
63 games played tied three players from the 2008 team and two from the 1988 team for the most games started in UK single-season history.
Finished his two-year career with a .338 average (153-for-452), with 39 doubles, two triples, 12 homers and 72 RBI, stealing 12 bases.
Career average of .338 ranks tied with Matt Bragga for the 10th-best average in UK career history.
IN THE SEC: Ranked second in doubles (20) and 11th in hits (75).
Senior left-handed reliever Alex Phillips led UK with 30 appearances in relief, posting a 5-2 record and a 3.03 ERA, notching eight saves in 59.1 innings, allowing 43 hits, 18 walks and striking out 50.
Eight saves are tied for the second-most saves in UK single-season history.
Finished with 10 saves in his two-year career, ranking tied with Jack Savage (1983-85) for the seventh-most in UK career annals.
30 appearances ranks third-most in UK single-season history.
Finished his career with 58 relief outings and 10 saves, owning a 6-4 record and a 3.08 ERA, tossing 96.1 innings with 89 hits, 19 walks and 78 strikeouts.
Inherited a team-high 28 runners in 2012, allowing only nine to score.
All eight of his saves in 2012 came as at least five-out saves, with four coming as at least three-inning saves.
IN THE SEC: Ranked eighth in appearances (30), sixth in games in relief (30) and 10th in saves (eight).
Junior right-handed reliever Tim Peterson appeared in 28 games in relief in 2012, posting a 3-0 record and a 2.42 ERA, notching one save in 26 innings, allowing 24 hits and four walks, striking out 28.
Opened his career with five hitless innings.
28 relief outings marks the fifth-most in UK single-season history.
Notched a two-inning save at No. 9 Arkansas in the first game of a doubleheader.
IN THE SEC: Ranked 12th in games in relief (28).
Sophomore Matt Reida started all 63 games at shortstop, tying the most games started and played in program history.
Batted .239 with eight doubles, one triple, two homers and 22 RBI, stealing four bases.
Hit No. 9 in the order in all 63 starts.
Defense helped UK set a school-record for fielding percentage, putouts and defensive assists.
Ranked second in the SEC in defensive assists (195) at the end of UK's season.
His 195 defensive assists marks the third-most of any UK player in program history, behind the school-record of 224 assists by shortstop Ryan Wilkes in 2006, playing behind a ground-ball delivering pitching staff.
Freshman lefty/first baseman A.J. Reed immediately emerged as one of the top two-way players in college baseball, batting .300 with nine doubles, four homers and 43 RBI at the plate and posting a 5-3 record and a 2.52 ERA on the mound in 53.2 innings, walking nine and striking out 51.
Reed ranked second on the club with his 43 RBI.
Made his debut as an SEC starter in the Tournament opener vs. Ole Miss, tossing 5.2 shutout innings and hitting cleanup in the order, going 4-for-4 with a solo homer off Rebels' ace Bobby Wahl in a 2-0 UK win.
Appeared in 16 games with five starts, with his midweek start vs. Wright State marking the first time in UK baseball history that a player had started on the mound and as the No. 4 hitter in the order. Reed went 3-for-4 with three RBI and a homer and tossed six innings with one run allowed.
Led UK in hitting in the 33 games vs. SEC opponents (including SEC Tourney), batting .324 with two homers and 15 RBI.
Hit a grand slam in his first career home at bat.
Tossed a career-high nine innings in relief in UK's 21-inning NCAA Tournament opening loss, starting the game as the DH for nine innings, playing first base for 10th, 11th and 12th innings, before moving to the mound for his heroic relief outing.
Pitched three innings after getting thrown out at the plate in the 19th inning as the walk-off run, where he cramped in the calves between third and home plate while trying to score from first base on a double.
IN THE SEC: Ranked 11th in RBI (43).
Sophomore second baseman J.T. Riddle had a productive season as UK's everyday second baseman, starting all 63 games and batting .279 with 12 doubles, one triple, five homers and 38 RBI.
63 starts tied Riddle for the school record for games played and started.
Five homers in 2012 eclipsing his previous career high of four in 2011.
Ranked fourth in the SEC and tied for the team lead with six sacrifice flies, the fourth-most in UK single-season history.
Junior left-handed starter Taylor Rogers served as UK's Friday-night starter in 2012, making 15 starts and appearing in 17 games, with his two relief outings coming at the SEC Tournament.
Tossed a career-high 89.1 innings, posting a 6-4 record and a 4.53 ERA, notching one save and striking out 84.
Wins, game started and appearances, innings pitched, ERA and strikeouts all marked new career highs.
Finished his three-year career with a 13-18 record, a 5.34 ERA in 45 games and 42 starts, tossing 249.1 innings and striking out 172.
18 losses in his career are the sixth-most in UK career history, passing Brandon Webb's 16 career losses.
IN THE SEC: Ranked 11th in innings pitched (89.1), eighth in strikeouts (84) and fourth in batters struck out looking (32).
Senior catcher Michael Williams returned after being drafted by the San Francisco Giants as a junior, vowing in the preseason for a better season. Williams finished his senior year with a .290 average in 58 games, missing four contests due to a broken finger on his catching hand.
Williams launched 10 doubles and three homers, adding 36 RBI. He was victimized by a blown call at Tennessee, where his homer cleared the wall and was ruled in play, getting tagged out while in homer trot before reaching second base.
Played in 137 games with 121 starts in his four-year career, batting .270 with 26 doubles, 11 homers and 69 RBI.
Helped UK rank first in the league in fewest steals against and most pickoffs, nabbing five of the 20 would-be-basestealers.
Junior outfielder Zac Zellers emerged as one of the top on-base threats in the SEC as a junior, batting .311 with 12 doubles, one triple, five homers and 19 RBI, stealing seven bases.
Led UK with a .456 on-base percentage, drawing 27 walks.
Was hit by 21 pitches in 2012, the second-most in UK single-season history (Tyler Howe; 27, 2008)
Led UK in batting during the seven-game postseason run, batting .444 (12-for-27) with three doubles, one RBI, four walks, two hit by pitches and three steals.
Went a game-high 5-for-7 in the 21-inning NCAA Tournament opener, drawing two walks and getting hit by a pitch.
Hit .500 in the NCAA Tournament (9-for-18), reaching base safely in 14 of 23 plate appearances in Gary, Ind.
IN THE SEC: Ranked fourth in on-base percentage (.456).