June 27, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Ranked No. 20 in the final Baseball America poll, Kentucky has finished the year by equaling its highest end-of-season ranking in school annals, matching the No. 20 ranking from the 2006 season. UK was also ranked No. 19 in the final USA Today/ESPN Coaches top-25 poll, released on Tuesday.
Kentucky (45-18) finished the year with the most wins, and its best finish in the NCAA Tournament and SEC Tournament in the history of the program. The Wildcats finished the campaign ranked No. 20 in the Baseball America poll, equaling the No. 20 ranking UK ended with in 2006. UK finished the year in the Baseball America ranking three times in the 23-year history of the poll, also ranked No. 24 in 2008.
With the end of the season rankings by Baseball America and USA Today, UK finishes the year ranked a school-record 13 consecutive weeks.
The Wildcats set a bevy of records and collected several awards in the process of its record-breaking season. UK set new school records for wins, strikeouts and fielding percentage, finishing with the second-best ERA in program annals. UK was ranked No. 1 in the nation for three weeks in 2012 for the first time in UK history, led the Southeastern Conference standings for eight of 10 weeks and won a record seven of its 10 conference weekend series.
UK head coach Gary Henderson was named SEC Coach of the Year and centerfielder Austin Cousino became the first player in school history to be voted SEC Freshman of the Year by the league coaches. Cousino, catcher Luke Maile, lefty Corey Littrell and two-way standout A.J. Reed each earned All-SEC accolades. Cousino and Reed became the second and third UK players to earn freshman All-America honors in school history following the season, with Cousino earning a spot on the 22-man USA Collegiate National Team.
Boasting a plethora of talent all over the diamond, UK has eight players in the prestigious Cape Cod Summer Collegiate League in 2012, equaling LSU for the nation’s lead. Following the 2012 season, UK had a school-record nine players picked in the MLB Draft, the second-most players drafted from one school in the 2012 draft. Since UK won the 2006 SEC Championship, a total of 51 UK players have been drafted or signed a professional contract, a total of 7.29 players per season, in improvement from the 2.17 players drafted or sign per season before 2006.