Junior third baseman Max Kuhn is the first UK player to lead the SEC in runs scored since Billy White in 1988.
June 27, 2014
2014 Kentucky Baseball Final Season Notes - Team 37-25, 14-16 SEC
Kentucky advanced to its eighth NCAA Tournament in program history.
UK finished 2-2 in the NCAA Louisville Regional, equaling the best finish in UK annals, also done in 1988, 2006, 2008 and 2012.
UK improved to 14-16 in NCAA Tournament play.
The Wildcats - making their 16th all-time SEC Tournament appearance - suffered a one-run loss in the SEC Tournament Semifinals for the second time in the last three years, equaling their best finish in program history.
UK’s third straight SEC Tournament berth is the second-longest streak in school history and its longest since 1993-96.
UK was 3-1 in the SEC Tournament, owning an elimination-game win over Alabama to open the tourney, which snapped a seven-game UK losing streak in SEC Tournament elimination games.
UK won a 12-inning marathon vs. No. 17 Mississippi State to secure a bye in the tournament, with the game marking the longest in SEC Tournament history, going four hours and 32 minutes.
UK’s 37 wins marks the sixth-most in Kentucky single-season history, and the 17th 30-win season in UK annals.
UK now has 30 wins in three consecutive seasons, marking the second-best streak in program history and just shy of the record of four straight 30+ win seasons from 1991-94.
With 112 wins over the last three years, UK put together the second-most successful run in program history.
UK has 137 wins over the last four years, which is the third-best four-year run in Kentucky history, just shy of 151 wins over the 2005-08 seasons.
UK went 33-2 when staked to an eighth-inning lead and now own a 172-7 all-time record in the Gary Henderson era when staked to an eighth-inning lead.
In Henderson’s 12 years directing the UK pitching staff, the Wildcats are 324-14 (96-percent) when owning a lead after the eighth inning.
UK won 11 games vs. top-25 teams, marking the third-most in UK history.
UK went a program-record 3-1 vs. No. 1 ranked teams, winning a series vs. top-ranked South Carolina, its first series win over a No. 1 ranked foe since topping LSU in 2012, and topping No. 1 Virginia in the season opener.
Before 2012 and 2014, UK’s last series win over a No. 1 ranked foe came in 1991.
UK was 7-5 vs. top-10 teams, 10-10 vs. top-20 teams and 11-11 vs. top-25 foes, each marking the second-best total in UK history.
Kentucky was ranked in one of the four major polls for 12 of 15 weeks in 2014, soaring to as high as No. 12 by Baseball America.
UK has now been ranked for a program-record 37 of the last 45 weeks, over the 2012-14 seasons, in one of the four major polls.
UK had five players picked or sign a free agent contract in the 2014 MLB Draft.
A program-record 38 players have been drafted or signed a professional contract in the six years of the UK head coach Gary Henderson era, with at least four players drafted in every season.
Since Henderson and recruiting coordinator Brad Bohannon arrived on campus in 2004, Kentucky has had 60 players drafted or sign a professional contract.
Kentucky finished the postseason with a final RPI of No. 20, the second-highest final NCAA RPI in program history, behind a No. 14 mark in 2012.
UK finished 2014 with a No. 6 strength of schedule in the nation and the fifth-hardest in the SEC.
The Wildcats finished with 16 wins over top-50 RPI teams in 2014, which ranked ninth in the NCAAA and sixth in the SEC.
The Wildcats played the second-most games (62) in program history, just shy of the record of 63 games set in 1988, 2008 and 2012.
Kentucky set the single-season record after getting hit by 109 pitches in 2014.
UK scored the third-most runs (472), had the third-most hits (655) and drove in the fourth-most RBI (422) in single-season school history.
The Wildcats went a school-record 7-3 in Friday-night SEC games.
UK went 11-4 when wearing its blue and white uniform combination.
Final Season Notes - Individual
Junior LHP/1B AJ Reed led the NCAA in home runs (23), slugging (.735) and OPS (1.211).
Reed is the first player in Kentucky history to lead the NCAA in homers.
Had more homers than 185 schools in college baseball, including six SEC programs.
Hit 15 homers in SEC play alone, with only three other schools combining to hit more in league action.
23 homers ties a UK single-season record, equaling him with John Wilson (1999) and Jeff Abbott (1994) and marking the most for a UK player in 16 years.
Is the first SEC player to hit 20 or more homers in the BBCOR (dead bat) era.
All 23 homers came in 42 games against weekend opponents.
Hit a homer and earned the win on the mound an NCAA-best four times, hitting six homers in his 16 pitching starts.
Hit 12 of his 23 homers away from Cliff Hagan Stadium, with 17 coming to leftfield, left-center, centerfield, or right-centerfield.
Is the sixth player in SEC history to lead college baseball in homers, joining Bruce Castoria (1981), Eddy Furniss (21996, Matt LaPorta (2005), Gordon Beckham (2008) and Matt Clark (2008).
Became the first player in SEC history to lead the conference in both homers and pitching victories.
Totaled 73 RBI, the third-most in UK single-season history.
In UK career history, finished ranked second in homers (40) and RBI (168), third in ERA (2.83), 10th in wins (19) and 11th in innings pitched (248.0). Also ranked eighth in total bases (356), 12th in at-bats (637), 12th in walks (99), 11th in sac flies (nine) and 10th in hit by pitches (26).
In UK single-season history, ranked first in homers, second in pitching wins, second in walks (49), third in RBI, fifth in total bases (164), sixth in slugging, 13th in on-base percentage, and third in innings pitched (112) and third in starts (16).
Finished just shy of the second triple-crown in SEC history, and the first since Rafael Palmerio (1984), leading the league in homers and RBI and ending the regular season .0002 points shy in average.
Picked up pitching victories over No. 1 Virginia, No. 1 South Carolina, No. 5 Vanderbilt, No. 12 Florida, No. 23 Alabama, at Texas A&M, at Tennessee, vs. Auburn, at Georgia and vs. Kent State in the NCAA Tournament.
Worked his first career complete game in a 4-2 comeback win over Kent State in an elimination game in the NCAA Tournament.
Homered in three consecutive SEC games twice, including a school-record streak of five consecutive league games.
Hit homers in consecutive games six times and had three two-homer games.
Became the first player in school history to hit two homers in a single inning, with his second homer of a big inning vs. St. Joseph’s going as a grand slam, with Reed also getting the win on the mound.
Struck out a career-high 10 in a win over Missouri.
Worked 12 quality starts in 16 starting assignments, working at least six innings in 13 starts and at least seven innings in 12 starts.
Made 31 consecutive series-opening, or SEC/NCAA Tournament, starts on the mound.
In his 16 starts on the mound in 2014, hit .462/.588/.962, with eight doubles, six homers and 22 RBI, owning an 11-6 walk-strikeout ratio.
Reached base safely in 57 of 62 games.
Hit .294 (35-for-119) with two strikes, .352 with runners on base and .377 with runners in scoring position.
Led UK with 29 two-out hits and 26 two-out RBI, batting .387 with two outs.
Tied his career highs with a six RBI game and two four-hit games, finishing with 19 multi-hit and 21 multi-RBI games.
In the SEC stats: Ranked as the leader in slugging (.735), on-base percentage (.476), RBI (73), homers (23), total bases (164), walks (49) and pitching wins (12).
Ranked sixth in average (.336), fourth in runs (60), 14th in hits (75), sixth in doubles (18), eighth in HBP (14), sixth in ERA (2.09), fourth in innings pitched (112.0), 11th in strikeouts (71) and fifth in starts (16).
Junior CF Austin Cousino finished his UK career ranking among the school leaders in games started, at bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, hit by pitches and steals.
Is the UK career record holder in hit by pitches (47).
Finished his career ranked 10th in starts (178), eighth in at-bats (732), fifth in runs (161), ninth in hits (216), seventh in doubles (47), eighth in triples (seven), sixth in steals (48) and 11th in steal attempts (51).
Tied the UK single-season record with 263 at-bats in 2014.
Tied for 12th in UK single-season history with 13 HBP, also getting plunked by 13 pitches in 2012.
Broke his own UK single-season record with 178 putouts in centerfield, shattering his previous record of 142, set as a freshman in 2012.
Cousino ran up a UK best 17-game hitting streak, which also marked a career best.
In the SEC stats: Ranked fifth in runs (58), ninth in hits (81), fourth in triples (four), 11th in total bases (116), 10th in HBP (13) and fifth in steals (19).
Sophomore C Zach Arnold finished 2014 on a team-leading 11-game hitting streak.
Arnold’s hitting streak is remarkable considering he played in 18 games and made three starts, totaling just 24 at-bats.
Arnold came off the bench in his last six games to hit safely and just once in his games with official at-bats, did he not get a hit.
Sophomore OF Kyle Barrett opened up the year on a career-long 16-game hitting streak.
Barrett reached base safely in 32 of his 38 starts and has now reached base safely in 66 of his 76 career starts.
Junior 1B Thomas Bernal had a career year while starting 51 of UK’s 63 games.
Bernal set new career highs in games played (54), starts, at-bats (203), runs (30), hits (62), doubles (nine), RBI (32), walks (13) and hit by pitches (18).
Bernal hit his first career homer, a three-run shot vs. No. 8 Louisville, part of a career-high four-RBI game on a 3-for-4 day at the plate.
Bernal set a new career high with four hits vs. No. 12 Florida.
In the SEC stats: Ranked as the leader in HBP (18).
Freshman RHP Zack Brown had a break-out second half of his rookie campaign, including starting a game on the final SEC weekend of the year, an elimination tilt in the SEC Tournament Quarterfinals and an elimination game in the NCAA Tournament.
Won his NCAA Tournament debut for his first career win, with a career-long five innings vs. Kansas in an elimination game.
In his SEC Tournament debut, working 3.2 innings vs. No. 17 Mississippi State in an eventual 12-inning UK walk-off win.
Sophomore RHP Kyle Cody made his first three starts in the weekend rotation, before missing 21 days due to forearm tightness.
Cody returned in a relief role, appearing in 12 games out of the bullpen.
Finished with five saves, which is tied for 13th in UK single-season history.
Cody went a career-high 4-0 with a 2.84 ERA on the mound, despite going through a six-week stretch - while returning from injury - where he was limited from throwing a breaking ball.
In the SEC stats: Ranked ninth in saves (five).
Sophomore LHP Ryne Combs equaled his career high with 16 appearances, making a career-best four midweek starts.
Combs first outing of the year came in 3.2 innings in a season-opening win over No. 1 Virginia, allowing two runs with two outs in the ninth.
Picked up his first career win the following weekend at Old Dominion, tossing 3.2 hitless innings.
Sophomore LHP Dylan Dwyer made a career-high 10 starts, appearing in 14 games with a 5-3 record.
Dwyer picked up wins over Cincinnati, No. 8 Louisville, No. 12 Florida, Missouri and at Texas A&M.
Worked 6.1 shutout innings vs. Missouri and 6.2 one-run innings at TAMU, allowing just two runs in 5.2 innings vs. Louisville.
Dwyer picked his first win of the year with the first complete-game shutout in UK history in midweek action, tossing a three-hit shutout vs. Cincinnati.
Dwyer’s complete-game shutout was UK’s first since Alex Meyer in 2011 vs. Vanderbilt and was UK’s first complete-game in midweek action since Greg Dombrowski in 2005 vs. Murray State.
Freshman infielder Connor Heady played in 30 games with 19 starts in the middle infield.
Heady was UK’s opening-day starter at second base.
Heady made 11 starts at second base and eight at shortstop.
Heady’s eight games at shortstop marked the first time UK had started a player at shortstop other than Matt Reida since 2011.
Junior RHP Spencer Jack appeared in 26 games, the 15th most in UK single-season history.
Jack saved four games, ranking 17th in UK single-season history.
Junior 3B Max Kuhn had a career year as UK’s every day starter at the hot corner, reaching base safely in 60 of 62 games and in 108 of his 116 starts.
Kuhn posted career highs in average (.324), at-bats (259), runs (68), hits (84), doubles (18), homers (eight), RBI (58), slugging (.494), walks (43) and on-base percentage (.437).
Kuhn’s 259 at-bats in 2014 mark the third-most in UK single-season history.
Kuhn finished with 18 doubles, ranking 14th in UK season annals.
Kuhn led the SEC with 68 runs scored, ranking seventh in UK season history.
With 43 walks, Kuhn totaled the ninth-most walks in UK single-season history.
In the SEC stats: Ranked as the leader in runs (68), also checking in 15th in average (.324), seventh in slugging (.494), second in on-base percentage (.437), seventh in hits (84), third in RBI (58), sixth in doubles (18), fifth in homers (eight), sixth in total bases (128) and second in walks (43).
Sophomore LHP Sam Mahar returned to the mound after sitting out the 2013 season due to injury.
Mahar appeared in 13 games, picking up his fourth career win.
Sophomore RHP Taylor Martin returned from injury to pitch in 2014, his first action since 2012.
Martin worked a career-long three innings in UK’s NCAA Tournament elimination-game win over Kansas.
Worked 2.1 hitless innings vs. No. 7 Florida in the SEC Tournament semifinals.
Junior RHP Andrew Nelson stepped into the UK pitching staff as a junior college transfer and appeared in 19 games with 10 weekend starts.
Nelson started 10 games, including eight SEC games, in his NCAA Division I debut.
Nelson’s best outing came in a rubber match at Alabama, coming an out away from a complete-game win, before Bama struck for a two-run, two-out, game-tying homer in the ninth inning.
Picked up his first career save in the SEC Tournament, working four shutout innings vs. No. 24 Alabama in the elimination-game opening win.
Worked in relief after a start at Tennessee, allowing just one run in a 12-inning span over four outings.
Senior SS Matt Reida finished his four-year career playing in 214 games, the fourth-most in UK history.
Reida started 199 games in his career, ranking sixth in UK career annals.
Reida had a career year in 2014, setting new career marks in average (.246), doubles (10), homers (four), RBI (36), slugging (.359) and steals (five).
Reida laid down 27 sacrifice bunts in his career, ranking third in UK history.
Freshman LHP Logan Salow had a breakout season in 2014, helping anchor the UK bullpen.
Salow appeared in 23 games with two starts, with both starts coming in the postseason.
Made his first career start in the SEC Tournament Semifinals vs. No. 7 Florida and his second start in the NCAA Regional Championship game vs. No. 8 Louisville.
Five of the first seven outs he recorded to open his NCAA career came as strikeouts.
Salow finished with a save in 31 innings, striking out 27.
10 of his 23 outings went as scoreless appearances.
Picked up his first career win with a shutout inning vs. Wright State, with his second win coming in 3.2 shutout innings at No. 8 Louisville.
Salow worked 2.1 innings in his first career start vs. Florida in the SEC Tournament Semifinals.
With UK’s pitching staff taxed after playing three games in three days to open the NCAA Tournament and Dylan Dwyer out due to injury, Salow started the regional final vs. No. 8 Louisville in an electric atmosphere.
Salow worked six strong innings, allowing just five hits and one run, working around three walks and striking out four.
Freshman 2B JaVon Shelby had a strong collegiate debut, starting 52 of UK’s 62 games, playing in 56 games in 2014.
Shelby hit .250 (45-for-180) with 38 runs, six doubles, two triples, four homers and 21 RBI.
Ranked 17th in UK freshman history with 45 hits and seventh with four homers.
Collected career-highs with three-hit games vs. Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, also setting a career high with three RBI in a win over Tennessee Tech.
Junior RHP Chandler Shepherd finished the year with a 5-5 record and a 3.66 ERA, saving one game in 16 outings, starting nine.
Got off to a tremendous start through his first six outings, owning a 5-0 record and a 2.20 ERA in 31 innings, posting key wins over Alabama and in a 2-1 win over No. 1 South Carolina.
After returning to the mound, was used in relief twice, before a two-inning start vs. Auburn, and then going on a strong run over his next four outings, at Murray State, Georgia, and twice vs. No. 7 Florida in the SEC Tournament.
Owned a 0.75 ERA in those four outings, working 12 innings, striking out 11 and only allowing one run.
Shepherd made starts in the middle game of the weekends for eight consecutive weeks, before a forearm laceration forced him to miss 21 days.
Finished his career with a 13-6 record and a 3.45 ERA, with his ERA ranking ninth in UK history and his .684 win-loss percentage checking in fourth.
Sophomore RHP Zach Strecker appeared in a career-best 18 games in relief, also setting new career marks in innings (21.1) and strikeouts (21).
Strecker shined in his last two outings of the year, allowing just two runs in six innings vs. No. 17 Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament and at No. 8 Louisville in the NCAA Regional Championship game.
Fifth-year senior C Micheal Thomas had a career season behind the plate, starting 57 games behind the plate, a new record for the Gary Henderson era for a catcher in a season.
Thomas led all SEC catchers in homers (eight), owning a .315 (69-for-219) average with 11 doubles, one triple and 45 RBI.
In the SEC stats: Ranked fifth in homers (eight), 10th in slugging (.484), 14th in on-base percentage (.402), 12th in runs (47) and 13th in RBI (45).
Sophomore OF Ka’ai Tom starred for the Wildcats in his first season on campus, finishing the SEC regular season ranked second in the league in average in league games (.373).
Tom hit .328 (67-for-204) with 13 doubles, three homers and 41 RBI in 54 games and 53 starts, stealing 14-of-18 bases and owning a 22-18 walk-strikeout ratio.
Reached base safely in his first 25 career collegiate games and in 48 of his 53 games in 2014.
Did not strikeout in his first 37 NCAA at-bats.
Tom’s 22-18 walk-strikeout ratio marks the 27th time in UK history (dating back to 1979) a UK player with over 200 at-bats had a positive walk-strikeout ratio.
Tom is the first UK player with more walks than strikeouts, and at least 200 at-bats, since Chad Wright (23 walks, 16 strikeouts) in 2011.
In the SEC stats: Ranked 12th in average (.328) and 14th in steals (14). In SEC play alone, ranked second in average (.373).
Freshman OF Storm Wilson fought his way into the lineup in 2014 and finished with a .289 (37-for-128) average in 45 games and 34 starts.
Totaled six doubles and four homers, with his four bombs ranking tied for the SEC for homers from league freshman.
Four homers ranked tied for seventh in UK freshman history.
Hit the first pinch-hit, ninth-inning homer for UK since Gunner Glad in 2009 at Coastal Carolina.
Is the eighth player to hit a pinch-hit homer, since 2004, and the fourth to hit a ninth-inning pinch-hit blast.
Notched the first inside-the-park homer in the UK modern era, coming on ESPNU Thursday Night SEC Game of the Week at Tennessee.
Finished with a career-high four RBI in the win at Tennessee.
Final Season Notes - Awards
Junior LHP/1B AJ Reed became the first national player of the year in Kentucky history.
Reed won the Dick Howser Trophy, Baseball America’s College Player of the Year, the American Baseball Coaches Association National Player of the Year, and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s National Player of the Year.
Reed became the second player in UK history, and the first since 2006, to be voted SEC Player of the Year by the league coaches.
Reed was named first-team All-America by Baseball America, the ABCA, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Perfect Game and Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
Named the winner of the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.
Was named the NCBWA District III Player of the Year and first-team ABCA All-Region as the DH and second-team ABCA All-Region as a starting pitcher.
Named first-team All-SEC by the league coaches as the designated hitter.
Two-time NCBWA National Hitter of the Week (4/8 and 2/25)
Two-time SEC Player of the Week (4/7 and 2/24)
SEC Pitcher of the Week (5/20)
Two-time Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week (4/7 and 2/24)
National Player of the Week by NCAA.com (2/26)
Second-round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft (No. 42 overall) by the Houston Astros.
Junior CF Austin Cousino won his second consecutive ABCA Rawlings Gold Glove Award as one of the nation’s top three defensive outfielders.
All-SEC Defensive Team for the third consecutive year.
Third-round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft (No. 80 overall) by the Seattle Mariners
Third-team Capital One Academic All-America by CoSIDA
NCAA Louisville Regional All-Tournament Team
Junior 3B Max Kuhn was named second-team All-SEC by the league coaches.
Kuhn earned second-team All-Region honors from the ABCA.
A 13th round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics.
Fifth-year senior catcher Micheal Thomas was named to the SEC Community Service Team.
A 22nd round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers.
SEC Player of the Week (3/24)
Gregg Olson Award Watch List
Midseason Johnny Bench Watch List
NCAA Louisville Regional All-Tournament Team
2B JaVon Shelby was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team.
Sophomore OF Ka’ai Tom was named first-team All-SEC by the league coaches.
Junior RHP Chandler Shepherd was picked in the 13th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox.
Freshman LHP Logan Salow was named SEC Pitcher of the Week (4/21).
Senior SS Matt Reida was named Capital One Academic All-District.
Signed a free-agent contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Sophomore LHP Ryne Combs named Capital One Academic All-District.
Sophomore OF Dorian Hairston was named a finalist for the Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar Award.
SEC Stats - FINAL
Kentucky finished 2014 as the SEC leader in average (.299), slugging (.446), on-base percentage (.398), runs (472), RBI (423), home runs (60), hit by pitch (109) and double plays turned (61).
UK ranks second in the SEC in hits (655), second in doubles (121), sixth in triples (11), second in total bases (978), third in at-bats (2193), third in walks (268) and sixth in stolen bases (67).
UK also led the league in situational hitting, pacing the SEC in average vs. right-handed pitching (.306), average with the bases empty (.283), pinch hitting average (.388), two-out average (.310) and two-out RBI (167).