Bat Cats picked to make NCAA tourney

Reported by: Dan Rieffer
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Updated: 2/08/2012 7:26 pm
Baseball America magazine predicts the Kentucky baseball team will have a season ending in the NCAA tournament.

From UK Athletics
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky baseball standouts Jerad Grundy, Taylor Rogers and Brian Adams have been honored and UK has been picked as an NCAA Tournament team, in the annual comprehensive Southeastern Conference preview, released on Wednesday by Baseball America.

Kentucky was picked as one of the nine SEC teams to make a 2012 NCAA Regional in the in-depth preview by Baseball America, joining Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas, LSU, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Mississippi and Mississippi State.

In a breakdown of the top-20 prospects in the SEC available for the 2012 MLB Draft, UK southpaws Grundy and Rogers were on the listing, with Grundy tabbed the 14th-best SEC prospect available in 2012 and Rogers as the 20th-best in the circuit in 2012.

Also included in the preview, Baseball America surveys the head coaches in the SEC during the preseason to complete a listing of the best tools in the league. Adams was tabbed as the best athlete in the talent-laden SEC.

“Kentucky has plenty of reasons for optimism,” John Manuel detailed in his Baseball America breakdown.  “From athletic 6-foot-4, 215-pound speedster OF Brian Adams, to LHPs Taylor Rogers and Jerad Grundy, both are solid prospects, with Rogers coming off an all-star turn in the Cape Cod League; to a veteran infield led by junior 1B/C Luke Maile and senior 3B Thomas McCarthy.”

Overall, Baseball America picked Florida catcher Mike Zunino – the defending SEC Player of the Year – and South Carolina southpaw Michael Roth as the preseason picks for Player and Pitcher of the Year.

Grundy, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound lefty transfer from Miami (Fla.) and Heartland Community College, is poised to compete for a key role in the weekend pitching staff immediately. Rated as the 57th-best prospect available in the 2012 MLB Draft by Baseball America, Grundy was tabbed as the No. 14 SEC prospect. A two-time draft pick who was most recently selected by the Miami Marlins in the 42nd round of the 2011 MLB Draft, Grundy posted a 2-0 record and a 3.57 ERA while a freshman at Miami (Fla.). While at Heartland, Grundy posted 70 strikeouts in 62 innings, with a 7-3 record and a 3.77 ERA.

A native of Littleton, Colo., Rogers is coming off a dominating summer in the Cape Cod League, where he was the starting and winning pitcher in the all-star game played at Fenway Park. Rogers has been in the UK weekend rotation since his collegiate opening weekend, making 27 starts in his two years, with 88 strikeouts in 160 innings. A 37th-round draft pick out of high school by the Baltimore Orioles, Rogers was named SEC Freshman of the Week after his collegiate debut, where he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning against West Virginia in 2010. In his two-year career, Rogers owns 11 quality starts.

A two-sport standout, Adams has been a member of the football wide receiver playing rotation since the 2010 season, catching eight passes over his two seasons. On the diamond, Adams owns staggering athletic ability, appearing in 59 games with 48 starts during his career, despite playing spring football both baseball seasons. In 2011 as UK’s primary starter in centerfield, Adams hit .288 (36-for-125) with eight doubles, one triple, two homers and 13 RBI, stealing nine bases, with his average in non-conference play leading the club. Adams came on late in his freshman season, making the final nine starts of the year while UK pushed for the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. In his 2010 season finale, Adams carried UK to a must-win at Georgia, batting 4-for-5 with a triple, grand slam and six RBI. One his most memorable moments came after starring in the UK football spring game in 2011 in the afternoon with seven catches, 121 yards and two touchdowns, before traveling across the street to start in centerfield for the Wildcats against No. 12 Arkansas in the evening.

Kentucky opens its 2012 season on Friday, Feb. 17 at Spartanburg, S.C., facing off with Wofford in the season opener. 


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