It seems that the wild ride that is this year's Kentucky baseball season is finally attracting some attention from both the national press and the Big Blue Nation.
Normally this time of year is strictly offseason hoops news, the occasional football story and lots of waiting. But John Cohen and the Bat Cats have put together an improbable and exciting run into the Top 10 of the Baseball America college rankings. (Number 8, to be precise.)
This is historic, folks, not simply because Collin Cowgill (pictured) and the Cats have never been to this point, but because they play in inarguably the best baseball conference in the country ... and they lead it heading down the stretch. Six of the top 25 teams are SEC teams, meaning half of the entire league. And this when traditional powers LSU, Florida and Tennessee are all down.
Former coach Keith Madison was never able to do what this coach has done, and I hope that the UK faithful will credit AD Mitch Barnhardt for his fantastic hire. Cohen has the Cats on the cusp of a number one seed in the NCAA tournament, an almost unthinkable rise from recent losing seasons.
Led by a slugging offense and a workable, efficient pitching staff, the Cats have surged to the top of the SEC pile, and have won 11 of their last 12 games since dropping two at Arkansas.
The Cats' ride to the top of the SEC has finally garnered them some national press, including some glowing tidbits in the Baseball America magazine, and some national recognition.
As Coach Cohen put it:
The week's other rankings are trickling out, with the Rivals Rosenblatt Report slotting the Cats at No. 11 (up from 14) this week. USA Today coaches' poll has the Cats in the top 10, while Collegiate Baseball gives the Bat Cats some love at the No. 7 spot.
Every week sees Kentucky exceed expectations. Despite no NCAA appearances since 1993, why would we expect anything less than a berth in the College World Series? Wishful thinking, sure. Impossible? Not anymore.