In a fall season thick with anticipation for UK basketball's home opener on Friday, there is another team on campus looking forward to a season with great potential. Gary Henderson's Kentucky baseball team unveiled their 2010 schedule on Tuesday, a 56-game campaign that includes 15 NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago. The BatCats' pre-conference schedule includes trips to the east (Coastal Carolina) and west (San Diego) coasts, as they face some stiff competition before their ten Southeastern Conference series.
In arguably the best conference in the country, Kentucky hosts Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and defending national champ LSU at Cliff Hagan Stadium this season. They road-trip to Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Auburn, Tennessee, and Georgia.
Local rivaries will also continue for UK, who will take on Indiana, Western Kentucky, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Morehead State.
Whether it's seeing traditional college baseball powers (Florida, South Carolina to name a couple), the returning national champions (LSU), or an intense rivalry, there will be plenty of reasons to check out the BatCats this season.
Still more of those reasons are involved with the players that will be performing in the blue-and-white this season. The BatCats' boasted the nation's third-best recruiting class a year ago, and were ranked in '09 (#15 by Baseball America, #6 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper) among the nation's best again. What's a 15th-rated class get you in the SEC? It's good for sixth.
Nevertheless, nine freshman and four transfers (five of twhich were 2009 MLB draftees) represent an outstanding 2010 recruiting class. Along with standout returners James Paxton (2009 first-rounder is the highest-drafted college player to return to school) and Chris Bisson (all-SEC infielder hit .360 last year), the Cats look to return to SEC title contention and postseason play.