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Batting Around: Kentucky tops UL

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After a disappointing series defeat this weekend against a sub-.500 SEC team in Auburn, the #23 Bat Cats returned to the field Wednesday, and pulled off a dramatic 5-4 walk-off victory over Louisville (12-17).

Its record now at 23-7 (5-4 SEC), Kentucky has filled the void created by slow starts from the conference's traditional power teams LSU, Florida and Auburn.

Sparked by a power-hitting lineup -- the Cats have already hit more home runs this season (42) thant hey hit in all of last season, and they have outslugged opponents to the tune of a +31 HR advantage, a result of outstanding starting pitching and displays of power hitting.

John Shelby (pictured), a junior from Lexington's Tates Creek high school, has led the way much of the year, leading the Bat Cats in stolen bases (8), home runs (8) and sacrifice bunts. Meanwhile, no UK pitcher has more than one loss.

All in all, head coach John Cohen's team is full of hitting phenoms, and enters the meat of the season in very favorable position.

This is a far cry from much of the Keith Madison era, in which Kentucky was seemingly content to pick off a game or two from the SEC's better teams and leave it at that.

Times and attitudes have changed, though, and a critical series at home against #19 Florida this weekend could be a harbringer of this team's long-term SEC success this year. A series win or sweep would give the Cats momentum, while the opposite could undo much of the early season's success.