The Kentucky Wildcats baseball team has been ranked No. 29 in the preseason top-40 poll, announced on Monday by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
The Wildcats return their entire weekend starting pitching rotation, including junior Zack Brown, and seniors Kyle Cody and Dustin Beggs. Beggs and Cody return for 2016 after electing to postpone their professional careers after being selection in the 2015 MLB Draft.
Beggs led UK in wins (seven), innings (93.2) and strikeouts (75) last season. Brown went 6-6 with a 3.48 ERA, leading the SEC in complete games (three) and complete-game shutouts (two). Cody struck out 63 and walked just 17 in 66 innings across 12 starts last season.
The Cats return plenty of hitting firepower in All-SEC standouts JaVon Shelby and Evan White. Shelby, who earned All-SEC honors at second base in 2015, hit .312 with nine homers and 44 RBI with a .442 on-base percentage. He'll be a junior this coming season while moving the third base. White hit .318 with 12 doubles and 28 RBI in his freshman season.
The Wildcats also return catcher Zach Arnold, outfielders Dorian Hariston, Storm Wilson and Marcus Carson, and infielders Riley Mahan and Connor Heady. The bullpen is stacked with Bo Wilson, Dylan Dwyer, Zach Strecker, Zach Pop, Brad Schaenzer and Logan Salow.
Sophomore Zach Logue also returns after a historic summer in the Perfect Game Collegiate League, where he was named the pitcher of the year.