UK baseball back on top

Junior catcher Luke Maile reacts after hitting a homerun at UK baseball vs. Ole Miss at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Photo by Tessa Lighty | Staff

The UK baseball team reclaimed its spot as the No. 1 team in the nation Monday after a come-from-behind series win against LSU over the weekend.

This is the third week of 2012 the Cats (35-6, 13-5 SEC) have been ranked No. 1. They are off to the best start in program history.

“It’s one thing to be tough and confident, but you’ve also got to have some skills,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said. “It’s a pretty steady group of personalities. We play in the best league in the country.”

UK is ranked No. 1 in Collegiate Baseball, No. 2 in Baseball America and No. 3 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, moving up one spot in the first two polls.

Tuesday, the Cats go on the road to play No. 23 Louisville, a team that beat the Cats 12-0 two weeks ago in Lexington.

“Louisville came in here ready last time and we kind of got away from our game,” freshman Austin Cousino said. “You always want to occupy your state. This game is going to be big.”

Junior Luke Maile was named SEC Player of the Week for the second time this year on Monday. In four games last week, Maile hit .462 with two home runs and five RBIs.

Hitting .311 for the season and now leading the SEC with 11 home runs, the junior’s confidence is at a high level.

“We’re in a good place right now,” Maile said. “We’ve got guys swinging the bat well and we’ve got guys pitching well. If we can keep throwing strikes and playing defense, I think our confidence will get even better.”

Henderson will send freshman Sam Mahar to the hill Tuesday against Louisville. In his first career start last week, Mahar pitched six shutout innings in a win over Cincinnati.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 6 p.m.