Baseball Notebook

By Matthew George

Green adjusts to new role

UK pitcher Scott Green, who has spent the majority of the season as the Cats’ (30-9, 9-9 Southeastern Conference) Saturday starter, was moved to the bullpen after giving up nine runs (five earned) in just two innings in a 13-4 loss at Georgia on April 12.

Through eight starts, Green boasts a 4-2 record with 44 strikeouts, but those numbers have been tainted by a 5.44 earned run average.

“Putting Scott in the bullpen, (UK pitching coach Gary Henderson and I) kind of sat down and said, ‘Hey here’s our options; let’s do this,’ ” UK head coach John Cohen said. “And we were both in absolute agreement about that.”

Green said because he is coming out of the pen, he does not have to pace himself and can just let loose and throw.

“It’s easier to do that because you’re not thinking about going deep in a game,” Green said. “I don’t think, confidence-wise, it’s changed my approach either way. I’m still trying to get ahead. But it’s easier to cut loose on a fastball knowing you’re only going an inning or two.”

That mentality has proven successful for Green so far.

His fourth win of the season came after he shut out No. 24 Florida in the final 1.2 innings of Sunday’s game. The Louisville native earned a save in his only other relief appearance, a 6-5 win over Morehead State on Wednesday.

Cohen said that he has seen a huge difference in Green’s control as a late-inning reliever compared to the control he exhibited as a starter.

Cohen admitted he did not know what the end result of the move will be and is not sure whether Green will be moved back to the weekend rotation this year.

“What we do know is the last two times we have sent him out there to win the game for us in the eighth or ninth inning, he has been spectacular not only with quality of his stuff but the quality of his command,” Cohen said. “He’s just been off the charts.”

“Because he’s been successful in that way, we wouldn’t want to mess with it right now. But it is possible we could put him back in a starting role.”

Cowgill showered with awards

Junior center fielder Collin Cowgill was recognized for his effort both on the field and off yesterday. Just hours after being named a National Strength and Conditioning Association All-American, Cowgill was named SEC Player of the Week after reaching base safely in 16-of-21 at bats and leading the Cats to a 4-1 record including a series win over No. 24 Florida.

The Lexington native batted .600 (9-for-15) on the week, scored a team-high 11 times and belted three home runs. He became the second UK player to receive SEC Player of the Week honors this season. Sawyer Carroll received the award earlier this season.

On the year, Cowgill ranks third in the league in batting average (.399), second in runs scored (57), third in slugging percentage (.818), third in on-base percentage (.524), 10th in hits (57), second in home runs (15), fourth in RBI (45) and fifth in stolen bases (16).

Two weeks ago, Cowgill was named the National Player of the Week by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.

His success on the field can be traced to his work ethic off the field, said Daniel Riney, UK strength and conditioning coach.

“Collin is an extremely hard worker, who is very dedicated and self motivated,” Riney said in a news release yesterday. “It has made him pound for pound the strongest guy on the team. He gives his best effort at everything he does and has gotten the most out of his athletic ability with his efforts.”

22 and counting

Having won its last 22 consecutive non-conference games,  a streak dating back to May of 2007, the Cats travel to Louisville today to take on the in-state rival Cardinals.

When the two teams met in Lexington earlier this month, sophomore outfielder Keenan Wiley delivered a 12th-inning walk-off home run, his first career homer, to secure a 7-6 UK victory in front of a record-breaking crowd of 4,009 fans at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

The Cats split two games with U of L last year, but lost 8-1 at Jim Patterson Stadium in Louisville.

A season ago, the Cards notched a school-record 47 wins, climbed as high as No. 6 in the national rankings and advanced to the 2007 College World Series in Omaha, Neb.

After graduating a number of key players from that veteran-laden team, U of L sputtered to a 15-12 (4-5 Big East) start before its first games against UK.

But since the Wiley walk-off, the Cards have rebounded to win seven of their last nine games.

Today’s first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.