Wilkes picks up national honor

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Senior second baseman Ryan Wilkes, who batted 10-for-21 with three home runs and 12 RBI during No. 20 Kentucky’s 4-0 week, has been named to the College Baseball Foundation “National All-Star Lineup”, the organization announced Wednesday.

Wilkes had a career week in leading UK to its first series sweep at Tennessee in 20 years. Wilkes paced UK at the plate with a .476 average (10-for-21) during the week, with eight runs scored, three homers, a double and 12 RBI, slugging .952. A 5-foot-11 middle infielder, Wilkes had one of the more prolific offensive games in the 104-year history of UK baseball on Tuesday vs. Wright State, going 5-for-6, scoring four times and driving in a jaw-dropping eight RBI. Most remarkably, Wilkes – a switch hitter – hit home runs from each side of the plate in the 21-3 win over Wright State, using different bats to accomplish the feat for the first time in his entire baseball career.

Followed up his career day vs. Wright State with a double in a Friday-night win over Tennessee, a lead-off two bagger in the top of the eighth inning to spark a three-run rally that broke open a 2-2 game. Wilkes added a hit in the win over UT on Saturday, scoring a run. The Harrison, Tenn., native had another career day at the dish in Sunday’s 20-5 sweep-clinching win at UT, going 3-for-6 with two runs and four RBI, hitting his ninth homer of the season, reaching base safely four consecutive times.

A three-year starter at shortstop, who shifted to second in 2008 to accommodate freshman Chris Wade at short, Wilkes is the only everyday second baseman in the Southeastern Conference to field at a perfect 1.000 clip. Wilkes has had 226 chances, turning 31 double plays.

On the year, Wilkes has hit for a staggering .377 average, scoring 41 times, adding 11 doubles, one triple, 34 RBI and nine homers. Wilkes is currently riding a club-high eight-game hit streak.

One of the more statistically impressive players to ever come through Lexington, Wilkes ranks on the career UK record lists in nearly every category, including games played (205), game started (198), most walks (113), sacrifice bunts (37) and sacrifice flies (19).

The “National All-Star Lineup” honor is the third such honor for a UK player this season, as Sawyer Carroll and Collin Cowgill – UK’s two National Player of the Year candidates – were awarded the honor earlier in the year.