Former Wildcat sets team record for home runs

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Former Kentucky slugger Ryan Strieby, the 2006 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, leads the Florida State League in home runs, cranking 29 homers in 112 games, setting the Lakeland Flying Tigers franchise record for homers in a season.

Strieby, who helped lead UK to the 2006 SEC Championship, has played all season with the Flying Tigers, the high class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. A fourth-round pick of the Tigers in the 2006 MLB Draft, Strieby has had a monster year while playing in his second full-professional season.

Strieby, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound first-baseman, has hit for a .278 average (117-for-421), with 19 doubles, seven triples, 29 homers and a league-best 94 RBI. Strieby, named an All-Star in the FSL, ranks as the league leader in total bases (237), in addition to his league leading homers and RBI. A native of Seattle, Wash., Strieby ranks second in the league in slugging (.563) and third in OPS (.915), while his .993 fielding percentage ranks first among FSL first basemen.

Named by Baseball America as the 28th-best prospect in the Tigers organization last year, Strieby shattered the previous club record on August 2, held by Alejandro Freire, who hit 24 dingers in 1997.

Since arriving on the UK campus in 2006, Strieby has done nothing but hit and hit well, earning SEC Player of the Year honors in his lone season with the Wildcats. Strieby hit .343 with 20 home runs and a then school-record 77 RBI, adding 22 doubles.

Drafted by the Tigers following his dominating performance in the best conference in college baseball, Strieby hit .241 with four homers, nine doubles and 25 RBI in his first professional season in the New York Penn-League. In 2007, for league champion West Michigan of the Midwest League, Strieby hit .253 with 23 doubles, 16 homers and 76 RBI in 123 games, earning league All-Star honors.

Strieby is not the only member of the 2006 Wildcat club to have an outstanding season for the Flying Tigers in 2008, as utility man Michael Bertram has hit .277 (85-for-307) in 84 games, adding 17 doubles, four triples, four homers and 38 RBI. Bertram, who has been playing mainly third base while relieving Strieby at first, had the game of his career earlier in the summer, ripping two homers and six RBI. Bertram, who has played on the same team with Strieby since hooking up at UK in 2006, excelled during the Midwest League Playoffs in 2007, batting .462 (6-for-13) in four playoff games, adding a triple and three RBI.

A Lexington, Ky., native and four-year UK letterwinner, Bertram hit .340 with 16 doubles and five homers during the UK 2006 SEC Championship run.