LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky sophomore right-hander Chandler Shepherd, the 2012 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League Pitcher of the Year, has been selected a first-team summer league All-America starting pitcher by Perfect Game USA, it was announced on Wednesday afternoon.
Shepherd is the second UK hurler to be named a first-team summer league All-American in the last two years, as junior right-hander Trevor Gott was tabbed as a first-team closer after leading the Cape Cod League in saves in 2011. Shepherd was also named first-team PGCBL and UK sophomore outfielder/left-hander Jeff Boehm was named a PGCBL Rising Star, which consists of freshmen players in the league.
A native of Louisa, Ky., Shepherd dominated the circuit all summer while leading his club to a 35-12 record and the league championship. The 6-foot-3 right-hander led the league in wins (seven), ERA (1.31) and opponent average (.154). In his eight regular-season starts, Shepherd went 7-0 in 55 innings, allowing only 29 hits and 12 walks, striking out 50. Including playoffs, Shepherd owned a 9-0 record and a 1.73 ERA in 67.2 innings with 64 strikeouts.
As a freshman, Shepherd emerged as one of the top young pitchers in college baseball. With a dynamic weekend rotation, the Wildcats were able to use Shepherd as a midweek starter and as a long-reliever on Southeastern Conference weekends. All told in 2012, Shepherd appeared in 18 games with nine starts, owning a 3-1 record and a 3.83 ERA. He hurled 56.1 innings, allowing 60 hits and 16 walks, striking out 33.
The consensus top prospect in the state coming out of Lawrence County High School in 2011, Shepherd had a slew of bright spots as a freshman. In his first career start vs. Xavier, Shepherd tossed five two-hit innings for the win. He also dominated midweek starts vs. Murray State and Cincinnati, before securing a key weekend reliever role. In his first career SEC appearance at No. 9 Arkansas, Shepherd came out of the bullpen early in the game and tossed 3.2 shutout innings, allowing only one hit. In his second career SEC outing, Shepherd worked three shutout innings during a UK win over No. 1 LSU.
In the NCAA Tournament, UK found itself in a 21-inning marathon vs. Kent State in the opener, with UK using a potential tournament-crippling amount of pitching. After the Wildcats advanced to Saturday in the NCAA Gary Regional, UK turned to Shepherd in relief vs. Valparaiso, with the righty delivering three shutout innings for his first career save. The following day, Shepherd turned in a heroic performance as the starting pitcher vs. Kent State. He made the start with UK’s pitching staff gassed, carrying a shutout into the eighth inning of a scoreless NCAA Regional Championship game. He allowed a pair of hits in the eighth and the UK bullpen allowed a three-run homer to put two runs on his line. Combined over the two-day span in the NCAA Tournament, Shepherd tossed 10.2 innings and 106 pitches, with the UK bullpen allowing the only two runs on his line.
A powerful 6-foot-1 left-handed hitter, Boehm was a force offensively during the summer for the same Amsterdam Mohawks team paced by Shepherd. Boehm started 36 games during the summer, batting .326 (46-for-141), with 11 doubles, one homer and 21 RBI, stealing four bases. On the mound, Boehm appeared in six innings with seven strikeouts in five relief outings. Boehm and Shepherd joined UK sophomore right-hander Taylor Martin on Amsterdam, with Martin owning a 3-2 record and a 3.71 ERA in nine starts, striking out 49 and walking 19 in 51 innings. A 6-foot-4 product of Lexington Catholic, Martin appeared in six games in relief for UK in 2012, owning a 2.25 ERA.