Yesterday was a dark day for Kentucky Baseball. The Cats did not get a bid for the NCAA Tournament thanks to their 13-18 conference record. The end of the 2018 season also brought the end to five seniors’ careers. Troy Squires, Luke Heyer, Luke Becker, Brad Schaenzer, and Alec Maley saw their UK careers come to a close yesterday.
Thank you to our seniors and the entire Becker, Heyer, Maley, Schaenzer and Squires families for everything you’ve given our program. You will always have an Old Kentucky Home. #FAMILY #WeAreUK #ThankfulTuesday pic.twitter.com/q9elm6WO0E
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) May 29, 2018
The three guys that UK will miss the most will be their three senior position players. Squires, Heyer, and Becker were three of the anchors for the loaded 2018 lineup. Heyer was second in the SEC in home runs and RBIs in his senior season and finished six home runs away from tying the single-season UK record for home runs. Heyer is a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, which will be announced next month. The breakout season for Heyer helped him to rise up draft boards this spring. The third baseman can hit for power, play good defense at different positions, and will be easy to sign.
Replacing Squires and Becker will not be easy. Both players were excellent hitters and their senior leadership was unmatched. Squires, the senior catcher, helped with UK’s young pitchers throughout the course of the season. At the plate, the Elizabethtown-native drove in a career-high 51 runs in 2018 and won SEC Player of the Week once. Much like Squires, Becker worked as a mentor to many around the team. He was also one of the most consistent players on the team. Becker finished with a career .390 OBP at UK and hit 15 career home runs. Both Squires and Becker will hear their names called at some point in next week’s MLB Draft.
Schaenzer and Maley did well in 2018 considering the circumstances. Both of UK’s senior pitchers were forced into new roles this season thanks to injuries to UK’s top arms. Schaenzer started five games (Including three in a week’s span) and worked as the primary left-handed bullpen arm for the pitching staff. Maley made 19 appearances out of the bullpen. The sidearmer struck out 24 batters in 28 career innings.
The Cats will say goodbye to their five seniors this week, but there will be more departures in the next month. UK has a bevy of players that will most likely sign pro contracts after they are drafted next week. We will have full predictions for the MLB Draft and updates on where former Cats are selected.