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  • T.J. Collett Will Return to Kentucky for 2021 Season

    The senior first baseman named 2020 Mr. Wildcat will take advantage of NCAA eligibility relief for spring sports

    LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky senior first baseman T.J. Collett will return for the 2021 season, taking advantage of the NCAA’s ruling on eligibility relief for spring sports student-athletes whose season was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    He joins fellow senior Zeke Lewis in returning to Lexington for a final season.

    “Four years ago, BBN welcomed me with open arms,” Collett said. “During my time in Lexington, the University of Kentucky has given me every opportunity and resource to become the best version of myself, both on and off the field. Wearing the Blue and White has been an absolute honor and incredibly fun. That’s why I’ll be wearing it for one final ride.

    “I can’t wait to give everything I have to my teammates, coaches and fans. I’m blessed Mr. Barnhart and Coach Mingione are giving me the opportunity to go out on my own terms. See you in the fall, BBN!”

    Collett, a first baseman from Terre Haute, Indiana, has proven to be one of the nation’s premier power hitters during his career. He clubbed five home runs in just 69 at-bats this spring and now has 26 for his career, averaging one every 14.9 times he steps into the batter’s box. He recorded his 100th career hit this season and finished the 2020 season batting .290 with 10 extra-base hits, 17 RBI and a stout .931 OPS.

    The 6-foot-1, 220-pounder is a two-time National and Southeastern Conference Player of the Week who has hit .269 with 44 extra-base hits, 97 RBI and a .519 slugging percentage in 118 career games.

    Collett also has starred off the field while at UK, recently being named the athletic department’s Mr. Wildcat and being inducted into the prestigious Frank G. Ham Society of Character for his work in the community. He is a 2020 SEC Brad Davis Community Service Award recipient and a two-time member of the SEC Community Service Team who has been instrumental in UK baseball's community outreach and service initiatives. He is heavily involved with the NEGU/Jessie Rees Foundation, whose mission is connecting with families of young cancer patients, bringing awareness to their stories, offering them a network of helpful resources and sending the entire family encouragement throughout their journey.

    NEGU, which stands for Never Ever Give Up, has worked with Collett on bringing children and their families to UK home baseball games to experience pregame activities on the field and in the dugout, as well as be announced during the game. As part of his work with NEGU, Collett has spearheaded an effort where members of the UK baseball team delivery Joy Jars to young cancer patients. The jars are stuffed with toys, games, and other things to brighten patients’ days while fighting the disease.


    Photo courtesy UK Athletics

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. dan_bgblue's Avatar
      dan_bgblue -
      [QUOTE=kingcat;646060]Can we be a good baseball team?[/QUOTE

      Did they hire a new head coach, recruit 4 new quality starting pitchers, sign 5 new players that can play mostly error free ball and have 6 players bat in the .310 or better range?

      How many yes answers did you give? If the number is less then 4 then my reply is no.
    1. kingcat's Avatar
      kingcat -
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Earlier Zeke Lewis announcement.

      Zeke Lewis Will Return to Kentucky for 2021 Season

      The senior infielder will take advantage of NCAA eligibility relief for spring sports

      LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky senior infielder Zeke Lewis will return for the 2021 season, taking advantage of the NCAA’s ruling on eligibility relief for spring sports student-athletes whose season was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

      An Atlanta native, Lewis was enjoying the best season of his career this spring, batting .378 in 14 games with nine runs scored, seven RBI and five stolen bases. He finished the campaign with hits in 12 of his final 21 at-bats spanning a career-long seven-game hitting streak. The versatile switch-hitter was primarily a second baseman but also could play outfield, shortstop and third base.

      “I can’t express how grateful I am to have worn Kentucky across my chest during my collegiate career,” Lewis said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better place to call home and develop as a student, person and player.

      “With that being said, I’m excited to say I’ll be returning to UK for my final year of eligibility. I can’t wait to get back to campus with my brothers and accomplish something that’s never been done before. Go Cats!”

      For his career, Lewis has appeared in 115 games, including 43 starts. He has scored 47 runs, driven in 21, collected six doubles and two home runs while going 17-of-20 in stolen base attempts. He has crushed left-handed pitching in his career, batting .391 in 2019 as part of a career .317 average from the right-side of the plate.

      Off the diamond, Lewis graduated in May from the College of Fine Arts with a degree in Arts Administration. He is an accomplished musician whose work has garnered the attention of opponents – former Missouri star Trey Harris used one of Lewis’ songs as his walk-up music – and the SEC Network, which featured his work during a 2018 broadcast.

      Lewis is the first UK senior to announce his intention to return to the program for a final season. Fellow seniors T.J. Collett, Elliott Curtis and Jaren Shelby continue to work through their decisions.
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      Kingcat, I wanted you to be sure and see this part...

      Off the diamond, Lewis graduated in May from the College of Fine Arts with a degree in Arts Administration. He is an accomplished musician whose work has garnered the attention of opponents – former Missouri star Trey Harris used one of Lewis’ songs as his walk-up music – and the SEC Network, which featured his work during a 2018 broadcast.
    1. dan_bgblue's Avatar
      dan_bgblue -
      Lewis is a potent shot in the arm.