UK Baseball 02 300LEXINGTON, Ky. (2/10/14) – There is one common thread that stands out when looking at the most successful teams in Kentucky history: leadership.

The 2006 Southeastern Conference Championship team had Andrew Albers, Collin Cowgill and Ryan Strieby.

The 2008 club had Albers, Cowgill and Sawyer Carroll.

In 2012, UK was led by star catcher Luke Maile, All-SEC third baseman Thomas McCarthy and fiery closer Trevor Gott.

Entering the 2014 season, Kentucky is hoping that its leadership will come in the form of its dynamic junior centerfielder, Austin Cousino, who has earned rave reviews for his progress as a vocal and emotional forerunner during the fall and preseason.

  • As a freshman on the 2012 record-setting club, Cousino played a key role as the leadoff hitter and defensive dynamo in centerfield.
  • He and Maile tied for the team lead with a .319 average, with Cousino belting nine homers and driving in 41 runs en route to SEC Freshman of the Year honors.
  • While hitting leadoff in 62 games, Cousino was the sparkplug at the top of the order and brought an energetic presence to the UK club.
  • Following the summer, Cousino went on to lead the USA Collegiate National Team in hitting, including a historic series win in Cuba and a gold medal at Honkbal Week in the Netherlands.
  • That led to the Dublin, Ohio, native entering his sophomore year as the Baseball America preseason SEC player of the year.


The 5-foot-10, 185-pound left-handed hitter got off to a slow start in non-league play, as teams worked around the dynamic hitter with a blossoming résumé.

He finished with a .249 average, belting 12 doubles, one triple, six homers and 27 RBI, stealing 14 bases. In SEC play alone, Cousino finished with a .270 average.

“It definitely humbled me,” Cousino said. “It can only help because some people never experience that kind of failure before, maybe not until their second or third year of pro ball. Looking back on it, obvi-ously it was tough, it was a roller coaster, but I learned a lot about myself and how to overcome it. You can take for granted sometimes what you’ve done in the past. The SEC is a grind and it is not how you start but how you finish. You can look at that from freshman year. It is a long season and you have to take it one at-bat, one pitch at a time.”

Defensively he continued to shine, becoming the third player in program history to win the Rawlings Gold Glove, given to the nation’s top outfielder.

“It was something that couldn’t have happened without the pitching staff and the players around me,” Cousino said. “It was a cool award to win. Other than that it is just something that you put on the shelf and you look back on. The team goals are something that you really want. To be able to host and get to a super (regional) and make it to Omaha is the priority.”

After the 2013 campaign, Cousino joined Team USA for a second tour, batting .273 in 22 games and 19 starts, belting one homer and driving in seven runs.

“It is always a cool experience to be a part of USA Baseball,” Cousino said. “It is first class and everything you do with it is enjoyable. It is fun. It is entertaining. You get to do a lot of cool stuff. But the best part is the relationships that you form and the people that you meet.”

He was joined for the first portion of the summer by his UK classmate, two-way standout A.J. Reed, who split time between Team USA and the Cape Cod League.

“A.J. was my locker mate (with Team USA),” Cousino said. “It was cool, knowing someone that you are close to going into it made it a bit more comfortable. He is a great player. And while he didn’t stay the whole summer, he did play to the best of his abilities while he was there and he enjoyed the whole experience.”

Following the summer, Cousino arrived in Lexington for the fall practice season focused and prepared to help lead the Wildcats back where they left off in 2012.

“The swing is good,” UK head coach Gary Henderson said about Cousino’s development through the fall. “He has worked hard. You are going to see a stronger body and a little bit more athletic look. The swing has always been nice. It has been a pretty swing, really. What you are going to see is a much more disciplined approach and a freer mind. We are really excited about what Austin has done.”

After a great fall, Cousino earned praise for his on-field progress but most notably to the UK coaching staff was his vocal leadership presence.

“That is the coolest part about this team is everyone buys in,” Cousino said. “We have great leadership this year. We have some kids that like each other and we are excited to get the season going. Everyone is aware and everyone is important. There is no separation because at the end of the year in a regional, you just don’t know who you are going to need in a 22-inning game. We have guys that came in focused from day one and it is great that the younger guys were open to the older guys leading the way, Micheal Thomas, A.J., Max, Reida, Chandler. The new guys didn’t come in hard-headed but just with a knack to work hard. They understand how we want to do things around the program and we have done a pretty good job so far.”

SurfKY News
Information provided by UK Athletics

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

In Other News...

Owensboro, Hopkinsville Scrimmage Set for Aug. 14

OWENSBORO, Ky. (7/31/15) — No strangers on the gridiron, Hopkinsville and Owensboro will meet for a scrimmage on Aug.… Read More

Owensboro Catholic, Henderson to Meet on Neutral Field

OWENSBORO, Ky. (7/31/15) — The Henderson County and Owensboro Catholic football teams will meet on a neutral field for… Read More
1 DOW 17,689.86
-56.12 (-0.32%)    
2 S&P 2,103.84
-4.79 (-0.23%)    
3 NASDAQ 5,128.28
-0.50 (-0.01%)    

Most Read This Week

July 27, 2015 5703

Death of Central City Man in Dawson Springs Under…

by SurfKY News
July 27, 2015 3749

School System Announces Free Lunch/Breakfast at…

by SurfKY News
July 30, 2015 2938

Webster Man Leads Police on Chase through Parts…

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 2820

Miss Hopkins County Fair 2015 Chosen

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 28, 2015 2449

Hanson, Owensboro, Bowling Green Youths Win at…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

July 02, 2015 19809

Emergency Response Team on Scene of Standoff on…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
July 17, 2015 16121

Muhlenberg Most Wanted - Top 10

by SurfKY News

Stories Trending Now

July 30, 2015 2938

Webster Man Leads Police on Chase through Parts…

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 2820

Miss Hopkins County Fair 2015 Chosen

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 29, 2015 1514

24th Annual Miss Teen Hopkins County Fair Pageant…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 1302

Little Miss, Mister Hopkins County Fair Chosen

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 29, 2015 1209

Hanson City Council Discusses Boundaries, Zoning

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 30, 2015 1094

UPDATE: Body of Missing 8 Year Old Found; No Foul…

by SurfKY News
July 30, 2015 1000

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports Released -…

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 767

Hopkins District Court Fines Handed Down

by SurfKY News
July 31, 2015 678

State Fair President Commends Hopkins County Fair…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
July 30, 2015 637

Two Teens Face Multiple Charges Including Burglary

by SurfKY News