Jul 29, 2012 7:11 PM
Kentucky sophomore southpaw Corey Littrell has been awarded the Rawlings Gold Glove, given annually to the nation's top defensive pitcher and voted on by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
A native of Louisville, Ky., Littrell led the Southeastern Conference in pickoffs during the record-breaking season as UK's Sunday starter. Littrell posted a 9-2 record and a 2.74 ERA in 16 starts for UK, tossing 98.2 innings and striking out 87. The Trinity High School product picked off seven runners to pace the SEC and allowed only two stolen bases in six attempts.
Littrell is the second player in program history to win the ABCA Rawlings Gold Glove, joining second baseman Ryan Wilkes in 2008. Wilkes completed the 2008 season with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage as UK's everyday second baseman. Littrell will receive the sparkling Rawlings Gold Glove trophy, featuring the iconic gold glove, to commemorate his stellar defensive season.
The Rawlings Gold Glove award winners consist of the top defensive players at each position in the NCAA. Littrell was the only sophomore and the only SEC player awarded and joins Buffalo outfielder Jason Kanzler as the only players on the nine-man team returning for the 2013 season.
During his second-team All-SEC season as UK's Sunday starter, Littrell was named a semifinalist for the College Baseball Hall of Fame National Pitcher of the Year Award. The 6-foot-3 lefty won the fourth-most games in UK single-season history and became just the second player since 1987 to win nine games. With a 2.74 ERA, Littrell's mark is good for eighth-best in UK season history. In the SEC, he ranked seventh in ERA, sixth in innings pitched, sixth in strikeouts and third in wins.
Littrell hurled 10 quality starts in 2012 and posted a staggering 9-1 record with a 1.48 ERA in those quality outings. During a six-start stretch to open SEC play, Littrell took the mound to lead UK to wins in a rubber match or to seal a series sweep.
The starter on Sunday night for first-place Harwich in the Cape Cod League, Littrell has continued his stellar 2012 season into the summer. Littrell has made six starts in the CCBL and tossed 28 innings, walking nine and striking out 39 to rank sixth in the circuit.
Littrell, who owned a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 2012, helped captain a UK defensive unit that set the school team record with a .976 fielding mark. The record eclipsed the .974 fielding percentage of the Wilkes-led 2008 team and marked just the second .970-or-better fielding percentage in UK program history. UK also broke the school record for most putouts (1710) and the fewest errors (59). In addition, UK allowed the fewest stolen bases in the SEC for the fifth time in the last six years. Showcasing UK's record-breaking range, freshman Austin Cousino set a school record for putouts by an outfielder and sophomore Matt Reida recorded the second-most defensive assists by a shortstop in program history.