Dec. 2, 2008

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Former Kentucky standout southpaw Andrew Albers, a native of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, has been selected to the first-team All-Canada collegiate team and current junior James Paxton was named to the third-team, it was announced on Tuesday by the Canadian Baseball Network.

Albers, a UK letterwinner from 2004-08, exited Lexington as one of the more prolific pitchers in the 104-year history of the program. Functioning as a weekend starter, stopper and closer out of the bullpen during his career, Albers racked up 81 career appearances, fifth all-time and his 20 career wins are tied for fourth-place in UK annals. With 12 career saves, Albers ranks third in UK history. The physical and vocal leader of the UK pitching staff throughout his career, Albers led UK with 31 appearances in 2008, earning a 2.40 ERA and a 7-4 record, totaling five saves. Starting a team-high 15 games in 2007, Albers totaled a 6-5 record and a 4.85 ERA, striking out 51 in 72.1 innings. In 2008, Albers struck out 64 in 56.1 innings, allowing just 45 hits.

A 10th-round pick of the San Diego Padres in the 2008 MLB Draft, Albers began his professional career with the Arizona Rookie League Padres, working in five games with two starts, logging seven innings and striking out seven, earning a 1-0 record and a perfect 0.00 ERA.

Albers had a career week in 2008, en route to SEC Pitcher of the Week honors on April 28. He pitched on back-to-back days twice in his four appearances during a six-game UK week, which included a series win over No. 10 Vanderbilt in Nashville. The senior earned two saves during the week, notching a 1.23 ERA in 7.1 innings, allowing only three hits, one run and striking out seven. Albers allowed opponents to hit for a measly .136 average, closing out UK’s two-series clinching wins on Saturday and Sunday at Vanderbilt with his first two saves of the season.

Albers got Sunday’s series-winning save at No. 10 Vanderbilt on April 27, coming on in a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth inning with UK nursing a 3-1 lead. Albers immediately induced an inning-ending double play to get out of the jam, then proceeded to throw a perfect bottom of the ninth, striking out two in the final frame. In the Saturday win at Vandy, Albers came on with one out and runners on first and second, getting out of the jam with two outs, finishing of the game with two scoreless innings for his first save of the season. In a midweek game at Louisville, Albers came in during a tie game, with one-out and a runner on first in the eighth inning, immediately inducing an inning-ending double play. In front of a school-record crowd at Western Kentucky on a Wednesday, Albers emerged from the bullpen in the seventh with a 2-1 UK lead and a runner on first. Albers got UK out of the jam, tossing two perfect innings with three strikeouts, getting the first two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, working a 1-2 count on the final hitter, before handing the ball over to Scott Green who threw one pitch to get the save.

During his four-year career, Albers helped lead the Wildcats to two NCAA Regional Championship games and the 2006 Southeastern Conference Championship. In his four years, UK won a school-record 151 games.

Over the last three seasons, UK’s 122 total wins rank fourth in the SEC, behind only Vanderbilt (133), South Carolina (127) and Ole Miss (123). Arkansas (116), Georgia (115), LSU (113), Alabama (113), Mississippi State (98), Florida (91), Tennessee (92) and Auburn (81) round out the SEC win totals over the last three years. In SEC play alone, UK’s 49 wins rank tied for fourth-best in the conference with Georgia, behind only Vanderbilt (53), Alabama (51) and Arkansas (50).

Albers was one of three Canadian natives on the UK roster in 2008, joining fellow southpaw James Paxton and infielder Chris Bisson. Paxton, a native of Ladner, British Columbia, earned third-team All-Canada honors after posting a 4-2 record and a 2.92 ERA in 2008. Paxton, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound junior, worked in 52.1 innings, striking out 43 and allowing just 46 hits in his 17 games in 2008. After finding the weekend rotation midway through the season, Paxton battled minor injury issues that limited his effectiveness. Paxton, whose 11 starts ranked third on UK in 2008, had the game of his season in a complete-game shutout over Ole Miss in the final regular-season weekend, locking up a SEC Tournament spot for the Wildcats with a stellar performance on the bump.

All-Canada team results are complied from a voting panel of 42, with numbers totaled by accounting firm, Grant Thornton. The 42 experts came from a vast cross section from both sides of the border – coaches (14), executives (eight), scouts (eight), scouting directors (three), former players (three), writers (three) and broadcaster (one), in addition to the Canadian Baseball Network staff.

Albers earned All-Canadian Team Honorable Mention in 2006 and 2007.

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