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Five Things To Know Before Kentucky Baseball’s Scrimmage Against Xavier

Yep, tomorrow’s Caturday. The Cats take on South Carolina tomorrow at 7:30 in what will be the second biggest game of the weekend on the campus of the University of Kentucky. Eight and a half hours before the Cats kick off, the BatCats will host the Xavier Musketeers in a fall scrimmage. The exhibition will be the first game played at UK Baseball’s new stadium. There will plenty of buzz around campus tomorrow, and the opening of the BatCats’ new stadium should only add to the excitement. Here are five things you need to know before you head to tomorrow’s scrimmage.

This is the First of Two Fall Scrimmages

The NCAA blessed baseball fans across the country when it was announced earlier this year that teams would be allowed to scrimmage two opponents each fall. UK took advantage of this new rule and scheduled games against Xavier and Michigan. The Wolverines will travel to Lexington on October 14th for the second scrimmage of the fall. There is always a level of excitement when the team begins intrasquad scrimmages, but the concept of playing competition outside of your team is fantastic. Nick Mingione and his staff will get an early look at how their new group handles live competition with these scrimmages.

Fans Will Get Their First Look at the New Stadium

It feels like just yesterday that UK Baseball broke ground on their new home. Flash forward a year and a half and the stadium is ready to roll for Saturday’s scrimmage. The game will be free and seating is on a first come, first served basis. Check out the video of Kentucky’s players seeing their new home for the first time in August.

 

We Will Get a Look at UK’s 2018 Recruiting Class

Nick Mingione put together an impressive recruiting class in his second year in Lexington. The 2018 class was ranked 24th by Baseball America thanks to Cole Ayers and Will Gambino coming to campus and turning down pro contracts. Unfortunately for UK fans, they will have to wait to see Jaren Shelby and Dalton Reed. Derek Terry announced that the two JUCO transfers will miss Saturday’s scrimmage against Xavier. It will be interesting to get an early peek at the guys at the newcomers that will fill the spots left by the 13 players that signed pro contracts this summer.

The Return of UK’s Fireballers

Last season ended with plenty of questions. The biggest question was “If Kentucky’s pitching staff were healthy, how far could the team have gone?” UK had several prominent arms go down late in 2018 as the Cats’ season crumbled down the stretch. Saturday’s scrimmage will allow fans to see a couple of those pitchers return to the mound for the Cats. Zack Thompson and Carson Coleman should see time on the mound tomorrow after missing parts of last season with arm injuries. Saturday could be the first time that we see some of the talented freshmen from the 2017 class that missed last season due to Tommy John Surgery. Ben Jordan and Brad Dobzanski will be ready for the 2018 regular season and we could see them this weekend against Xavier.

It’s Coltyn Kessler Time

I have been a huge Coltyn Kessler fan since his first start last spring. The sophomore catcher/first baseman started nine games as a freshman and collected five hits. The ball jumps off Kessler’s bat and he has the ability to hit for power. The Missouri-native drove in 21 runs and hit .292 this summer in the Texas Collegiate League. Kessler will take over for Kole Cottam and Troy Squires as a sophomore. If Kessler gets a consistent number of at-bats, I think he will be a special player at the plate.

The scrimmage will start tomorrow at 11 ET at the new home of Kentucky Baseball. Before you start tailgating, take an early look at this year’s UK Baseball team. 

 

 


UK Baseball will play an exhibition at the new stadium Saturday

UK Baseball will play an exhibition at the new stadium Saturday

In a bit of news that slipped under the radar yesterday, the Kentucky Baseball team will play a pair of exhibition games at their new $49 million stadium this fall. This Saturday, the Bat Cats will host Xavier at 11 a.m. and on October 14, they’ll host Michigan (time TBD).

Both exhibitions are free to the public. Tickets are not needed for entry and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis in the main seating bowl. Gates for Saturday’s first exhibition will open at 10:45 a.m. Fans with football gameday parking permits are encouraged to park in their permitted lot and walk to the new baseball stadium. For those wishing just to attend the baseball game, they may park in the Purple Lot on a first-come, first-served basis until full or nearby non-permit parking structures two, three and six. All vehicles that do not have a football parking pass or are not in their correct lot must be moved by 3:30 p.m.

Baseball exhibition in the morning, tailgating in the afternoon, huge football game vs. South Carolina at night. Even Mother Nature’s smiling at that combo, with temperatures forecasted to be in the low 70s and not a raindrop or cloud in sight.

The south side of campus sure is looking pretty:


via UK Athletics

LOOK: UK Baseball Unveils New Space to the Team

via @UKBaseball Twitter

Yesterday, Head Baseball Coach Nick Mingione, Former Coach Keith Madison and UK’s Baseball Team took a special walk-through of the new and very improved baseball facilities. Construction on the $49 million new stadium is still ongoing but according to these pictures – I’d say so far, so good.

Take a look for yourself:

Here are some highlights:

 

via UK Athletics

“This place is unbelievable. It’s going to be great for the program. It’s really awesome,” Sophomore Pitcher Carson Coleman told UK Athletics in an article outlying all the details of the new space.

For a full gallery of pictures, you can go here. 


Photo: UKAthletics.com

UK pitcher among 10 best college players in 2019 draft class

Photo: UKAthletics.com

Kentucky’s Zack Thompson had an outstanding freshman season on the mound for the Wildcats in 2017 and followed it up with another good year in 2018, despite being injured through much of the conference slate. In his two seasons in Lexington, the lefty has a 10-4 record with a 3.88 earned run average and 138 strikeouts in 106.2 innings. His opponents are hitting just .195 against him and he ranks second on the program’s career hits allowed per nine innings with just 6.24.

Looking ahead to his third season, Thompson is garnering some national attention and is projected to be a serious MLB prospect. In fact, MLB.com lists him as one of the 10 best college players in the 2019 MLB Draft.

Here’s what the website had to say:

7. Zack Thompson, LHP, Kentucky: Thompson may have at least partially answered some questions about his elbow, which forced him out of action for a chunk of his sophomore season, while pitching for Team USA this summer. He tossed 8 2/3 scoreless innings over three appearances and while he did walk five, he only allowed three hits and struck out seven. Yes, he’ll have to show he’s durable for a full season in the spring, but this was a nice finish to a disappointing season. [MLB.com]

Thompson was the only SEC player on the list, surprisingly.

[MLB.com: 10 best college players in the 2019 Draft class]


KSR Baseball Podcast E39: Doug Flynn

It’s time for another exciting edition of the KSR Baseball Podcast!

In episode 39, coach Keith Madison and KSR baseball aficionado Trey Huntsman discuss the following:

-Update on former UK players in the pros
-Early preview of next year’s UK roster
-Coach Madison’s thoughts on the championship changing play in the College World Series
-Coach Madison talks Mississippi State coaching change and how they feel for Coach Henderson after leading the team to CWS.

Then, former Major League Baseball infielder and Lexington native Doug Flynn joins the show to talk about:

-Update on the Reds, what’s standing out
-Thoughts on their draft picks
-Does he think they’ll make any moves at the All Star break?
-Likes way Reds are playing but making crucial mistakes costing them games
-Change in players in current era of baseball
-Players he likes around the league
-3rd annual Bluegrass World Series coming up in early August in Louisville — big-time former MLB stars playing in the event
-Coach Madison plays his lightning round game with Doug Flynn

And to close, the trio gives a special tribute to Kentucky legend Frank Ramsey — did you know he was also an All-SEC baseball player at UK for two years?

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to Kentucky Sports Radio on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.


Two Kentucky Pitchers Sign Pro Contracts

UK Athletics

Kentucky pitchers Chris Machamer and Andrew Miller have agreed to professional contracts according to Jim Callis of MLB.com. With the signings of Machamer and Miller, all 13 UK draft picks have inked professional contracts.

UK had to feel confident about Machamer returning in 2019. The former UK closer was drafted in the 16th round after leading the Cats in saves as a draft-eligible sophomore. Machamer had reported to the Cape Cod League and pitched in two games before signing with the Boston Red Sox this week. By pitching in the Cape, it appeared that Machamer had made the decision not to sign with Boston. But nearly a month after the draft, Machamer put pen to paper and signed with the Red Sox for $213,000.

There was no bigger surprise than Andrew Miller signing with the Miami Marlins. Miller sat out the 2018 season due to NCAA transfer rules and Tommy John surgery, but the Marlins must have seen something they liked in Miller in his time at Maryland. Miami selected Miller in the 40th round and gave him a $150,000 signing bonus.

Next season might be tough on the starting rotation. Miller and Machamer were expected to compete for starting spots in a rotation that does not return a pitcher who threw 50 or more innings last season. Nick Mingione and Jimmy Belanger will have their work cut out for them as they look to replace six pitchers from last year’s team.


@UKBaseball

Zack Thompson Dominates In Team USA Debut

@UKBaseball

Zack Thompson announced his presence with authority against Chinese Taipei on Saturday. The lefty struck out four and did not allow a hit in his first appearance for the USA Collegiate National Team. Chinese Taipei’s offense was silent when Thompson was on the mound. Thompson walked two but did not allow a runner to reach scoring position in his three innings of work.

Playing for Team USA is one of the highest honors a collegiate player can receive. The 2018 team includes Golden Spikes winner Andrew Vaughn (Cal) and College World Series MVP Adley Rutschman (Oregon State). Thompson proved he deserved to represent his country when he tied team highs in strikeouts and innings pitched in his summer debut.

It is good to see Thompson returning to his true form. The Indiana native missed a large part of his sophomore season thanks to a nagging flexor injury. In 31 innings in 2018, Thompson struck out 42 and allowed 17 runs. The junior lefty is expected to be the top arm for the Cats in 2019.

Thompson will most likely start for Team USA next week against Japan and against Cuba the following week. 


Tristan Pompey signs with Marlins for $645K

UK Athletics

Former UK outfielder Tristan Pompey inked his deal with the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.

The third-round selection signed a contract for $645,000, slightly above the allotted value of the 89th pick in the draft.

Pompey leaves UK ranked 18th on the school’s all-time hits list after 193 hits in his three seasons in Lexington. He hit a combined .321 in 165 games over the course of his career, with 136 runs, 46 doubles, one triple, 24 home runs, 113 RBI, 99 walks, 21 stolen bases and an OPS of .947. The 46 doubles and 99 walks each rank 11th in school history.


The KSR Baseball Podcast E38: ESPN’s Mike Rooney

Before the college baseball seasons reaches a conclusion in Omaha at the College World Series, listen to the latest edition of the KSR Baseball Podcast.  Coach Madison is joined by ESPN baseball analyst Mike Rooney to talk about a variety of topics, like…

—  What’s a StitchHead? Baseball Lingo Explained.

—  The Best Nicknames in Baseball.

—  Thoughts on Miss. State’s new head coach and what’s next for Gary Henderson.

—  Breaking Down and Predicting the College World Series Final.

—  The Reds are actually winning baseball games?  What’s going on?!?!?!

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to Kentucky Sports Radio on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.