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Baseball

Riley Mahan named ABCA Third-Team All-American

UK Athletics

A crucial piece of this year’s BatCats, Riley Mahan can now add another honor to his growing list as he was named ABCA Third-Team All-American today.

Mahan was also second-team All-SEC, All-American Honors from Collegiate Baseball, third-team honors from Baseball America and was a Dick Howser Trophy semifinalist.

The second-baseman was selected as the 89th overall pick in the third round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Miami Marlins. Mahan had a career year in his final season at UK with a .336 batting average with 58 runs, 41 extra base hits – including 15 homeruns.


Go behind the scenes of the Seattle Mariners’ selection of Evan White

@Mariners

The Seattle Mariners selected Kentucky first baseman Evan White with the 17th-overall pick in the first round of the 2017 MLB Draft on Monday.

White was a player the Mariners had their eye on all season.

“We got a player in mind that we’re hoping to get, Evan White, first baseman University of Kentucky,” southeast regional scout supervisor Jesse Kapellusch said.

It’s awesome to see White go to a team that really wanted him. I know Big Blue Nation will be keeping a close eye on White throughout his professional career.

 


Wednesday’s Top 10: PJ Washington’s threes, former Cats working out, baseball Cats getting drafted

Wednesday’s Top 10: PJ Washington’s threes, former Cats working out, baseball Cats getting drafted

Between the giant fire at a high rise in London and GOP Majority Whip Steve Scalise being shot at the GOP baseball practice in Virginia, it’s a pretty sobering morning, which makes pictures like the one above an even more welcome respite. Shoutout to these Kentucky fans for repping the Cats atop this beautiful mountain. Location is unknown, but man, that’s pretty.

Our thoughts out to all of those affected by the fire in London and the shooting in Virginia. Kentucky senator Rand Paul was at the practice at the time of the shooting and is unharmed. He’s doing interviews on all the major outlets, so turn one of them on to hear his account of it. The shooter, thankfully, is in custody.

There’s no way to transition from this, but so let’s just move on to today’s top 10.

1. Basketball jersey numbers were released

Yesterday, UK released the jersey numbers of the new guys and the returning guys. Two “vets” switched numbers: Hamidou Diallo from No. 4 to No. 3 (if you read KSR on Monday, you already knew that) and Brad Calipari from No. 20 to No. 12. Maybe he can pay for his mom and sister to get new jerseys.

Here are all of the numbers:

0 – Quade Green
1 – Sacha Killeya-Jones
2 – Jarred Vanderbilt
3 – Hamidou Diallo
4 – Nick Richards
5 – Kevin Knox
10 – Jonny David
12 – Brad Calipari
13 – Jemarl Baker
14 – Tai Wynyard
22 – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
25 – P.J. Washington
30 – Dillon Pulliam
32 – Wenyen Gabriel

2. ICYMI, Calipari says Jarred Vanderbilt will be fine

The biggest news from Calipari’s summer presser was that he expects Jarred Vanderbilt to be back to playing basketball in about two weeks. Vanderbilt suffered a mysterious left foot injury during the Jordan Brand Classic two months ago and hasn’t played since, but Calipari said the UK medical staff examined him and they’re holding him out for two more weeks just to be cautious.

“He’s not started playing. Probably two weeks before he’ll really get full going into what we’re doing here, but I think he’ll be fine. There aren’t any issues, it’s just – like I told his family – this is June. I just want to make sure when we get in November he’s in his stride. Right now, taking a couple weeks off. We had him with our doctors and with the trainers, just making sure, giving him a couple weeks. But he’ll be fine. He’s in good shape.”

Good to hear.

3. PJ Washington’s three-point shot looks pretty nice in this video

Before arriving at Kentucky last week, Washington worked on his three-point shot in Dallas, Texas. Let this video serve as a reminder of just how versatile Washington and fellow forwards Jarred Vanderbilt and Kevin Knox are.

4. Malik Monk is working out for the 76ers

The Sixers have the third pick in the draft, in addition to a boatload of second round picks, and today, they’ll host Malik Monk for an individual workout. I’d be surprised to see Monk go as high as three, but Calipari wouldn’t be.

“No, I think Malik is, I would say he’s a (No.) 3, 6, 7 (pick) maybe,” Cal said during yesterday’s teleconference. “That’s what I would guess. Fox is a (No.) 2 to 5 (pick), possibly. I would say Bam is anywhere from (No.) 9, 10 to 14, 15 (pick), in that range. There were teams that Isaac went and worked for and they liked him. The job that I’m hearing Isaiah is doing, and those guys, they’re going to have their opportunities now. That would be my guess of what I’m hearing.”

5. De’Aaron Fox thought his workout with the Lakers went well

Yesterday, Fox had his all-important solo workout with the Lakers, who have the second pick in the draft, and told reporters he thought it went well. Hear all of his comments below:

In other workout news, Derek Willis will work out for the Detroit Pistons today. Good luck, Derek.

6. Calipari will be at the draft

Even though Cal will be in Colorado Springs next week for the U19 National Team training camp, he will fire up the private jet to detour to New York the night of Thursday, June 22 to see his guys on “graduation night.” Jerry Tipton seemed to be doing his best to frame the question to make it seem like flying to the draft for the night would mean neglecting his duties at training camp, but Cal ended all of that with a simple, “My plan is to be at the draft.” Nice try, Jerry.

7. Five more baseball Cats were drafted

The Major League Baseball Draft continued yesterday, and several more Cats got opportunities at the next level following Evan White’s selection at No. 17 Monday night:

  • #89 (3rd round): Sophomore INF Riley Mahan, Miami Marlins
  • #171 (6th round): Senior RHP Logan Salow, Oakland Athletics
  • #220 (7th round): Junior RHP Zach Pop, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • #279 (9th round): Junior LHP Zach Logue, Toronto Blue Jays
  • #310 (10th round): Senior OF Zach Reks, Los Angeles Dodgers

Head coach Nick Mingione was also named the 2017 Perfect Game/Rawlings Coach of the Year for college baseball. Congrats, everyone.

8. Workout video of the day: UK Strength Coach Rob Harris

Need some motivation to get in the gym? All you need to do is watch this video of UK Basketball Strength Coach Rob Harris punishing the ropes and sled in a recent workout:

Okay, no more complaining about my Tracy Anderson tapes.

9. Anyone watch the 30 for 30 on the Celtics/Lakers last night?

I wasn’t able to start it last night, but I’ve heard ESPN’s three-part, five-hour documentary on the Celtics/Lakers rivalry is awesome. That rivalry was a little bit before my time, so I’m really looking forward to delving into it when I get some time this weekend.

10. KSR is in Russell Springs today

If you’re in the area, get on out to the Lawless-Smith True Value to check out the show and register for the chance to win tickets to a game this season. As an extra treat, country star Wheeler Walker will call in, which means Shannon better have his finger on the dump button because anything could happen.


UK Fans in Bora Bora want a Day Two MLB Draft Roundup

@Garrett_md

I was pretty excited to spend a weekend in the Florida panhandle, until I saw this snapshot from Bora Bora.  This weekend will be an enjoyable, much-needed getaway, but it can’t be compared to the spectacular French Polynesian scenery.  Until then, here’s more sports ball…

In the second day of the MLB Draft, hundreds of prospects were chosen in rounds three through ten.  Ten rounds in two days seems like a lot, but not in Major League Baseball.  Today is significant because it’s a good line of demarcation.  College juniors picked before the tenth round usually choose decide to take their talents to the professional ranks.  Of course, there are exceptions for all rules, but it’s a good one to know.

Today five Kentucky baseball players joined first rounder Evan White, pushing UK’s 2017 total to six, two more than in 2016.  That total will grow when more will hit the board tomorrow in rounds 11-40.  Drew’s already informed you of a few big selections, but here’s every the skinny on every UK baseball player selected today.

Riley Mahan

After earning Third Team All-American honors from Baseball America, the second basemen was selected in the third round with the 89th pick by the Miami Marlins.  In his junior year, Mahan hit .336, 15 home runs, 67 RBIs and 58 runs scored.

Logan Salow

Kentucky’s left-handed closer was selected in the sixth round by the Oakland A’s with pick No. 171.  In his senior season he had 12 saves, tying a school record.  Salow had a 1.95 ERA in 55 1/3 innings, striking out 73 and walking just 17 batters.

Zach Pop

The powerful right-handed pitcher missed much of the second half of the season with tenderness in his right elbow, but it didn’t stop the L.A. Dodgers from drafting him in the seventh round with pick No. 220.  Arguably the Cats’ top pitching prospect entering the season, Pop’s fastball touched 98 MPH on more than one occasion.

Zach Logue

The left-handed pitcher was UK’s Saturday starter in 2017 before they entered postseason play.  The junior was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth round with pick No. 279.

Zach Reks

The outfielder will join Pop in the Dodgers’ farm system, drafted in the 10th round with pick No. 310.  Reks hit .352, three home runs, 44 RBIs and scored 44 runs in his senior season.


UK pitcher selected by Oakland Athletics in sixth round

@UKBaseball

The Oakland A’s drafted Logan Salow with the No. 171 overall pick, in the sixth round today. The Ashland, Ky. native was the Cats’ senior closer in 2017, a season in which he threw 73 strikeouts and gave up only 37 hits in 55.1 innings pitched with a 1.95 ERA. At one point in the year he went through 30 batters without allowing a baserunner, and his 12 saves on the year tied him for second on the UK single-season saves record.

Salow is the third Wildcat that has been selected so far in the draft. UK first baseman Evan White was selected 17th overall by the Seattle Mariners on Monday; second baseman Riley Mahan was drafted by the Miami Marlins at No. 89 overall on Tuesday.

Go Cats.


Nick Mingione named Perfect Game/Rawlings Coach of the Year

Add another major accomplishment to Nick Mingione’s shelf through his first season as UK’s head baseball coach.

Today the first-year skipper was named the 2017 Perfect Game/Rawlings Coach of the Year for college baseball. “It’s only one year but it’s pretty clear that the culture for the Kentucky baseball program has already changed, significantly,” the Perfect Game release says.

As you know, Mingione took the Wildcats to the program’s first ever Super Regional, only to fall to a very talented Louisville team in Louisville this past weekend. Kentucky finished the season 43-23 with signature series wins over Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Missouri, LSU and South Carolina.

Louisville’s Brendan McKay, who beat Kentucky in its last game, won the Player of the Year award.

Go Mingione.


Riley Mahan picked in third round of MLB draft

@UKBaseball

Another Kentucky Wildcat is off the board in the MLB draft.

Sophomore infielder Riley Mahan was selected 89th overall, a third-round selection, by the Miami Marlins. Mahan will join fellow Wildcat alum and infielder J.T. Riddle in the Miami organization. We could one day see Mahan on second and Riddle at short.

Mahan was a three-time SEC Player of the Week this past season, while Baseball America named him to its third All-America team.

He is the second Wildcat to be drafted through the first two days of the draft, joining first basemen Evan White, the No. 17 overall selection.

Go Cats.


Evan White Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in First Round of the MLB Draft

UK Athletics

With the 17th pick in the 2017 MLB Draft, the Seattle Mariners selected Kentucky first basement Evan White.

Considered one of the best defensive first basemen in the country, his bat was underrated.  He hit a team-high .373, slugged .637, hit 10 home runs, 24 doubles and 41 RBIs.  He was at his best when it mattered most, getting four hits in eight Super Regional at-bats.  White will end his three-year career on UK’s top five list of hits, doubles and batting average.

The junior is just the fifth first round selection in school history.  He’s the school’s first position player to be drafted since 1996 and the first UK player picked in the first round since 2011.  A second team All-SEC selection in 2016 and 2017, he was named to the SEC’s All-Defensive Team every single year at Kentucky.


Previewing Tonight’s MLB Draft For The BatCats

UK Athletics

Tonight marks the beginning of the 40-round MLB Draft. The BatCats will have several players that will go in the first two days of the Draft, including projected first-rounder Evan White. The first two rounds of the Draft will take place tonight on MLB Network, so read up on where Kentucky players could potentially land this year.

Evan White, Junior, First Baseman- There have been big-league scouting reports on White since he got to campus three years ago. White is the most athletic first basemen in all of amateur baseball. He has great range at first and covers the bag extremely well. Many coaches have called him the best defensive first baseman they have ever seen, and Coach Madison compares him to Keith Hernandez. Besides winning a Gold Glove and being named to the All-SEC Defensive Team, White has a plus bat as well. White hit .318 as a freshman and .378 last year. The big year last year led to White being named to Team USA where he played for scouts all summer. White battled injuries early but still lead the team in average. He doesn’t have the same kind of power that many first base prospects have, but he hits for a high average and will most likely stick at first. White’s performance in the postseason only helped his stock. All projections have White going in the top 20. The Giants, Blue Jays, and Yankees have been tied to White since projections began.

Projected Round- Top 20 picks

Perfect Fit: Toronto Blue Jays- The Jays will be down for some time. White would be on a fast track to the majors and could stick within the next two years as the Jays build a new team.

Zach Pop, Junior, Pitcher- The tall righty made quite an impact coming out of the bullpen this year. Pop sits around 97 when he is on with a nice slider. He started some last year but has been exclusively a bullpen guy in 2017. The late season forearm injury sidelined him for over a month and will most likely affect where he lands in the Draft. For teams interested in Pop, it will all be about upside. For me, I think someone should take him and develop him into a dominant bullpen guy.

Projected Round- Fifth Round

Perfect Fit: Atlanta Braves- After developing the likes of Craig Kimbrel, the Braves know how to handle closers. Pop could take his time rising through their system and work on commanding his fastball.

UK Athletics

Riley Mahan, Junior, Infielder- Mahan is one of the hardest guys to place in this Draft. Baseball America has him listed as a top 100 prospect, but other sites don’t have him listed in the top 200. I think this comes back to the defense. He struggled at shortstop but found some improvement at second base. What he doesn’t show in the field he makes up for at the plate. Mahan led the team in home runs and RBIs as he was named SEC Player of the Week three times. I really like Mahan as an offensive guy in this draft. There will be a team that takes a chance on him and puts him in rookie ball or extended spring training to work out the defensive issues. He will be one of the steals of the Draft if his offense continues to improve.

Projected Round- Third Round

Perfect Fit: Colorado Rockies- The mile high air would be perfect for Mahan. The Rockies also developed Trevor Story, Tro Tulowitzki, and Forrest Wall into quality bats recently. His rise to the big leagues would be in several hitter-friendly parks as well.

Justin Lewis, RS Sophomore, Pitcher- Even with Sean Hjelle dominating on Friday nights, no one showed better stuff at times than Lewis. Teams will love the fastball/changeup mix that the 6’7″ righty brings to the table. Lewis took a no-hitter past the fifth inning twice this year as a redshirt sophomore. The issue for Lewis late in the season was walking batters. He just needs to work on commanding those pitches as his changeup is one of the best in the entire Draft.

Projected Round- 7th-10th Rounds

Perfect Fit: St. Louis Cardinals- With two plus pitches, Lewis is very projectable. The Cardinals are well known for developing pitchers, and Lewis would fit well in this system.

(Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

Zach Reks, Senior, Outfielder- Reks has not received much love on draft rankings in the last week, and I do not know why. He will be an easy sign, he has done nothing but hit, and he is a good baserunner. After walking on at UK, Reks was excellent. As a senior, Reks hit .352 stole 15 bases and had a fielding percentage of .991 in left field.

Projected Round- 12th round.

Perfect Fit: San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox

Logan Salow, Senior, Pitcher- Salow’s strikeout numbers went through the roof as a senior. He will be able to be signed for well below slot as a senior. Salow pitched 55.1 innings this season and struck out 73 batters on his way to All-SEC honors. It is yet to be seen if Salow will carry that mojo into the next level, but I feel like Salow will be developed as a late reliever for the remainder of his career.

Projected Round- 8th Round

Perfect Fit: San Francisco Giants

Other Players that will be drafted

Zach Logue, Junior, Pitcher

Troy Squires, Junior, Catcher

Connor Heady, Senior, Shortstop

Marcus Carson, Senior, Outfielder


MLB Draft begins Tomorrow

Just when you thought baseball season was done for the Cats, tomorrow brings the start to the MLB Draft. For those that are Reds fans, like myself, this draft brings a lot of intrigue as to who they might pick. Will it be Vanderbilt’s Kyle Wright? High Schooler Hunter Greene? Or even Louisville’s Brendan McKay?

Not an MLB fan? Well, the start of the draft still should bring some attention for you. Kentucky 1st Baseman, Evan White, is a projected first round pick. White finished the season with a .373 average, 10 home runs and 41 RBI’s. White is an intriguing prospect, because of how polished of a hitter he is. This year’s draft class doesn’t have many strong bats, which should play into his favor. Over the past few days, multiple sites have been putting forth their final mock drafts. Here is where White is projected currently:

Website Projection
Baseball America #15- Astros
Sporting News #23- Dodgers
CBS Sports #12- Pirates
Bleacher Report #19- Giants

Pitcher Justin Lewis will also likely hear his name called, as well as Ballard High School star Jordan Adell, who is a projected first round pick.


Entering Dead Period Day 1

UK Athletics

Once the buzzer sounded against North Carolina back in March, a lot of us probably entered into stasis, beginning the long wait until football season rolled back around. At that time, fans were in mourning, and even for those paying attention, it was unclear just how successful Nick Mingione’s squad would be.

Low and behold, UK Baseball came roaring in to help bridge that always dreadful summer gap. Yesterday’s defeat came only after the team had reached the greatest success in program history, and for them to wind up in a showdown with Louisville, maybe the only team in the country that would’ve drawn out fans in such droves, was icing on the cake. Had the Cats played anyone else, you can be certain the fever pitch would’ve never grown as loud as it did yesterday.

The expectation of success always haunts the basketball team. Qualifying for a bowl game tends to be the make or break moment for the football team. The baseball team, however, isn’t shackled quite so much. Their success this season has turned the Big Blue Nation’s eyes back towards the diamond, and fans seem to be eager to see just how good they can become in the coming years with Mingione at the helm.

So congrats again to the baseball team on a great season. You guys have earned the newfound support you’ll have at the beginning of next year.

In the meantime, (sigh) 83 days ’til kickoff.

@JayWinkKSR


UK Athletics

Kentucky’s Season Ends With 6-2 Loss To Louisville

UK Athletics

Kentucky’s record-breaking season came to an end today. Brendan McKay and Louisville were too much for the Cats as they fell 6-2 in today’s Super Regional. Evan White collected two hits and Sean Hjelle allowed four runs in 5.1 innings as the starter.

Drew Ellis killed UK with a three-run home run off Zach Logue in game one. He went back to the well for two more bombs today against Sean Hjelle. The first of the day came in the second inning when Hjelle left a pitch up in the zone that Ellis sent over the wall in left-center to give Louisville a 1-0 lead.

Hjelle was able to settle down after the early mistake. He stranded two runners in the third and seemed to settle in during the fourth inning. The only issue for UK was that Brendan McKay was settling in as well. Kentucky’s gameplan of not being aggressive and taking pitches didn’t have much of an effect early, but it did keep McKay from going as deep as he could have gone. McKay had to throw a lot of pitches early, but UK could not get anything going offensively.

Louisville began to add on in the fifth and sixth innings. Logan Taylor and Colby Fitch both reached with one out in the fifth before Devin Mann flew out to score Taylor from third. Hjelle pitched into the sixth and hit a wall. Ellis got all over a pitch and homered for the second time off Hjelle to send UK’s starter to the dugout. Zach Pop entered with one out and a man on first. Josh Stowers greeted him with a RBI triple down the left field line as the Cards increased their lead to three. Pop loaded the bases and was immediately removed for Logan Salow. Thanks to some slick fielding by Evan White, UK got out of the jam with a double play.

Trailing by three, UK looked to be rallying in the sixth. White and Reks singled with one out and moved up on a balk by McKay. The National Player of the Year settled in and struck out two to end the threat.

Kentucky’s approach at the plate began to pay off in the bottom of the seventh. With McKay over 95 pitches, the Cats put runners at the corners with no outs. Tristan Pompey delivered a RBI single to center to chase McKay with two outs in the seventh.

 

Sam Bordner entered and walked White to start his outing. Bordner settled in and struck out Zach Reks to leave the bases loaded. It was yet another opportunity to get a big inning that UK could not capitalize on.

The impact of leaving the bases loaded was felt immediately. Salow allowed a two-strike, two-out double by Taylor to score Tyler Fitzgerald from first. One more run came around on a single by Mann that dropped in no man’s land to give Louisville a 6-2 lead. 

Justin Lewis entered for Salow in the ninth. Lewis was supposed to start tomorrow if necessary, but Nick Mingione went to him with a runner on in the ninth. Lewis allowed a single but that was all as he got UK to the bottom of the ninth.

UK was unable to get another rally in the bottom of the ninth and dropped the second game of the Super Regional. Kentucky finished 43-23 on the season but finished two wins from Omaha.

 


Notes From Today’s Press Conference

UK Athletics

Coach Nick Mingione was joined by Evan White and Riley Mahan on the podium following today’s 6-2 loss. Here are several notes from the tough press conference following the season’s end.

This season was important on and off the field- Coach Mingione automatically went back to his adage of “student, person, player” in today’s press conference. “We told them we were going to hold them accountable for every move they make, and when you do that, it starts in the classroom,” Mingione said. “Then, the decisions they make off the field and how they’re going to practice and approach each day.” Mingione stayed on the theme of family and relationships throughout the postgame.

This team had a huge effect on Mingione and his family- Coach Mingione made sure that he created a family environment from the moment he got to campus. He wanted all the players, coaches, families, and staff to be a unit.  Mingione said in his opening statement “They probably think that myself and our coaches changed their lives, but more importantly, I promise they changed my wife and my son’s lives the way they have touched our coaches.” Mingione got choked up in the postgame talking about the effect this team had.

Kentucky did things that this program had never seen- “We knew from day one we were going to do things that had never been done,” Mahan said. This UK team went to the first Super Regional in school history, had the SEC Coach of the Year and Pitcher of the Year, and put the program in the national eye. Less than a year after being hired, Mingione took this team to new heights. Normally, it takes several years to put a team into the top ten nationally. Mingione did it in 362 days.


There’s an Addition to the Rally Cup Cap

There’s an Addition to the Rally Cup Cap

Kentucky’s infamous Rally Cup Cap looks a little different today.  Austin Keen has created a hammer to accompany the horned cap.

The Cats need the rallying power of Thor’s hammer. They trail Louisville 2-0 after Drew Ellis hit his second homerun of the series in the second inning. They just added another run off a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth.


There’s a Change in the UK Baseball Starting Lineup

Fans filled the plaza before the gates opened, via @JohnWDRB.

In today’s Super Regional elimination game, Nick Mingione is making a change behind the plate.  Troy Squires is replacing Kole Cottam to catch for Sean Hjelle.

Cottam’s hot bat helped UK reach this point, that’s why he’ll stay in the lineup as a DH, replacing Luke Becker’s mullet.  Cottam’s double off the right field wall against N.C. State gave Kentucky the lead for good in the Regional Final.

Yesterday Cottam caused some commotion, jawing with Drew Ellis after Ellie hit a three-run homerun in the fifth inning.  That altercation, and Squires’ elite defending ability, is probably why Cottam will only hit today against UofL.

@UKBaseball

The first pitch is at 12:04 on ESPN.