It was a good season for the Rachel Lawson and the Cats in 2018 as they finished with a record of 41-20 playing against the second toughest schedule in the nation. Working their way to a 16 seed in the NCAA tournament in the process. But, unfortunately, that good season would come to an end tonight as they ran into the buzzsaw that was Miranda Elish once again.
Elish carried her dominant performance from last night into tonight, as she finished the night with seven strikeouts, one earned run, and four hits in five innings of work. Even though Elish was once again dominant, what killed the Cats was a seven-run 2nd inning, and from there it seemed over.
In the 2nd inning, the Ducks had two home runs, a solo shot from Rhodes and a grand slam from Sanders. Throw in two RBI singles, and you get a disaster inning. The Ducks would score three more in the third to give them a comfortable ten run lead.
In the top half of the next inning, senior Brooklin Hinz would hit a home run to try to will the Wildcats back into the game, but it just wasn’t enough as that would be Kentucky’s only run of the night.
The Ducks would go on to tack on one more in the fourth to beat the Cats 11-1 in five innings and advance to the college world series.
Kentucky just didn’t have it tonight, and it was just the wrong night to have a bad night, but that shouldn’t take away from a spectacular year from the Kentucky softball team. Kentucky will lose three seniors this year; Rachael Metzger, Brooklin Hinz, and Erin Rethlake, who all had great careers and moments at the University of Kentucky. Most notably they were all apart of the only Softball team in school history to go to the world series. They will be Wildcats forever. Salute to those three seniors on great careers at UK, and they will be missed next year.
Oregon advances out of the 2018 Eugene Super Regional.
— Kentucky Softball (@UKsoftball) May 27, 2018
Next year Kentucky will return a lot, including seven starters. Notably, they will return home run leader Abbey Cheek, batting Average leader Bailey Vick, Standout shortstop Katie Reed, four-hole hitter Alex Martens and two great arms in Grace Baalman and Autumn Humes. Not to mention two freshmen who had great seasons in Mallory Peyton and Lauren Johnson.
While things are gloom right now, there is a lot of optimism that Kentucky will be back and better next year. Salute to you ladies on a great season.
The Packers began their first phase of organized team activities this past week as former Kentucky Wildcat Randall Cobb prepares for his 8th NFL season.
Cobb has a little bit of an adjustment to make with the off-season release of veteran receiver Jordy Nelson. Cobb is now the oldest receiver on the Packers roster at 27 years old.
The former Kentucky star will not change his approach much, telling reporters “I’m going to continue doing the things that I was doing when Jordy was here – it’s leading by example. It’s doing what you know you’re supposed to be doing, being the teammate that you know you can be, and just being able to fill in and answer questions whenever guys have them and being able to show them techniques and how we do things to help get you open on the field.”
With the departure of Nelson comes the arrival of former Saints and Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham, at 6’7 265 pounds the former Miami product gives Aaron Rodgers a big target to rely on.
Rodgers will have a variety of players to throw to in Cobb, Graham, Geronimo Allison and 5th year receiver Davante Adams who is coming off his first pro bowl season.
Adams remembers his first encounter with Cobb in 2014 falsely believing that the receiver was a 10 year veteran by how he acted when in reality Cobb was just 24 years old.
Adams offered high praise of Cobb as a player and teammate, “He’s a young 27, definitely is. He’s an incredible athlete. He’s still got the burners and he has a lot to offer for the young guys, as well. You go out there and you watch how he gets down on the field, he’s consistent and he’s one of the best, one of the hardest-working guys in the game and in practice and things like that. It makes it easy for the young guys to pick up on that.”
The Packers and Cobb are expecting bounce back years as the injury to Rodgers was too much for both to overcome in 2017.
For more on the progression of Cobb and Adams, click here.
By Eli Mitchell on ©May 26th, 2018 @ 10:00pm
Some interesting news came out of Prestonsburg yesterday as a man was released from jail only to be put back in on the same day. The reason he was put back into jail is the interesting part.
Ron Charles was found shortly after his initial release wearing his jailhouse jumpsuit, sandals, and socks.
He told police he had just been released from jail while admitting that he stole the jumpsuit because he thought it would be “cool”. Smart move, Mr. Charles.
Charles was arrested again and charged with second-degree disorderly conduct, menacing and theft by unlawful taking under $500.
*Insert joke about things like this only happening in Kentucky*
Tune into ESPN now to watch your Kentucky Softball team face off against Oregon in Jane Sanders Stadium in Eugene for a spot in the College Softball World Series.
In an elimination game a quick start will be a major key for the Cats after a rough outing in Game 2.
It all comes down to this.
Super Regionals. Game three. 9 p.m. ET. ESPN.
Winner to OKC. pic.twitter.com/9ORVykg65H
— Kentucky Softball (@UKsoftball) May 26, 2018
Let’s go Cats!
In his first two NBA seasons Devin Booker has clearly established himself as one of the rising players in this league with averages of 22.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.4 assists.
It must not be enough for someone as a “fan” decided to mention Booker on Twitter earlier today.
You will never be a allstar !
— Ap Dradez (@Bardock7115) May 26, 2018
The former Kentucky Wildcat had a pretty good response for “Ap Dradez”.
I couldn’t live like u… that’s just me tho… https://t.co/HQsTyVNBxR
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) May 26, 2018
The claim that Booker will never be an All-Star is pretty ridiculous considering the path that his career is currently on. We’re talking about someone that scored 70 points against the Boston Celtics as a 20 year old. He’ll have his time as an All-Star.
Booker doesn’t have much time to think about hecklers on Twitter as he is busy promoting his Limited Edition Kobe’s that came on sale in April.
Easily the most significant story we’re going to follow from the football team this summer is the quarterback battle between Terry Wilson and Gunnar Hoak. Going into the spring game, I think there was a notion that Terry would have the upper hand and for a good reason. Terry was a highly touted transfer who was initially committed to Oregon, then later went to JUCO. With the skill set described to resemble Stephen Johnson, fans and coaches were excited to see him commit to the Cats. But, as it’s been discussed before, don’t be surprised if Gunnar takes the job.
Both quarterbacks are very talented and are very capable of winning games for UK, so Stoops and his staff really can’t go wrong with either, but there’s no denying that their playstyles are very different. Oddly enough they both display traits of Stephen Johnson. Gunnar has his mind right like Stephen’s, in the sense of being cool calm and collected in the pocket. Nothing too special but he won’t cost your team the game. Terry, on the other hand, has accuracy issues, but he has skills Gunnar doesn’t posses like moving out of the pocket and extending a play. Also reminiscent of Stephen Johnson.
While Terry might be the better-skilled quarterback, Gunnar might fit this offense better. This is an offense that’s going to rely on Benny Snell, so this offense will need a game manager that won’t turn over the ball and that’s what Gunnar can bring to this offense. Gunnar won’t be the flashy quarterback who can run around like Terry or make the flashy plays, but he won’t need to do that this year.
When you look at Kentucky’s offense they’re supposed to have a great offensive line, a Heisman caliber running back, a top prospect at tight end, and a decent receiving core. This offense won’t need a flashy run-around quarterback. Gunnar is a safe, accurate quarterback who won’t do too much and that’s really all this offense needs.
Now, this isn’t a post to discredit Terry or to show favoritism for Gunnar. Terry is still a great dual-threat quarterback who can bring a lot to this offense especially if he can make the reads like Stephen Johnson then I think he could elevate this offense to another level. This post is to show this quarterback battle won’t have a clear-cut favorite until maybe June or July.
If Gunnar does so happen to win the job, I still think Terry will be the starter at some point. Gunnar could do the simple things early, like handing the ball off or getting the ball to CJ. Then with this offense is ready to add another dimension I think Terry could step in then.
Whoever wins the job, or if they both do, and whatever identity this offense takes, I believe both quarterbacks are capable of producing wins for the Wildcats this fall.
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 26th, 2018 @ 4:00pm
The magnitude of tonight’s game is enormous. With a chance to go to the world series and a season both on the line tonight, there are many components to tonight’s game that will determine the outcome. Whether it’s Oregon’s pitching or Kentucky’s bats prevailing, these will be the keys to tonight’s crucial game three.
1. Kleist or Elish
Tonight Mike White will have a tough decision to face heading into game three, does he start the PAC-12 Pitcher of the Year or does he ride with what worked last night in Miranda Elish. Like I mentioned last night, Kleist’s approach seems to benefit Kentucky more, but after the year she’s had I wouldn’t be surprised if Oregon went with her in game three. I believe the signs are pointing to her starting as well, last night Mike White sent her to the bullpen that way she could see herself throw good pitches ahead of another performance. IF Mike White rolls with Kleist tonight it will be interesting to see if the Cats can elevate the ball more tonight and get some runs on the board, or if they go with Elish again, what type of adjustments will Kentucky make to get on base.
2. How will Kentucky’s Bats Respond?
The Cats’ bats were cooled off last night after looking unstoppable in their first four postseason games, even Abbey Cheek was held at bay. Against a team like Oregon, they have to hit, relying on their pitching staff and defense won’t get it done. Not saying Rethlake can shut this Oregon team down because I believe she is fully capable, but in the first two games of this Super Regional the Ducks have seen all three UK pitchers twice, so they will have a feel of what each pitcher is bringing to the table. They will have to score, and if the top of the lineup can set the tone early for Kentucky, I think the Cats should fair well tonight.
3. How Loose will Kentucky Play?
In game one Kentucky came in with a nothing to lose, us against the world mentality and it worked. From the first pitch, you could see they were confident and had no fear of the Ducks. Last night seemed to be a different story, while they were loose before the game running routes in the outfield when the game started, it looked like Oregon had all the energy, and that would carry throughout the game. If Kentucky comes out unphased and gets the energy going early, I believe it will be a fun night for Rachel Lawson and the Wildcats.
4. Kentucky is Battle Tested
Finally, the most important aspect of tonight’s game, Kentucky is battle tested. Kentucky had the second strongest strength of schedule this season in softball and played in the toughest conference. Kentucky has honestly prepared for this moment all season, and it will be interesting to see if their strength of schedule will benefit them tonight against their toughest opponent yet.
If Kentucky can capitalize on all of these tonight, they will be in good shape to head to the College World Series for the second time in school history. First Pitch is slated for 9 pm ET on ESPN.
By Trey Huntsman on ©May 26th, 2018 @ 3:30pm
Kentucky finds themselves scoreboard watching this weekend after losing in the SEC Tournament on Tuesday. The Cats (34-22, 13-18) are sweating out the long week leading up to Monday’s Selection Show after a disappointing end to their season. UK is projected as one of the last teams into the field of 64, but a little scoreboard watching can never hurt. With the Cats on the bubble, here are five teams that need to lose to help the Cats’ chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament.
Arizona: There will be plenty of UK fans watching late night games out west. In this game, the BatCats need Oregon to upset Arizona (33-22, RPI:50) and win the series. Not finishing .500 or better in the PAC-12 will hurt the Wildcats, as well as SEVEN losses to teams outside the RPI top 100. Arizona is most likely out of the tournament, but definitely keep an eye on what happens in Eugene tonight.
Washington: Coming into the weekend, the Huskies (30-22, RPI:60) were firmly on the bubble. They have since turned the tables and are now in a position to win the PAC-12 after taking the first two games of their series against the #3 Cardinal. It is believed that U-Dub is safe even if they were to lose today.
North Florida: The Atlantic Sun will get two teams in with Jacksonville and #13 Stetson. The North Florida Osprey knocked off Jacksonville yesterday and will need to beat Stetson twice today to give the conference three teams in the NCAA Tournament. UNF won’t get into the field of 64 without winning the A-Sun Tournament, so all bubble teams need the Osprey to lose to ensure the A-Sun stays a two-bid league.
Pittsburgh: Yep, UK fans need to root for Louisville today in the ACC Tournament against Pitt. The Panthers have to win the tournament to get into the field of 64 after barely finishing over .500 this season. Pitt has gotten hot in their conference tournament and now stand two wins away from clinching the automatic bid for the ACC. The Panthers would be a huge bid stealer if they beat Louisville today and win Sunday’s title game. It would be perfect if Louisville could win today against Pitt and then get beat tomorrow to keep them from hosting a regional.
Bradley: The Missouri Valley is a lot like the A-Sun. The conference has two teams (Dallas Baptist, Missouri State) that would get in as at-large teams, but Bradley is still alive in the MVC Tournament as a potential bid stealer. The Braves play DBU this afternoon for the right to play MSU later tonight.
Other teams of that need to lose to help UK reach the NCAA Tournament: West Virginia, TCU, Illinois, Purdue, Texas State.
For updates on college baseball across the country, follow @TreyHuntsmanKSR.
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 26th, 2018 @ 3:00pm
I have a new favorite baseball player, and his name is Todd Peterson.
Peterson is a right-handed pitcher for the LSU Tigers, who before Wednesday, never had a collegiate hit. But, during an elimination game in the SEC tournament against South Carolina, he had no choice but to hit during the 12th inning. In his first at-bat for the Tigers, Peterson hit a two-run double to give the Tigers a three-run lead in the top of the 12th. This double would end up winning the game for the Tigers as the Gamecocks would strike for one run in the 12th.
In his first at-bat for @LSUbaseball, Todd Peterson just hit a two-run double in the 12th inning.
Yes, that really happened. pic.twitter.com/ukCzk16ekb
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) May 25, 2018
Peterson would shut the door as well.
.@LSUbaseball wins it in 12 innings!
Final | LSU 6, South Carolina 4 pic.twitter.com/mRioQrNRl2
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) May 25, 2018
Here’s what Peterson had to say after the game in this comical interview.
Todd Peterson’s post game interview was pure electricity pic.twitter.com/kxSCMxdB67
— Barstool LSU (#4 2018 Basketball Recruiting Class) (@LSUBarstool) May 25, 2018
Later, Peterson would come clean about his hitting career in high school in the postgame press conference.
— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) May 25, 2018
I know he doesn’t play for coach Minge, but it’s hard for me not to enjoy watching this kid in interviews. He’s even great with kids, how could you not love this guy?
— Jacques Doucet (@JacquesDoucet) May 26, 2018
Former Cat James Paxton is on fire. Just two and a half weeks after throwing a no hitter, Paxton hurled another gem last night against the Minnesota Twins.
The Canadian born southpaw threw seven innings of one run baseball, while also striking out 11 people. Paxton improved his record on the year to 4-1 with an ERA of 3.10. In his last 7 starts, Paxton is 3-0 with a 2.44 ERA.
Watch the highlights from Paxton’s gem here:
— Mariners (@Mariners) May 26, 2018
Paxton’s Mariners are winners of six of their last seven games. Good luck to him the rest of the season. With how my Reds are doing this season, I need something to cheer for over the next couple of months, especially come September/October.
By Sam Gormley on ©May 26th, 2018 @ 1:00pm
During his previous nine seasons at Kentucky, John Calipari has had a lot of teams loaded with talent. Countless McDonalds All-Americans, five-stars and even the occasional four-star have all made their impact on the Blue and White.
A lot of players have made impacts on their team that were unprecedented, but is there a player that was more unappreciated than Julius Mays?
Mays was a graduate transfer for Cal from Wright State. In his one year in Dayton, Mays averaged 14.1 points a game. This came after spending two years at NC State.
After losing pretty much everything off of the 2012 National Championship team, Calipari had to get creative. He of course had his recruiting class that featured Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin, Willie Cauley-Stein and headlined by Nerlens Noel. He also had NC State transfer Ryan Harrow waiting in the wings to take over the starting point guard spot from Marquis Teague.
The thing that the team really needed was experience and scoring. Julius Mays brought both of those things to the table. Did his game blow you away? No, but his leadership on the court did.
We all know how that season ended up. I do not need to go into details on that, but I am curious as to how much worse it would have been without Julius Mays. Other than Nerlens, I think that Mays was the most important player on the team.
I think back to what was, at the time, the most important game of the season for the Cats. College Gameday was in town for a mid-February game against Missouri. Kentucky needed a win in the worst kind of way. They had struggled following the injury to Nerlens Noel.
Mays turned in a masterful performance by scoring a season-high 24 points to lead Kentucky to a 90-83 Overtime win over the Tigers. He played 44 of a possible 45 minutes.
Like I said, his stats would never blow you away, but it was the leadership that for the most part helped keep the team together. Yes, I know they didn’t make the tournament, but they were still on the bubble up until Selection Sunday. Julius deserves a lot of thanks for that. In my opinion, he doesn’t get nearly the respect he deserves.
How I remember Julius Mays at Kentucky is simple. I think it is best described through two pictures:
This picture is Mays carrying Archie Goodwin off the floor after Goodwin got hurt during the Morehead State game. While the injury wasn’t serious, you can tell what the relatiomship was between the freshman and senior.
Then there is this picture. On Senior Night, Mays with his mom and daughter. It is one of my favorite senior night pictures. Such a small moment, but with so much meaning.
Julius Mays is the most under-appreciated player of the Calipari era. There are definitely others, but I think Mays leads the way.
It is a busy day for birthdays of former Kentucky basketball players. While some may have come before your time, there are still some big names of more recent years. Please share any specific memories you have of these specific players in the comments.
Carl “Hoot” Combs played two years for Kentucky basketball from 1939-1941. A native of Hazard, Kentucky, Combs also was a member of the Kentucky football team. He was Honorable Mention All-SEC in basketball and played running back and defensive back for Ab Kirwan and the football team.
Following his playing career, Combs served with the Army’s 1st Armored Division in North Africa and Italy during World War II. When he returned from war, the former Cat became the Public Address announcer for the final 10 years at Memorial Coliseum.
Combs passed away at the age of 89 on February 24th, 2007.
Mr. Basketball 1966 Mike Casey would have been 70 years old today. The member of both the state of Kentucky Hall of Fame and the UK Hall of Fame played three years on the hardwood.
Casey was a graduate of Shelby County High School in Simpsonville. During his Kentucky career, he was named first-team All-SEC during all three of his playing years. Over his four years in Lexington, Casey averaged 18.1 points per game.
Before Casey’s junior season, he was in a car accident, in which he suffered a broken leg, which forced him to miss the entire 1969-70 season.
He passed away on April 8th, 2009 at the age of 60.
Today would also have been Ed Davender’s 52nd birthday. Arguably one of the most underrated players in the history of Kentucky basketball, Davender averaged nearly 13 points and 4 assists a game during his time in Lexington.
The Brooklyn, NY native ranks near the top of many of Kentucky’s statistical rankings. One of the most impressive though is that he took more free throws than any other guard in UK history. His 554 free throw attempts rank fourth in history with only Kenny Walker, Dan Issel and Cotton Nash attempting more.
Davender passed away two years ago after suffering a heart attack. He was 49. Jerry Tipton wrote a fantastic obituary about Davender. In it, you will find quotations from Joe B. Hall, Rex Chapman and others that knew him. You can find that by clicking here.
After serving in the United State Navy, James Jordan attended the University of North Carolina. After two years in Chapel Hill, he transferred to Kentucky to finish out his career. Jordan is the only player in the history of both programs to play for both teams.
A member of the 1948 National Championship team, Jordan scored 124 points over his career. After graduating, Jordan attended law school where he gained a law degree and practiced law for the next 35 years.
James Jordan passed away in 1999, but his obituary says that he was an avid golfer and follower of College Basketball until the day he died. Today he would have been 93.
Former Kentucky basketball player Deward Compton turns 97 today. Compton only played two years for Kentucky; scoring only 26 points in 10 games. He went on to transfer to Louisville where he averaged over 10 points in his senior season. He was then drafted by Philadelphia in the 1948 NBA Draft.
Former Cat, “Razor” Ramon Harris turns 30 years old today. To this day, Harris remains to be the only player to ever play for Kentucky basketball that was from Alaska. Don’t quote me, but my guess is it is a safe bet to guess he is the only one in the entire athletic department to ever be from Alaska.
Harris played for three different coaches during his time in Lexington. Over his three and a half years, the Alaska native averaged 3.4 points and 2.8 rebounds a game.
After Kentucky, Harris has continued to play professional basketball in the G League, Venezuela, Germany, Mexico and currently in Greece.
This season in Greece, he is averaging 9.2 points and 5.2 rebounds for Kolossos H Hotels basketball.
That is all of your birthdays for today, May 26th, 2018. A special thank you to Big Blue History for stats and pictures. If you have never checked out their site, you have to. They have gone through and created a true encyclopedia for Kentucky basketball. It is fascinating for stats nerds like myself. You can check out the website by clicking here.
Remember to leave any specific memories of these players in the comments below or let me know on Twitter @GormleyKSR.
By Sam Gormley on ©May 26th, 2018 @ 11:00am
De’Aaron Fox entered his rookie season in Sacramento with a lot of pressure. He was the first round pick of a franchise that really hasn’t been good in a long time. To add gas to the fire, Fox was surrounded by a lot of youth and inexperience.
Fox’s first season wasn’t bad. He finished the year averaging 11.6 points and 4.4 rebounds a game.
In order to prepare for next month’s NBA Draft, the Sacramento Bee is profiling each of the Kings’ positions relative to how and who they should draft. The first installment discusses the point guard position for the team. On Fox, they say:
The Kings believe Fox is an All-Star talent, but they want to see him become more of a leader and take more control of the team in his second season. That means being the hardest worker, demanding more of his teammates and establishing the Kings’ style of play by being assertive.
Fox proved he could make clutch shots and at times was a pest on defense, but that must become more consistent.
I think that those are fair criticisms of the former Cat. We all know the inconsistency of his three-pointer. If he can become more consistent shooting that shot and continue to improve upon his already good defensive skills, he could become a yearly All-Star.
You can read more about Fox and the rest of the Kings point guard position by clicking here. In it, you will find some interesting “possible point guard draft picks” to pair up with Fox.
Since we are talking about Fox, it just gives me another reason to watch his highlights from the UCLA Sweet 16 game again. Lonzo who?
After dominating much of their games this postseason, the University of Kentucky softball team unfortunately could not get anything going late Friday night as they lost game two of their series with the Oregon Ducks 6-1.
Oregon Pitcher Miranda Elish had the Cats figured out as she only allowed two hits all game and retired the first nine batters. In fact, Kentucky only had two balls leave the infield in the entire matchup. Elish dealt a total of seven strikeouts in the complete game, including five straight between the second and third innings.
Kentucky will now play a winner take-all game tonight against the Ducks at 9 PM ET on ESPN. The winner gets a trip to Oklahoma City and the College World Series. No pressure at all ladies. It’s just the entire season riding on one game. Hopefully they will have better luck at the plate tonight.
LeBron James Further Cements His Legacy
Spoiler alert: LeBron James is very, very good at basketball.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 26, 2018
Last night, James basically carried the Cavaliers to a Game 6 victory over the Boston Celtics as he scored 46 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and notched 9 assists. I’ve never really been a huge LeBron fan personally, but watching this kind of greatness is truly special.
Even if the Cavs don’t win Game 7, the mere fact that James has gotten his team this far is just silly. If the Celtics do win Game 7, then there is a very good chance that we all just witnessed James’s last home game as a Cleveland Cavalier, and wow what a game it was.
I love comparing him to Michael Jordan all the time as does everyone in the sports world seems to be doing at the moment. I can’t really blame them either as his greatness demands it.
But for right now we all just need to live in the moment and respect the greatness we are witnessing. Let’s hold off on the comparisons until after James is done with this postseason at least. Instead, we should be looking at his incredible stats like this one and wonder how on Earth anyone could hate this amazing basketball player:
LeBron James records his 7th 40-point game this postseason, tied for the 2nd-most in a single postseason with Michael Jordan, who did it in 1989.
Only Jerry West has more, with 8 in 1965
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 26, 2018
Anthony Davis Eligible For Biggest Contract in NBA History
As our own Zack Geoghegan recently wrote, Davis is now eligible to receive a supermax contract after being named to the All-NBA First Team. Davis can sign an extension with the Pelicans in 2021 in lieu of his $28 million player option which would then result in him being the highest paid player in NBA history.
Davis’ supermax contract would be somewhere in the five-year, $230 million range. Yup. You read that correctly. Davis could be making $46 million a season for dribbling a basketball.
If the Pelicans somehow screw this up and do not offer Davis the supermax, it would be a huge mistake. Normally I would say that an NBA player just isn’t worth that much much money, but I think Davis is one of four players (LeBron, Durant, Curry) in the game today that is worth that much money.
Pay. This. Man. When you can do things likes this on the basketball court, there isn’t really a limit to how much you should be making:
UBoogie’s reaction to Anthony Davis finishing every alley-oop thrown to him like it’s NBA Jam pic.twitter.com/JCQ9pEYZ3o
— LeRob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) April 20, 2018
In game two of the Super Regional from Eugene, the Wildcats tried to keep the success they’ve had so far this postseason into tonight to punch their ticket to Oklahoma City, but Kentucky just couldn’t get anything going tonight offensively as they fall to Oregon 6-1.
Miranda Elish tore right through the Cats tonight, only allowing two hits all night and retiring the first nine batters. Kentucky just couldn’t figure her out. Elish was hitting her sports, primarily the outside corner and Kentucky couldn’t handle it. She also kept the ball on the ground whenever the Cats did put it in play as Kentucky only had two balls leave the infield tonight. Both of those hits coming from Alex Martens who had a SAC fly, which scored Jenny Schaper, and a single tonight. Elish dealt seven strikeouts tonight in the complete game, including five straight between the second and third innings.
FIVE Ks STRAIGHT.
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 26, 2018
Another thing that made Elish so tough to hit tonight was her pitching style. Last night Kentucky dominated Kleist who went with the approach of using the rise ball to her advantage and relying on her stuff more than overpowering the hitters. Kleist’s approach benefited Kentucky’s approach because she always left balls in the wheelhouse which led to a big day for Kentucky. But, with Elish, she was more focused on working down and away, overpowering the hitters and because of that Kentucky couldn’t turn on or lift any pitches. IF Elish goes, game three Kentucky must rely on small ball to deal with Elish’s pitching style.
Coming into tonight’s game, Kentucky was outscoring opponents 38-7 in the postseason, and it came as an unpleasant surprise to not only see the Cats cool off, but to see them get dominated the way they did. I don’t expect Kentucky to be down for long though; there is too much hitting talent in the Kentucky lineup to bounce back tomorrow night.
Oregon, on the other hand, had all things go their way tonight offensively. Although, scoreless through the first three they busted it open in the fourth with a four-run inning, which included a questionable advancement call on an errant throw. The umpires allowed the Oregon runner from 2nd base to advance two bases for a run while only allowing the trailing runner to advance one. Someone still needs to explain that to me.
Nonetheless, the big inning would set the tone for the rest of the game as the Ducks tally for nine hits for six runs to take game two of the Super Regional. Oregon is now 44-1 when scoring four runs or more this season.
Kentucky will play a winner take all game tomorrow night at 9 PM ET on ESPN. The winner gets a trip to the College World Series.