By Maggie Davis on ©May 19th, 2019 @ 11:15am
It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Lexington, and the UK softball team is looking to use that good fortune to their advantage. The Wildcats are set to play their Regional final beginning today at noon inside their own John Cropp Stadium. They’ll play Virginia Tech.
Kentucky knows exactly what they’re up against – UK also played against the Hokies Saturday afternoon. In that matchup, the Cats came away with a dominating 8-1 victory, largely thanks to a stellar pitching performance from sophomore Grace Baalman. She allowed just one run on eight hits, walked no one and struck out a trio of Hokies.
Here are the highlights from that matchup:
Now, the Cats are ready to do it again. If you can’t make it out to John Cropp in Lexington, you can catch all of the action streamed live on ESPN3 or the ESPN app. We’ll also have a recap posted after the game.
If UK wins, they’ll be named Regional Champions and advance to the Super Regional round. If they lose, they’ll have to play in an elimination game, set to begin 45 minutes after the original matchup.
By Sam Gormley on ©May 19th, 2019 @ 11:00am
John Calipari has had a multitude of massive recruits commit to play basketball in Lexington. Guys like: Brandon Knight, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, the list goes on and on.
The most important commitment of all happened on this date 10 years ago today, when a lanky point guard from North Carolina left the blue bloods in his backyard to play for first year head coach John Calipari. Five-Star point guard John Wall announced his intentions to play basketball at Kentucky on this date ten years ago. Wall would be joined by players like DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Daniel Orton.
The Wall commitment was the spark that the new Kentucky head coach needed to help sell the vision that he had in Lexington. While his actual announcement was anticlimactic, once he reached Lexington it was anything but that.
Just about five months after this moment, Wall delivered one of the most underrated moments in Kentucky Basketball history. While it was as simple as him dancing while being introduced, it means so much more than that now.
For one, it was the first time a Kentucky fan got goosebumps during a moment in quite some time. Why? It just had a feeling that this was the start of something special and was no longer “just a dream.” The dancing by Wall also made the program fun again. When the camera zooms in through the smoke and Wall is shown, it is almost a metaphor for the dark cloud of the Gillispie era being lifted and a new era being born.
After Wall made his pick, Matt Jones wrote on this site the following paragraph with his thoughts on the commitment:
“I like to play devil’s advocate and attempt to look at things rationally and against the normal view held by others. Not this time. We are about to head on a historic run in which Kentucky WILL dominate basketball once again. Read that last sentence…process it and get it down into your pores. The era of Kentucky going to the NIT and making our head hurt is over….the Cats are back and for the next ten years, we will be Top 5 every year for the decade. Period.”
Other than the odd 2013 year, this has proven to come true. The Wall commitment changed not only just Kentucky Basketball, but also college basketball as a whole, because the Cats were back.
Today, we celebrate a big moment in the rebirth of Kentucky Basketball. If it wasn’t for John Wall pledging his commitment for the Cats on this date ten years ago, it is hard to say that the rebuild would have gone as quick as it did.
By John Reecer on ©May 19th, 2019 @ 10:00am
Kentucky Ends Its Baseball Season
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they lost to No. 2 Vanderbilt on Saturday thus ending their 2019 season. Heading into Saturday’s action, Kentucky was locked in a three-way tie with Alabama and South Carolina. One of the two scenarios Kentucky needed to avoid was an Alabama loss and a South Carolina win.
That scenario happened as South Carolina beat Mississippi State 10-8 and Alabama lost to Georgia 9-1. It did not matter if the Wildcats won or not, their season officially ended here.
Kentucky finished the season with a record of 26-29 (7-23) which was good for next to last in the SEC.
Despite the rebuilding season, with 18 newcomers to this year’s roster, coach Nick Mingione has the most wins of any Kentucky coach through three seasons with 104 victories.
Kentucky will lose four seniors from this year’s roster: Ryan Shinn, Ryan Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, and Marshall Gei. Pitcher Zack Thompson will most likely gone as well as he probably heads for the MLB Draft this offseason after a great career for Kentucky.
Writer Brent Wainscott has done a fantastic job covering the team this season, and from all of us here at KSR we would like to thank you for following the Wildcats all season long.
Warriors Best Kanter and the Trail Blazers Again
Any basketball fan with a pulse knew this was going to happen, but after securing a big first-half lead over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, the Portland Trail Blazers lost to Steph Curry and company by a score of 110-99.
The @warriors win on the road to take a 3-0 Western Conference Finals lead!
— NBA (@NBA) May 19, 2019
The win gives the Warriors a commanding 3-0 lead over Portland. In the game Kanter only played seven minutes but managed to score seven points and tally five rebounds in the effort. For what its worth, the Trail Blazer were +7 when the former Kentucky alumni was on the court.
The reason why Kanter did not play that much was because of his mostly poor defense against Golden State in the first two games of the series. However, it is clear now that no one on Portland’s team is playing adequate enough defense to contain the amazing Warrior offense.
With the season pretty much over, let’s hope that Eric Bledsoe and the Milwaukee Bucks find their way to the NBA Finals. They are already up 2-0 in their series against Toronto so it seems likely that there will be at least one Kentucky alumni in the finals this season.
Insanity at the Preakness
In the 144th running of the Preakness Stakes, War of Will (4-1) came away with the victory in an unofficial time of 1:54.34, but all eyes were on Bodexpress from start to finish as the horse stole the entire show.
Bodexpress (20-1) managed to finish the entire race without a jockey as right out of the gate the horse tossed hall of fame jockey John R. Velazquez and continued to run the entire race jockeyless.
War of Will may have won #ThePreakness, but Bodexpress finished the race without a jockey ?
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 18, 2019
In my book, that’s a true champion. That horse doesn’t need a jockey to ride him!!! However, on the flip side the jockey that actually lost to Bodexpress has some TOUGH questions to answer. Just imagine the preparation he must have went through only to have lost to a horse without a rider. If you thought your Saturday was bad, just know that it could always be worse.
But seriously, lets all be thankful that both Velazquez and his horse both finished the race safely. Horse racing is not a safe sport, and we should all be thankful that nothing disastrous happened during this race.
The Jaden McDaniels Saga Continues
Another day has went by, and we still do not know where five-star prospect Jaden McDaniels is heading. Kentucky was in the lead as of last week, but recruiting analyst Evan Daniels is now predicting that the prized prospect will be going to nearby Washington.
I’ve followed Daniels for quite some time and I can promise you that his predictions are usually right more often than they are wrong. However, this is a young 18 year-old kid we are talking about who is keeping his recruitment extremely silent – and rightfully so. His talent is good enough to change an entire team.
— Overtime (@overtime) March 1, 2019
He would be a huge get for the Wildcats as he could make Kentucky a true National Championship contender in 2020. However, the idea of staying close to home could be too good for him.
Either way, lets wish the best for this young, talented ball player. He obviously has had a hard time making this decision, and we should wish the best for young athletes trying to start their careers. Hopefully, the drama ends for him soon.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 18th, 2019 @ 10:00pm
Ryan Lemond putts for prison on Monday evening, and his jail cell is finally ready to go at KSBar and Grille.
Thanks to the help of Casey Clark at Clarkmanship, Ryan will have a mini fortress to himself, toilet and all, if (and when) he misses any putts on Monday.
Here are just a few photos of the KSR co-host’s temporary living situation next week:
Drew Franklin is obviously very excited:
Holy Santa Claus shit Ryan’s jail is awesome. pic.twitter.com/NUkuBIf1OE
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) May 17, 2019
If you want to see how Ryan is preparing for his one shining moment, his Periscope is still available from his practice session a few days ago.
Ryan vs Drew putting challenge https://t.co/T21rllQ3UB
— Ryan Lemond (@ryanlemond) May 15, 2019
I’d bet a pretty penny that he ends up staying multiple nights in that cell.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 18th, 2019 @ 9:00pm
Benny Snell is officially a Pittsburgh Steeler, and now, he has the jersey to show for it.
Invited to the NFLPA Rookie Premiere in partnership with Panini trading cards, Snell suited up in his official white, black, and yellow gameday uniform for the very first time.
Here he was in the back row posing in his new No. 24 jersey:
They haven’t been released to the public yet, but Snell also got the photos taken for his rookie trading card.
Back on May 8, the former Wildcat superstar signed a 4-year deal with the Steelers worth a reported $3.2 million.
Not long after, he met with the Pittsburgh media to talk about what he’ll bring to the table as a running back in the NFL.
In this interview, we got to hear from third-person Benny and see footage from his early appearances at Rookie Training Camp:
Benny Snell talks about nerves, his possible role, and explains what 'Benny Snell football' is. pic.twitter.com/3mYlqBHXft
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) May 10, 2019
And another good look at Snell in his practice uniform:
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 18th, 2019 @ 8:45pm
Kentucky is a finalist for one of the top prospects in the class of 2020.
Five-star wing Brandon Boston Jr. trimmed his list down to four this evening, with Kentucky, Duke, Auburn, and Florida making the cut.
— TIPTON EDITS ? (@TiptonEdits) May 19, 2019
Ever since Kentucky offered the 6-foot-6 prospect back on February 23, most recruiting analysts felt it was a two-horse race between the Wildcats and Blue Devils, with the latter being the rumored favorite.
Over the last week, however, the Wildcats have received four consecutive Crystal Ball picks, including one from 247 Sports Director of Basketball Scouting Jerry Meyer and Duke insider Andrew Slater.
At the recent Nike EYBL event in Atlanta, Boston told KSR that while his recruitment is open, there are four schools recruiting him the hardest right now.
“I would say Duke, Alabama, Kentucky, and Florida,” he said. “I think that’s it.”
Since then, however, the Tigers have recruited him as a package deal with AAU teammate and fellow five-star guard Sharife Cooper, something that intrigues Boston. This would explain Alabama being dropped from the final list and Auburn being added.
The five-star prospect added that he loves Kentucky because of how focused they are on winning in Lexington, something he is definitely interested in when he gets to college next year.
“I love how Coach Cal, all of the coaches and players, they all hold each other accountable,” he said. “They just want to win.”
In his official scouting report over on 247 Sports, Jerry Meyer highlights his length, athleticism, and “natural feel for the game.”
A long athlete who is still growing. Has good athleticism and a natural feel for the game. Lack of strength needs to improve, especially to be effective long term on the defensive end. Terrific scorer who is effective at all three levels. Has a nose for the ball and the length to be a dangerous rebounder. Has tremendous upside, which makes him a potential lottery pick.
Watch some of his most recent highlights during his time on the Nike EYBL circuit this spring here:
Come on down, young fella.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 18th, 2019 @ 8:00pm
2019 five-star combo guard RJ Hampton may officially be down to Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, and Texas Tech, but many recruiting analysts have pegged the Jayhawks as the solid favorite for several weeks now.
Texas Tech was added to his list once Duke was dropped, but they have never been seen as a serious contender. Memphis was once seen as a co-favorite with Kansas for a while, but once they added four-star guard Boogie Ellis, Arkansas-Little Rock graduate transfer Rayjon Tucker, and five-star forward Precious Achuiwa over the last week, most assumed they were out of the running, as well. With those three additions, the Tigers are now technically out of scholarships.
That would leave just the Jayhawks and the Wildcats for his services, right? Well, not exactly.
Corey Evans of Rivals.com reported last night that Memphis is still a serious option for Hampton if Rayjon Tucker, who is currently testing the NBA Draft waters, were to keep his name in the draft. He went as far as to say that they might even be the “team to beat” at this point.
And not long after, the five-star combo guard acknowledged that there is some truth to the report.
— 14 (@RjHampton14) May 18, 2019
Even with this most recent rumor, Evan Daniels of 247 Sports said that he still believes Kansas is the “firm leader” for the 6-foot-4 combo guard out of Little Elm, TX.
Regardless of the noise from yesterday, I believe that Kansas is the firm leader for RJ Hampton.
— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) May 18, 2019
So where does Kentucky fit into all of this?
Well, not too well, obviously.
As I wrote in Pilgrim’s Insider Notes last week (you can catch up on that here), Kentucky quietly put themselves in a better position with Hampton than most believed over the last few weeks. In fact, I genuinely believe that the five-star guard’s inner circle actually prefers the Wildcats over all of the remaining finalists from a developmental standpoint. The reality of the situation, though, is that UK’s backcourt is simply too loaded, and no matter how confident he is in his abilities, the logjam would make things too complicated.
And that’s if he decides to follow through with the college route.
Back at the Nike EYBL event in Atlanta a few weeks ago, I heard a rumor that while attending college in the class of 2019 still remained the likely outcome for Hampton, he was also contemplating the idea of heading overseas to play professionally for one season before making the jump to the NBA.
And then following the EYBL event in Indianapolis last weekend, sources told KSR that Hampton was considering signing with Puma and playing in China for one season before heading back to the states and entering the NBA Draft.
Hampton has said that he’ll likely announce his decision by the end of this month, where things will certainly be interesting. I’d still expect Kansas to be the choice, but don’t be surprised if he breaks out his Mandarin dictionary and signs a deal to play in China.
By Hayden Hooper on ©May 18th, 2019 @ 7:30pm
Last night, the NBA announced their award finalists for the 2018-19 season.
One former Wildcat was nominated for one of the awards announced, as Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox was listed as a finalist for the Most Improved Player in the NBA.
Other players announced as finalists for the Most Improved Player award were Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell and Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam.
D-Lo | Spicy P | Swipa
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) May 17, 2019
Fox averaged 17.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 7.3 assists in his sophomore season with the Kings.
Here are some of Fox’s top plays from this year:
The Kings surpassed all expectations coming into the season, as they clawed their way to playoff contention right up until the end. Finishing with a record of 39-43, Sacramento ended up as the ninth-ranked team in the Western Conference, finishing ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans, Dallas Mavericks and the Phoenix Suns.
In an article posted by the Sacramento Kings, Fox had this to say about his announcement.
“If that surprises you, then that’s you.”
The announcement of all the NBA awards will be televised on Monday, July 24th at 9 P.M. EST on TNT.
To find all of the finalists for all NBA awards click here.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 18th, 2019 @ 7:15pm
The 2019 edition of the Triple Crown continues to be a bizarre one.
After the most controversial finish in Kentucky Derby history just two weeks ago, we saw yet another fascinating turn of events in the 144th running of the Preakness Stakes, as Bodexpress (20-1) managed to finish the entire race without a jockey.
War of Will (4-1) came away with the victory in an unofficial time of 1:54.34, but all eyes were on Bodexpress from start to finish.
Right out of the gate, Bodexpress tossed hall of fame jockey John R. Velazquez and continued to run the entire race jockeyless.
— A•D (@ADegnim) May 18, 2019
Here he was right in the thick of things in the middle of the race, keeping a safe position on the outside:
Bad news horse jockeys … it seems that horses don’t really need you!
— Kevin McConville (@Sensfan001Kevin) May 18, 2019
And the entire race from start to finish, where you can see War of Will’s victory and Bodexpress winning stealing our hearts:
WAR OF WILL wins the Preakness Stakes!! #TeamWoW
— NiarchosRacingFans (@Karakontie14) May 18, 2019
I’m no racing steward, but I think that official impeded on Bodexpress on the home stretch. Call it in.
In what was Ryan Johnson, Marshall Gei, Ryan Shinn, and Alex Rodriguez’s final game at Kentucky, the Cats end their season on a sour note as they get swept by No. 2 Vanderbilt 7-4.
Despite Kentucky coming back to tie the game in the late innings, Vanderbilt just kept finding a way to get it done as Golden Spikes finalist, JJ Bleday crushed a ball over the right field wall to put Vanderbilt back on top. They weren’t done either as Paul blasted one into the visiting bullpen as the Commodores went back to back off Carson Coleman to take a 6-4 lead in the ninth. It was their fourth solo home run of the game. Vandy added one more on an RBI single from Stephen Scott to take a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Tyler Brown would shut down the Cats in the ninth to cap off the sweep for Vanderbilt with a 7-4 victory.
It was an unusual start to the day for Kentucky ace Zack Thomspon. Coming into today’s game, ZT had only given up one home run all year, and in the first two innings of this one, he gave up two tape measure shots. The first one came on the first pitch on the game to Austin Martin as he blasted it over the left-center field wall. Then with two outs in the second Harrison Ray hit a solo shot over the Kentucky bullpen to put Kentucky in an early two-run deficit.
The Cats would claw back in the next two innings, however. In the third, Elliot Curtis beat out a double play to allow Gei to score from third base. Kentucky would give up two more in the top of the fourth, but Kentucky weathered the storm as they came back by a senior-led two-out rally.
It started with a solo home run from Dalton Reed to make it 4-2, then the seniors Alex Rodriguez, Marshall Gei, and Ryan Johnson all singled. Johnson’s single brought home Rodriguez for Kentucky to draw within one run of Vanderbilt heading into the thick of the middle innings.
Kentucky would tie things up in the bottom of the seventh when Jaren Shelby hit a bases-loaded shot to the shortstop that he had a hard time handling which caused Vanderbilt to only get one out on the play and allowed Cam Hill to score. But, Vanderbilt would take the lead in the ninth.
ZT’s day and career at UK ended in the sixth inning. The lefty went six innings in today’s start giving up four runs on six hits while striking out nine. He left the field to a curtain call in what is certainly his last game in the blue and white as he will head for the MLB Draft this offseason.
With the South Carolina victory, today was the final game for Kentucky in the 2019 season. They finished with a record of 26-29 (7-23) which was 13th in the SEC.
Thank you for following along this season here with us at KSR.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
Heading into today’s action, Kentucky was locked in a three-way tie with Alabama and South Carolina. One of the two scenarios Kentucky needed to avoid was an Alabama loss and a South Carolina win.
Unfortunately, that scenario has happened as both games have just gone final. South Carolina beats Mississippi State 10-8 and Alabama losses to Georiga 9-1.
Kentucky finishes the season with a record of 26-29 (7-23) which was good for next to last in the SEC.
Despite the rebuilding season, with 18 newcomers to this year’s roster, Nick Mingione has the most wins of any Kentucky coach through three seasons with 104 victories.
Kentucky will for sure lose four seniors from this year’s roster: Ryan Shinn, Ryan Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, and Marshall Gei. With the fantastic career Zack Thompson has had at UK, he will undoubtedly be out the door as well as he heads for the MLB Draft this offseason.
The game recap from the final regular season game against No. 2 Vanderbilt from Kentucky Proud Park will be up shortly.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 18th, 2019 @ 5:30pm
Former Kentucky commitment and current offensive line target Richie Leonard has set his commitment date.
This afternoon, the 2020 three-star offensive guard out of Cocoa, FL announced on Twitter that he will be making his decision on July 5 to celebrate his mother’s birthday.
My Commitment Date Is Set! I Will Be Announcing My Commitment This Summer On My Mother’s Birthday, Friday July 5th! Thank You To Every Coach, Mentor, and Friend That Helped Me Along This Process! And A Huge Thank You To My Parents! @Prishonda @DJBIGRICH321! All Glory To God!?? pic.twitter.com/JkSYLvEV2G
— Richie Leonard IV™ (@Rhl4Richie) May 18, 2019
Leonard, ranked on 247 Sports Composite as the nation’s No. 49 offensive guard, will focus on Kentucky, Florida State, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Miami, UCF, Louisville, West Virginia, and Washington State during the home stretch of his recruitment.
The next step for the 6-foot-2, 320-pound prospect will be to finish out his official visits in the next month and a half before making a decision. He already has one scheduled to Georgia Tech next week, Kentucky from June 5-7, and he is also putting together an official to Tennessee for June, as well. He last visited Florida State in April.
In an interview with 247 Sports, Leonard says that he wants to get this decision behind him so he can focus on his senior year. Once he makes his announcement, his recruitment is over.
“Just wanted to be done with this recruiting stuff before my senior season started and my moms birthday happened to fall early in the dead period so it worked out well,” he said. “I don’t wanna be stressed with the recruiting process, school, and trying to win a state championship, so this time when it’s done it’s done.”
If you ask Kentucky offensive line commit John Young, he’s pretty confident in the Wildcats coming out on top.
He’s going to Kentucky, Dave.
— John Young (@the_johnyoung) May 18, 2019
After decommitting from Kentucky back in April, let’s see if the UK coaching staff can seal the deal for good during the home stretch of his recruitment.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©May 18th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
Just two days ago, KSR’s Drew Franklin wrote a post about how he was praying that EA Sports would bring back the NCAA Football video game series now that the NCAA is reconsidering its restrictions on student-athletes using their own name and likeness.
Today, his prayers were answered. Well… kind of.
In a statement given to 247 Sports, former NCAA Football Executive Producer Ben Haumiller said he would be “very interested” in bringing back the popular video game series.
“We loved making college football games,” Haumiller told 247Sports via email. “If the opportunity ever presented itself we’d be very interested in potentially getting back into that space.”
Haumiller also added that he appreciates the overwhelming support from NCAA Football fans with hopes that the game will come back eventually.
“We’re glad to see our fans keep the spirit of the game alive, their devotion is really touching,” he said.
The video game series ended following the 2013 release of NCAA Football 14 when the courts ruled that EA Sports had used athlete likeness without permission or compensation. Following the ruling, CBS Sports reported that EA Sports was forced to pay out $60 million in settlements to athletes who appeared in the game from 2003-2014.
From there, the NCAA failed to renew its licensing agreement with EA, and we haven’t seen a game released since.
While it sounds like there is hope for the series to continue at some point, the rule for athletes to profit from their name and likeness has to change first.
Back on May 14, the NCAA announced the creation of the “NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group,” where the ultimate goal is to find out if student-athletes are able to do just that.
“This group will bring together diverse opinions from the membership — from presidents and commissioners to student-athletes — that will examine the NCAA’s position on name, image and likeness benefits and potentially propose rule modifications tethered to education,” said Val Ackerman, commissioner of the Big East and working group co-chair. “We believe the time is right for these discussions and look forward to a thorough assessment of the many complexities involved in this area.”
We’re certainly quite a ways away from any serious movement here, but it’s a solid start, nonetheless.
By Zack Geoghegan on ©May 18th, 2019 @ 4:00pm
Good afternoon, folks. Let’s just go ahead and skip to Warriors-Bucks, shall we? Let’s talk NBA Playoffs.
(2) Raptors – 103 @ (1) Bucks – 125 (MIL leads 2-0)
- Two dunks from Giannis Antetokounmpo, a made layup from Nikola Mirotic, followed by a Mirotic triple bust this game open to an early 9-0 Milwaukee Bucks lead. You got the sense through the first three minutes that the Bucks might just completely run away with this thing. Toronto managed to trim the lead down to only a 9-14 Milwaukee advantage, but that was the closest the game felt all night long. From there, the Bucks cruised to an easy 2-0 series lead as we head to Canada for the next two games.
- Antetokounmpo posted 30 points, 17 rebounds, and five assists for Milwaukee highlighted by an 11-point fourth quarter. The Bucks were up 14 points after the first quarter and led by 25 at halftime. Toronto – well, Kawhi Leonard, mostly – did it’s best to fight and get themselves back into the game throughout the second half, but could never knock the lead to single digits. When Milwaukee is aided by 15 points from Mirotic, 17 from Ersan Ilyasova, 13 from George Hill, and 14 from Malcolm Brogdon, they aren’t going to lose any games against this Toronto squad. The overall depth of the Bucks outmatches anything the Raptors can put on the court.
- To give you an idea of how confused Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is regarding how he should go about managing his rotations against a deeper team, he had Jodie Meeks playing the most minutes (8) he has since Game 5 of the first round series. Meeks did drill a three-pointer jumping off one foot right at the third quarter buzzer and ended with five points on 2-5 shooting.
Meeks beat the buzzer ? pic.twitter.com/zLLoQHMo3V
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) May 18, 2019
- Eric Bledsoe continues to struggle from the field as he shot just 3-10 and connected on only one of his five three-point attempts. He finished with eight points but also added five rebounds, seven assists, and zero turnovers. Even Bledsoe was becoming frustrated with his missed shots – most of them coming without much resistant – and was literally thanking the heavens after made buckets. Luckily, he’s still making plays; slipping passes under the basket to Antetokounmpo and running fastbreaks. But Bledsoe is now 6-22 from the field through the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals and is shooting only 24.1 percent from deep during this entire playoff run. He can afford poor shooting nights when everyone else steps up, but these missed corner threes can’t continue against a team such as Golden State.
|Eric Bledsoe (MIL)||125-103 W vs. TOR||8||3-10 (1-5)||5||7||0||0||0||+7||29|
|Jodie Meeks (TOR)||103-125 L @ MIL||5||2-5 (1-2)||0||0||1||0||1||-1||8|
TONIGHT IN THE NBA
9:00 (ESPN): Warriors (Cousins-out) @ Trail Blazers (Labissiere, Kanter) (GSW leads 2-0)
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 18th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
It took some time for the Bats to heat up on a hot day at John Cropp Stadium as Kentucky beats Virginia Tech 8-1 in the Regional Semifinal with the help of new faces.
Last year it was Mallory Peyton who emerged as a freshman star in the regionals. This year, it’s been Kayla Kowalik.
Kowalik has made spectacular catch after spectacular catch in centerfield this weekend. On the offensive side, she’s gone 4-6, scoring four runs and getting an RBI through the first two games, including being the spark for some of UK’s big innings in this regional and brilliant plays on the basepath.
— Francesca Enea (@frangator10) May 18, 2019
Today was no different as she kicked started Kentucky’s stagnant offense in the fourth with a one-out single, which set up a two-out triple that scored Kowalik from first.
After Johnson’s triple, former McCracken County teammates Kelsee Henson and Bailey Vick reached base to load the bases for Jenny Schaper. Jenny Schaper came through as she got an RBI single, then the cut off tried to catch Vick slipping at second, but she got back, and the ball squirted away from the Hokie second baseman allowing for every runner to move up which allowed Henson to score for UK to take a 3-0 lead after four.
Kentucky would add more in the fifth on two errors from the Hokies which allowed pinch runners, Jaci Babbs, and Tatum Spangler, to score to give Kentucky a 5-0 lead. Then with two outs, Vick laid down a picture perfect bunt for a single, but the third baseman flipped the ball over the catcher’s mitt which allowed Kowalik to score from third and allowed Kennedy Cowen to score from second.
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 18, 2019
Virginia Tech would get one back on a home run from Emma Strouth to make it a 7-1 lead for the Cats. Kentucky would get that run back in the bottom of the sixth on an Alex Martens RBI fly that scored Katie Reed and with that RBI Alex Martens tied the school record for most RBIs in a single season with 61.
Grace Baalman would shut down the Hokies in the bottom half to finish off her one run performance in seven innings of work as the Cats advance to the Regional Final with an 8-1 victory.
Kentucky will look to sweep their region for the THIRD straight year when they take on the emerging team out of the losers bracket. Illinois and Toledo will face off in just a few minutes.
First pitch will be at noon tomorrow from John Cropp Stadium.
Check out the highlights from today’s victory:
— Kentucky Softball (@UKsoftball) May 18, 2019
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR