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No. 15 Cats Go 2-1 Against No. 1 Tigers

No. 15 Cats Go 2-1 Against No. 1 Tigers


Photo by UK Athletics


Kentucky took on Louisiana State University this weekend in a triple-header at John Cropp Stadium. The Cats were able to overcome the Number One team in the first two games but lost by a small margin in the final match.

On Friday, the Wildcats defeated the Tigers 3-1. Griffin Joiner had a notable game by contributing one run, three hits, and two RBI to the final score. Christian Stokes also provided one run and one hit. Sylver Samuel added a run and Maisie Steed added two hits. Defensively, Kelsey Nunley was the winning pitcher and allowed six hits with one run.

The game on Saturday was a close match between the two teams, but Kentucky came out victorious 5-2. Nikki Sagermann contributed vastly to the win by providing two runs, two hits, and one RBI. Samuel added a run, two hits, and an RBI, while Kara Howard scored one run and one hit. Darington Richardson also contributed a run and Brooklin Hinz, Joiner, and Stokes each provided hits. Offensively, Meagan Prince tossed 4.1 amazing innings, allowing only two hits and zero runs.

In the final game of the series, the Cats lost 2-0. Stokes, Samuel, and Hinz contributed hits but were unable to score. Offensively, Nunley recorded season-best nine strikeouts but was unable to shut down LSU Pitcher, Baylee Corbello who provided seven shutout innings.

After a successful weekend of defeating LSU, the Cats will take on their rival, Louisville, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.


Recap: Kentucky Knocks Off #1 LSU



Following their exciting 5-4 win over #1 LSU on Friday, Kentucky beat the Tigers 12-10 in 11 innings to win the series. Kentucky had to fight through some difficult deficits, but managed to pull out a hard-fought win over the nation’s number one team. The 2-1 series win over LSU showed that this team has an extreme amount of grit and a “refuse to lose” attitude.

The game appeared to be in Kentucky’s favor early. The Cats jumped on LSU starting pitcher Jake Godfrey in the second inning with four runs on five hits. Godfrey lasted only 1.2 innings before LSU head coach Paul Mainieri went to his bullpen. LSU’s bullpen held Kentucky’s offense in check while the Tigers scored six unanswered runs entering the seventh inning. JaVon Shelby hit an RBI double to score Evan White and cut the score to 6-5 entering the bottom of the seventh. Each time Kentucky would make a move, LSU would respond. Connor Hale and Kade Scivicque drove in runs to extend the Tigers’ lead to 8-5 entering the eighth inning.

The eighth inning is where Kentucky showed they would not go down without a fight. White drove in a pair of runs on an RBI double and Ka’ai Tom beat out a groundout at first to score the tying run. Following a second inning home run, Dorian Hairston delivered yet again. The junior hit into a fielder’s choice that scored the go-ahead run and gave UK a 9-8 lead headed to the bottom half of the eighth. After a dominating performance against LSU on Friday, Kentucky turned to Zach Strecker to pitch late in the game. The Tigers began to feast off of Strecker in the bottom of the eighth. An RBI single by Mark Laird followed by a sacrifice fly by Bregman gave LSU a 10-9 lead through eight. Kentucky would be down to their last three outs in the ninth with Storm Wilson, Marcus Carson and Riley Mahan due up.

LSU reliever Parker Bugg got Wilson to fly out and Carson to ground out to begin the inning. With a one run lead and two out in the ninth, Bugg needed to retire Mahan to end the game. Mahan hit a line drive to left that LSU’s left fielder dove and missed. The ball continued to roll to the wall with Mahan trucking around the bases and scoring on an inside the park home run to tie the game. LSU could not respond in the bottom of the ninth and the game went to extra innings tied at 10.

Due to SEC Travel Regulations, no inning could start after 3:05 CT. If the score was still deadlocked, the game would end in a tie. After a scoreless tenth inning, the 11th inning began just a few minutes before the curfew. Kentucky fans were elated to see this be a benefit for the Cats. In his only at-bat of the game, Greg Fettes hit a leadoff home run to give Kentucky an 11-10 lead in the 11th. The home run was Fettes’ third on the year and first since Opening Day. Kentucky added a much-needed insurance run on a Tom RBI single. After the top of the 11th, Kentucky led 12-10 over LSU.

The Tigers would have to score three runs to win and two to tie in the bottom half of the inning. Kentucky closer Spencer Jack finished off a fantastic outing with a 1-2-3 bottom of the 12th to wrap up a 12-10 win for the Cats. 

Box Score

More to follow on Kentucky’s upset win over LSU.


Kentucky Track and Field competes at the Nikoloff Invitational


The Kentucky Track and Field teams competed at the Nikoloff Invitational in Cincinnati on Saturday. 3 Wildcats finished in the runner up spots in their respective events.

• Michelle Canberra cleared 12’5.5”/3.80m in the pole vault.
• Brooks Divine cleared 15’5.75” in the outdoor pole vault.
• Zack Beaver ran a time of 14:54.25 in the 5k.

Other Wildcats did not place, but had personal best times.

• Dylan Rich ran the 1,500-meter with a time of 3:58.50.
• Tim Layten ran the 5k in a time of 3:59.20.

Next week, Kentucky will compete in the Florida Relay’s, the first major meet of the new year.


Dustin Beggs pitched a solid game, but the Cats could not hang on (Photo from UK Athletics)

LSU Evens Series Thanks to a Late Inside-the-Park Homer

Dustin Beggs pitched a solid game, but the Cats could not hang on (Photo from UK Athletics)

Dustin Beggs pitched a solid game, but the Cats could not hang on (Photo from UK Athletics)

Kentucky (17-10, 3-5 SEC) had a chance to clinch its second series in conference play Saturday night in front of 11,516 rowdy LSU fans, but a late rally allowed the Tigers to prevail 7-3.

UK starter Dustin Beggs (3-2) kept the Cats in the game, working seven innings in a duel with LSU ace Alex Lange. Beggs allowed two runs on seven hits, striking out five batters with no walks. LSU opened the scoring in the bottom of the fourth when first baseman Chris Chinea drove in Kade Scivicque on a sacrifice fly to right center. Kentucky answered with a run in the sixth when a Marcus Carson single scored Storm Wilson from second base.

Trailing 2-1 in the eighth inning, the Cats tied it up on a tw0-out hit by Greg Fettes that scored Dorian Hairston. But then the unthinkable happened, as Kyle Barrett could not make a tough diving catch on a Scivicque liner to centerfield with two runners on base. The ball rolled all the way to the wall and was initially ruled a ground-rule double but, after some discussion, the umpires reversed the call to an inside-the-park three-run homer. Later in the eighth, Jared Foster homered to left to extend the lead to 7-2. UK gained one run back in the ninth after JaVon Shelby drove in Barrett on an RBI double.

Although the outcome was not ideal, UK’s offense was pretty impressive in collecting 11 hits on the evening. Barrett and Carson led the way, each boasting three-hit performances.

The series finale is underway at Alex Box Stadium. Stay tuned for the story after the game.


Spencer Jack said what about Zach Strecker?

Following Kentucky’s huge 5-4 win over LSU in 12 innings, the team was extremely pumped. Closer Spencer Jack collected his fourth save on the season and Zach Strecker picked up his second win. Following the game, UK Athletics interviewed Jack on his performance and the rest of the bullpen. What did Jack have to say about Strecker’s performance? Skip to the 0:20 second mark to find out. 

The rest of the interview is fantastic as well. This team is starting to grow up and be a lot of fun to watch.



Thomas Bernal collected three hits in a 5-4 win in Baton Rouge. (Photo by Elliott Hess, UK Athletics)

Kentucky Upsets #1 LSU in 12 Innings

Thomas Bernal collected three hits in a 5-4 win in Baton Rouge. (Photo by Elliott Hess, UK Athletics)

Thomas Bernal collected three hits in a 5-4 win in Baton Rouge. (Photo by Elliott Hess, UK Athletics)

For the seventh time in the Gary Henderson era, Kentucky has knocked off the #1 team in the country. A 5-4 upset over LSU on Friday night improved Kentucky’s record against #1 teams to 7-7 under Coach Henderson. The win did not come easy as the game rolled into extra innings.

LSU got the ball rolling with two runs in the second inning to take the first lead of the game. RBIs by Jake Fraley and Chris Sciambra put Kentucky starting pitcher Zack Brown in an early hole. Brown managed to work out of that inning and keep the score at 2-0 into the seventh where Kentucky’s offense woke up. LSU starter Jared Poche’ didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning, but Kentucky found five hits off Poche’ in the seventh. Dorian Hairston started the inning with a double. Thomas Bernal collected one of his three hits on the game with an RBI single to score Hairston. Later in the inning, Connor Heady singled to bring home Bernal and tie the game. Kentucky had an opportunity with two outs to take their first lead of the game. Kyle Barrett came through in the clutch with an RBI single to score Greg Fettes and give UK a 3-2 lead. 

LSU quickly responded in the bottom half of the seventh. After a throwing error by Bernal, LSU scored to tie the game at three. The unearned run would lead to Brown not picking up a decision on the mound as he exited after 6.2 innings. Dylan Dwyer came on to finish the seventh and pitch into the eighth for Kentucky. Both team’s bullpens were able to shut down the other’s offense leading into extra innings. A duel began between Kentucky’s Zach Strecker and LSU’s Jesse Stallings in the extra frames. Strecker went three innings out of the bullpen, allowing four hits and an unearned run. Stallings was fantastic as well before he reached the 12th inning. 

Ka'ai Tom played hero once again. (Photo by Elliott Hess, UK Athletics)

Ka’ai Tom played hero once again. (Photo by Elliott Hess, UK Athletics)

Kentucky’s offense had been relatively quiet in the final two innings and in extras. Stallings had been cruising through the lineup before Barrett singled with two outs in the 12th. Following Evan White being hit by a pitch, Ka’ai Tom came to the plate with runners on first and second with two outs. Tom drove a 1-2 pitch down the right field line to score both Barrett and White. Tom’s RBI double gave Kentucky a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the 12th. 

Just like the 7th inning, LSU managed to begin another rally in the 12th. Two errors by Kentucky allowed LSU to cut the score to 5-4. Kentucky closer Spencer Jack was brought on to end the threat. Jack got a groundout to end the game and solidify a 5-4 win for Kentucky.

-Starting pitcher Zack Brown was phenomenal in his third consecutive Friday start. In his 11th career start, Brown went 6.2 innings and allowed three runs while striking out three.

-Evan White extended his hit streak to nine games while Kyle Barrett extended his to eight games.

-Zach Strecker picked up the third win of his career after pitching three innings and not allowing an earned run.

-Ka’ai Tom did not have a hit in his previous four at-bats in the game before his RBI double in the 12th inning. Tom now has 26 RBIs in 2015.

-LSU’s Alex Bregman and Connor Hale combined for one hit in ten at-bats against Kentucky pitching on Friday. Neither of LSU’s big run producers drove in a run against UK.

-Over 11,000 people were at Alex Box Stadium to see Kentucky knock off LSU in Baton Rouge.




The Cats beat #1 LSU last night, twice


I imagine this is how the #1 ranked LSU baseball and softball teams felt last night after they fell to the Cats in both match ups. The baseball team strung it out to 12 innings and the softball team tossed seven to both pull out the wins. Here is a break down of the matchups:


Baseball  (5-4)

The Cats (17-9,3-4) fell behind early after LSU brought home two runs in the second inning with RBIs from Jake Fraley and Chris Sciambra. LSU Jared Poche’ was working on a no hitter, before the Cats broke that up in the fifth inning. The Cats then collected a total of five hits in the top of the seventh, givinig them at 3-2 lead. The Tigers tied it after a throwing error.

The game stayed at a standstill until the bottom of the 11th, when the Tigers rallied on a leadoff single from Jake Fraley.

Jared Foster then rolled a ball into the hole on the left side, with shortstop Connor Heady ranging to his right and his off-balance throw sailing wide of the bag. Greg Deichmann then grounded into a double play that pushed Fraley to third base with Mark Laird at the plate. After UK intentionally walked the bases loaded with two outs, Conner Hale ripped a line drive in the gap on the right side, plunking Alex Bregman with the hit, ending the 11th inning.

At the top of the order, Kyle Barett smacked a single throughout the right side of the field and Evan White forced him to second after a hit on a 3-1 pitch. Ka’ai Tom hit a 1-2 offering, skipping the ball over the  head of first baseman and bringing in two runs for the 5-3 lead. LSU scored one in the bottom of the inning, but it was not enough to overcome the Cats’ late rally.



Softball   (3-1)

Junior pitcher Kelsey Nunley did work for the Cats, tossing seven innnings with three strikeouts and only one run, with catcher Griffin Joiner leading the offense with a 3-for-3 night with two runs batted in and a HR. This victory over LSU is the first-ever for the No. 15 Cats over a No.. 1 ranked  team in program his tory.

Kentucky (22-8) handed LSU (32-2) its second loss of the season, marking the Wildcats fourth win over a ranked foe. Here is a neat little breakdown UKathletics did.


Maise Steed went 2-for-3 in the game, extending a hitting streak to five games. Christian Stoke went 1-for 3, while Breanne Ray scored the game winning run in the third inning on a sacrifice fly.

Both teams will continue the battle against the Tigers today. Baseball is this evening at 7:30, while the girls have a noon start time in Lexington. Get out and enjoy the game if you can.

Go Cats! 


IG: ukcoachmitchell

Matthew Mitchell’s daughter gave him a black eye

IG: ukcoachmitchell

IG: ukcoachmitchell

Today in ‘well, that’s random': Matthew Mitchell’s daughter gave him a black eye. You may have noticed Mitchell’s black eye during the Dayton game on Sunday, and this morning, he took to Instagram to clear up some rumors.

“BBN, there have been a lot of questions about my black eye this week, so I thought I would clear things up. Saylor Rose did catch me inadvertently, but after going to the monitor for an intensive video review process, she will face no further disciplinary actions. #HardHeaded #JennasDaughter”

Who knew Saylor was such a bruiser?

Photo by @SECNetwork on Twitter.

Five Things to Know about LSU Baseball

Photo by @SECNetwork on Twitter.

Photo by @SECNetwork on Twitter.

The going never gets easy when you play in the SEC. Following weekends against #7 South Carolina and #29 Mississippi State, Kentucky will travel to Baton Rouge to take on #1 LSU in a three game series. The Tigers are one of only two teams in the NCAA with 21 or more wins (the other being 24-1 Texas A&M). Winning at LSU’s legendary Alex Box Stadium will be a difficult task for Kentucky this weekend. Here are five things to know about the number one team in the country.

1. They are hitting the ball in a crazy good way- D1 Baseball wrote an excellent story on the LSU offense that you can read here, but we’ll just pick a few stats to discuss. Andrew Stevenson (.407) and Kade Scivique (.417) are the leading hitters on a team that is tallying a ridiculous .332 batting average.  That average is 110 points better than their opponents. Not only does LSU hit well, they also find other ways to reach base. The Tigers have posted a .396 OBP through 25 games. No LSU-regular has an OBP below .350 or a batting average below .288. LSU drives in runs at a great clip when players reach base. Alex Bregman and Connor Hale have driven in 24 runs apiece and the team has combined for 174 RBIs. That is roughly seven RBIs per game from the Tigers.

“You could also talk about how three of the 20 hardest players to strike out — Scivique, Mark Laird and Alex Bregman — are Tigers, while all the other Power Five conference schools together have two players in the top 20.” -D1 Baseball

2. Have we mentioned Alex Bregman?- Returning for his third season at LSU, Bregman has bounced back from a rocky 2014. Bregman struggled in the field and hit 53 points lower as a sophomore than as a freshman. Bregman is off to a much better start as a junior. Ranked as’s #13 2015 MLB Draft Prospect, Bregman has hit a team-high six home runs and driven in 24 runs. Bregman also leads the team in doubles and extra-base hits as a whole. Another stat on Bregman is that he leads the team in stolen bases with 13. He will be a tough out in a very threatening lineup.

Matt Reida led UK to a series win over LSU in 2012.

Matt Reida led UK to a series win over LSU in 2012. (Photo by UK Athletics)

3. Their weekend rotation has a combined 15-1 record- Alex Lange, Jake Godfrey and Jared Poche’ have a combined 2.33 ERA in their 15 wins as a rotation. Poche’ averages more than five innings per start and has 23 strikeouts in six starts. Godfrey has allowed only eight earned runs this season while posting a 2.25 ERA. Perhaps one of the best pitchers in the SEC has been Lange. LSU’s ace has an ERA of 1.42 with 45 strikeouts in 38 innings. Lange is only a freshman and is yet to lose in his college career.

4. Their bullpen is just as good as their rotation- Why does the LSU rotation have a 15-1 record? Because their bullpen holds leads late in ballgames. The Tigers have five pitchers in their bullpen with an ERA below 2.40 who have pitched ten or more innings. Hunter Newman, Parker Bugg and Jesse Stallings have all played big parts in the bullpen domination. Newman has not allowed a run through 10.2 innings. Bug and Stallings have combined to allow two earned runs to help anchor the bullpen.

5. Kentucky will need their offense to step up- LSU has been dominating at the plate this season, but Kentucky is not far behind them. The Cats .299 team batting average put them in fifth place in the SEC behind the first place Tigers. While LSU has two batters with an average of .400 our better, Kentucky is close to the same mark. Ka’ai Tom is batting .402 and Kyle Barrett is following behind him with .391. LSU’s starters will be tested by the Cats’ surge at the top of the order led by Barrett and Tom.

Fans will be able to catch each game on SEC Network Plus. Friday’s tilt will begin at 8 p.m, Saturday’s game at 7:30 and the final game at 12:30 on Sunday afternoon.


Kentucky Defeats Morehead State in Midweek Slate

Kentucky Defeats Morehead State in Midweek Slate


Taylor Martin collected his first career win against Morehead State. (Photo by Barry Westerman, UK Athletics)


Following a 12-3 loss to WKU last night, Kentucky responded well with a 9-4 win over Morehead State on Tuesday. The Cats jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning and Morehead State could not respond. Morehead State came back with four runs on two home runs, but UK ran away late to win 9-4.

Kentucky’s 5-0 first inning lead was too much for Morehead State to come back on. Storm Wilson, Thomas Bernal and Zach Arnold all drove in runs as all nine Kentucky runners came to the plate in the first. Kentucky’s offense continued to push as Wilson powered his first home run of the season over the right field wall to extend the lead to six in the third inning. Kentucky’s starter Zach Pop allowed four runs in the fourth and was pulled after 3.2 innings as Morehead State tried to keep the game close. Connor Heady doubled in the seventh inning to score two insurance runs for the Kentucky bullpen and push the lead back out.

Following Pop’s exit, Taylor Martin took over on the mound. After an impressive outing against Mississippi State on Sunday, Martin fired 2.2 scoreless innings and allowed only one baserunner. Martin’s shutdown outing lowered his season ERA to 2.35 and allowed him to pick up his first career win. Zach Strecker, Logan Salow and Spencer Jack pitched the final 2.1 innings, also allowing only one hit. Kentucky’s bullpen had a difficult time finishing games early in the season, but this game was a sign of how they have developed. Players such as Taylor Martin are examples of how the Cats’ bullpen is getting stronger as they enter SEC play. 

The win improved Kentucky’s record to 16-9 (2-4) this season. Kentucky’s next series will be this weekend against #1 LSU in Baton Rouge. 



Photo from UK Athletics

WKU Defeats UK 12-3 at Bowling Green Ballpark

Photo from UK Athletics

Photo from UK Athletics

Kentucky’s five-game week looked to be getting off to a hot start as the Cats jumped out to a 3-0 lead over Western Kentucky in the top of the first inning on Tuesday night at Bowling Green Ballpark. But the Hilltoppers had something to say about that as they proceeded to score 12 unanswered runs over the course of the game to defeat UK 12-3.

UK’s 1-2-3 hitters- Kyle Barrett, Evan White, and Ka’ai Tom- each recorded base hits to open the game, bringing JaVon Shelby to the plate with bases loaded. Barrett scored on an infield single by Shelby to give the Cats an early 1-0 advantage. Dorian Hairston then grounded out to score White, stretching the lead to 2-0. After Thomas Bernal was hit by a pitch, Storm Wilson grounded into a double play to end the inning, but Tom scored from third before the tag on the second out, giving UK a 3-0 lead.

White, Tom, and Shelby each collected multiple hits, while Barrett extended his hitting streak to seven games.

Unfortunately, UK’s lead lasted all of one inning. Starting pitcher Zach Logue was pulled after only 2.1 innings in which Western Kentucky plated five earned runs on seven hits, including a three-run bomb by Cody Wofford in the second. WKU’s offense showed consistency scoring single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, and adding five runs in the sixth. Six Hilltoppers finished with multi-hit performances on a night where UK’s midweek pitching staff did not have much success in front of 3,652 fans at the minor league stadium.

While Kentucky leads the all-time series 32-27, WKU has won seven of the last nine since 2009. The two clubs are scheduled to meet again on April 14th at Cliff Hagan Stadium.

Kentucky (15-9) is set to host Morehead State on Wednesday at 4 p.m.



Photo from UK Athletics

Kyle Barrett Named SEC Player of the Week

Photo from UK Athletics

Photo from UK Athletics

After multiple stellar performances, UK junior centerfielder Kyle Barrett was named SEC Player of the Week.

Barrett hit .556 (10-for-18) with a home run, seven runs scored, and four RBI on the week, which concluded with a series win against 20th-ranked Mississippi State. He also extended his six-game hitting streak in the process, five of which were multi-hit games.

The Wildcats’ leadoff man was an All-SEC Freshman selection in 2013, but has really taken off in 2015 as a veteran leader. Barrett leads UK in hitting with a .396 average (42-for-106) with 22 runs, five doubles, one homer, 13 RBI, a .439 on-base percentage and six steals. Barrett’s 42 hits leads the SEC.

Barrett and the Cats will now turn their attention to midweek games at Western Kentucky and a home contest against Morehead State on Wednesday before traveling to Baton Rouge for a three-game series against the #1-ranked LSU Tigers.


Cats claim first SEC series of the 2015 season vs. Miss. State (Image from UK Athletics)

Baseball Weekend Recap and Highlights

Cats claim first SEC series of the 2015 season vs. Miss. State (Image from UK Athletics)

After clinching the series on Saturday, Cats fall to Miss. State 12-5 on Sunday (Photo from UK Athletics)

The Wildcats were in desperate need of wins after losing four in a row at the hands of South Carolina and Ohio. They did just that by defeating the 20th ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs Friday and Saturday before suffering a 12-5 loss in the series finale on Sunday.

UK starting pitcher Kyle Cody had a frustrating afternoon on the mound in his second loss of the season. Cody’s outing lasted only four innings, as he allowed nine runs on seven hits with three walks and no strikeouts. Henderson turned to the bullpen to stop the bleeding, using six relievers in the final five innings. Specifically, Bulldogs’ DH Reid Humphreys did the bulk of the damage crushing two home runs for five RBI.

Offensively, the Cats had a solid day tallying five runs on 11 hits. Dorian Hairston led the way going 2-for-4 with two RBI, including a double in the fourth inning to score Kyle Barrett. UK boasted multi-hit performances from Hairston, Barrett, Ka’ai Tom, and Greg Fettes, while Evan White and Thomas Bernal each added a hit and RBI.

Barrett was the star of the week hitting .556 (10-for-18) and reaching base safely in 12 of 20 plate appearances.

Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday as they travel to Bowling Green to face off against Western Kentucky at 7 p.m. ET.

Check out the highlights from UK’s two victories below:


(h/t Britney Howard | UK Athletics)

UK Hoops Sent Packing Early

(h/t Britney Howard | UK Athletics)

(h/t Britney Howard | UK Athletics)


In a game that featured almost as many fouls (56) as made field goals (66), the two-seed Kentucky Wildcats were upset in Memorial Coliseum by the seventh-seed Dayton Flyers, 99-95, putting an end to the 2014-2015 season. Coach Mitchell calls it a “disappointing finish to a good season” where his team finishes 11th overall and fourth in the SEC. With the loss, the UK Hoops program will fail to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2011.


It was announced just before tipoff that senior Azia Bishop would be unavailable for today’s game due to a suspension because of missing curfew. Coach Mitchell referenced the meeting he had with Bishop’s fellow seniors a few weeks ago when asked about the suspension, saying that it’s his job to “uphold the standard” that the team wanted from him, and that it was important for him to enforce team rules regardless of the bad timing.


Like many games we’ve watched this year following UK Hoops, Kentucky looked like they were in control for most of the game, despite never really extending their lead to more than a couple possessions out of reach. Unfortunately, in March you can’t live on the edge like the Wildcats have all season, and the bad habit ended their year early. Mitchell said after the game that he’s noticed the teams’ poor body language on certain nights all year, and said that the lack of focus was there again tonight, but wasn’t sure if it was due to Bishop’s suspension or other factors.


After leading by three at halftime, Kentucky looked like they were going to take a hold of the reigns when Makayla Epps decided to take over about seven minutes into the second half. Epps scored 13 quick points in just four minutes, stretching the UK lead to eight, but Dayton was able to match every Wildcat run with one of their own. The Flyers’ shooting nearly 60 percent from the field, along with Ally Malott’s 28 points, kept it close, and Dayton was able to take their first lead of the second half with just over four minutes remaining. Three pointers in the final minute by Dayton’s Austria Kelley and Amber Deane were back-breakers, especially Deane’s that put the Flyers up by two possessions with twenty seconds left to play.


Makayla Epps scored 29 points in her final game of her sophomore season, 22 of those coming in the second half. Senior Jennifer O’Neill, who took credit for the loss, was the second-leading scorer tonight, and ends her career with 16 points, 5 steals, and 6 rebounds. Afterwards, an emotional Bria Goss, who was the third Wildcat in double-figures with 12, was unable explain the feeling of knowing she’ll never put on a Kentucky jersey again. Coach Mitchell pointed out that he was in shock about the ending as well, considering how well the team has practiced this week.


Usually, Kentucky wins games through their defense and turnover margins, but they were only able to accomplish one of those two goals today. UK forced 24 turnovers compared to just 5 of their own, but gave up a season-high 99 points at the same time. To make matters worse, the Wildcats only made 63 percent of their 38 free throws, compared to Dayton hitting 90 percent of their 31.


Kentucky eliminated Dayton in the round of 32 back in 2013, and the Flyers were able to return the favor here tonight on the road to advance to their first ever Sweet 16. UK had only lost once in Lexington all season, and are usually unbeatable in front of their home crowd, but Dayton sends Kentucky and their four seniors, Jennifer O’Neill, Bria Goss, Azia Bishop, and Jelleah Sidney, home.

(H/T Britney Howard/UK Athletics)

Kentucky vs. Dayton Live Diary

(H/T Britney Howard/UK Athletics)

(H/T Britney Howard/UK Athletics)

Good afternoon Big Blue Nation! After a week in the Outerbanks surrounded by snooty Duke fans and UNC fans asking me what the road signs said, I am finally back to basketball and in Memorial Coliseum with my partner in crime, Austin, for today’s Hoops game against the seventh seeded Dayton Flyers.
The Cats steamrolled their first opponent of the tournament, Tennessee State, on Friday by 45 points. Now, Kentucky is looking to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for a school-record fourth straight season. Standing in their way is Dayton, who advanced Friday afternoon with a 78-66 win over the tenth seeded Iowa State. Dayton is 26-9 on the season and is led by Andrea Hoover in scoring (17.7 ppg), followed by senior Ally Malott with 15.3 ppg.
The game will tip at 2:30 and will be broadcasted on ESPN2. Follow along with Austin and I here for all the action.


FINAL, Dayton 99- Kentucky 94: The Cats managed to tie the game with under four minutes left, and after a media timeout took the lead with a pair of free throws by Linnae Harper, 83-81. A turnover by Dayton’s Kelley Austria definitely gave Memorial some air in their lungs, followed by a layup by Bria Goss to extend Kentucky’s lead to four. But, Jelleah Sidney fouled out at the 2:27 mark, giving Dayton the opportunity to tie the game. O’Neill gave Kentucky a two point lead shortly after, but a foul on Goss on the next possession once again gave Dayton the opportunity to steal the lead back, and a huge three pointer by UD’s Austria extended it to three. Flyer Jenna Burdette fouled out with only 53.5 seconds remaining, sending O’Neill to the foul line with the opportunity to cut it to two. But, A three from Amber Deane put the nail in Kentucky’s proverbial coffin and ends Kentucky’s season. UK’s championship dreams die in Memorial Coliseum, 99-94.


Second Half: 4:10: Austin: With just over eight left to play, Dayton’s leading scorer, averaging nearly 18 points per game, Andrea Hoover, fouled out with just 5 points. After Hoover went to the bench, Matthew Mitchell went with the four-guard lineup he likes to sometimes use, but Kentucky struggled and Dayton erased the eight-point second half lead to tie the game up at 73-all going into the media timeout. Following the timeout, Dayton was able to grab their first lead of the half, in large part due to hitting five straight field goals, to go along with Kentucky’s offense missing four of their last five. The Flyers have now hit nine three-pointers this afternoon (shooting 56 percent on shots coming from behind the arc), and are hitting a deep shot every time it looks like UK may extend a lead. The two-seed Kentucky trails Dayton, 81-80.


Second Half 9:40: J.C.: Back-to-back baskets by Makayla Epps set the ball rolling for the Cats coming out of the timeout and giving them the four point lead with 14:47 remaining. At the 13:50 mark, Dayton had made none of their last four shots. A big three pointer from Epps got Memorial rocking and Kentucky’s lead to six. In the last few minutes, Epps has went OFF- she already has thirteen points in this half alone. A three pointer by Ally Mallott for Dayton brought them to within three, forcing Coach Mitchell to call a timeout. After the timeout, Dayton brought it within two, but Linnae Harper, assisted by Epps, put it in to give the Cats the four point lead. Cats 68- UC 64.



Second Half: 15:50: Austin: Dayton has three starters in foul trouble now – Cornelie-Sigmundova and Andrea Hoover have picked up their third, and Jenna Burdette now has four. Fortunately for UK, Alexis Jennings is the only player in blue with more than two. Kentucky has continued to focus on forcing turnovers so far in the second half, making Dayton throw three of them in just the first couple of minutes out of the locker room. However, Dayton hitting five of their last seven shots, combined with Kentucky missing their last four, has led to the game being tied at 48-48 with just under 16 minutes remaining in the game.


HALFTIME: J.C.: In last few minutes of the half, Kentucky went 2 for 10 from the field, but managed to hold on to the lead with (what seemed like a ton) of foul shots. Jen O’Neill got the crowd going with a big and-one play with 24 seconds remaining to give Kentucky a three point lead going into the locker room. In the first half, Kentucky has forced twelve turnover on the Flyers, converting twelve points off of them. Dayton is shooing 50% from the field and 60% from the arc while holding UK to 39% and 33% respectively. Three of Kentucky’s post players have two fouls-definitely not a good thing with Azia Bishop out. Epps, Goss, and Sidney all have seven points and Jen O’Neill leads with 10. Linnae Harper leads all rebounders with seven. Cats lead, 45-42.





First Half: 4:24: Austin: After falling asleep on defense and giving up a wide-open layup, Jelleah Sidney comes down on the next offensive possession and drains a three from the top of the key with just over seven minutes remaining in the half. Sidney has had a quiet first half, and with Bishop out, she and Rice, who also has struggled today, need to keep looking for shots in order to UK to have a chance. Alexis Jennings has probably played the best out of UK’s thin frontline this afternoon, but she’s currently sitting on the bench with two fouls. The Flyers have three players with two fouls each. Makayla Epps looks healthy today, and is doing a great job leading the offense, with 7 points and 2 assists. One of the staples of the Wildcats’ success all season has been the turnover margin, where they rank near the top in the nation, and today they’re continuing that trend by forcing eleven compared to their four. Just before the final media timeout, Kentucky was able to pick up a quick four points from Sidney in a matter of seconds, thanks to a Dayton turnover during an attempted in-bound play underneath the Kentucky goal.
First Half 9:24: J.C.: A big steal by Jelleah Sidney followed by a layup by Bria Goss out of the first media timeout gave Kentucky a little bit of energy to start cutting into the Flyers’ lead. A big and-one play by Alyssa Rice cut it to three with 14:31 left to play. But, the Cats are going to have to start defending the three, Dayton is shooting lights out, going 5-7 from the arc. After Dayton gave up 3 turnovers in a minute and half, Kentucky was able to go on an 8-0 run and cut the Flyers’ lead to 1. A big three pointer by Makayla Epps tied the game at 22 a-piece and gave the Cats an opportunity to take the lead, which they did with a jumper by Jen O’Neill. Right now, Kentucky leads by 2, 24-22.


First Half: 15:53: Austin: Alyssa Rice got the start in place of the suspended Azia Bishop. Jennifer O’Neill, despite being voted as the most important bench player in the SEC, joined Rice in the starting lineup, and made a long two-point field goal right out of the gate to get the Cats on the board first. After the make by O’Neill, Kentucky went on to miss their next seven shots (1 of last 10), allowing for Dayton to grab an early lead. Ally Malott, the Flyers’ second leading scorer this season, has been aggressive early, already scoring six points. Kentucky has struggled to get their offense rolling so far, and Dayton leads at the first media timeout, 11-6.
10 minutes until Tip: J.C.: The biggest news right now is that Azia Bishop will not be playing in today’s game due to a one-game suspension for “not upholding team standards.” It must have literally just happened, because they listed her in the starting lineup on the prep sheet I got an hour ago. She still warmed up with the team and is dressed, so consider me confused. In other news the Dayton band is incredible. The slogan on their band director’s shirt says ‘Go Crazy or Go Home’ and that pretty much sums them up. Not only do they play their instruments, but their rap game is also on point. There’s also a dance routine they practiced while they were rapping. No offense, UK band, but y’all need to step your game up.