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UK Softball looks to force a game three in Super Regionals

UK Softball looks to force a game three in Super Regionals




Good luck to Coach Rachel Lawson and the Kentucky Softball team as they face off against the Florida Gators at noon in their second game in the Super Regionals. Kentucky fell to Florida in Gainesville yesterday, 7-0. After a rough first inning, the rest of the cards fell into place in favor of the Gators but the Cats are looking to turn the odds in their favor today for round two.

The team, led by Kelsey Nunley and Meagan Prince, are looking to force a game three in their quest to earn a spot in the Women’s College World Series for back-to-back seasons. If two potential victories can become reality for the Cats today, the team will be on their way to Oklahoma City and seniors Griffin Joiner and Kara Howard will have the chance to wear the Kentucky name on their jerseys for a while longer.

Join these women in their fight for a second shot in the World Series by tuning into ESPN at noon today. Go Cats!


Linnae Harper Named to U.S. Pan American Games Roster

Photo Britney Howard | UK Athletics

Photo Britney Howard | UK Athletics

Kentucky’s Linnae Harper will get the opportunity to represent these fifty United States once again as one of the twelve members of the 2015 U.S. Pan American Women’s Basketball Team. Harper is not a stranger to USA Basketball, as one of the seven members on the squad who has at least one gold medal, she was on the 2012 USA U17 World Championship Team and the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship Team. After averaging 7.9 ppg, 6 rpg, and 2.4 assists she was named the to the 2012 FIBA U17 Word Championship All-Tournament Team and was awarded an honorary bronze metal in the inaugural 2011 FIBA 3×3 U18 World Championship.

Harper, who earned her spot on the team after three days of trial in Colorado said that, “[…] it was a great feeling to get another chance to represent my country. I felt like I gave it my all. […] I am beyond grateful to be here.”

Besides Linnae, there are three other SEC players included on the team: Tiffany Mitchell and Alaina Coates from South Carolina and Courtney Williams out of Texas A&M.

The players and coaches will return to Colorado on July 3rd to begin training and will depart for Toronto on July 8th. The team has been placed into Group A and will play Brazil on July 16, the Dominican Republic on the 17th, and Puerto Rico on the 18th in preliminaries. Two teams from each preliminary Group A and B will advance to the medal round on July 19th. The semifinal winners will play for the gold on July 20th.


‘Murica, for the win.

(H/T UK Athletics/ David Wegiel)

Kentucky Softball drops first game of the Super Regional

(H/T UK Athletics/ David Wegiel)

(H/T UK Athletics/ David Wegiel)

The Kentucky softball team got off to a rough start in the Super Regionals after dropping their first game of the series to top ranked Florida in Gainesville this afternoon. After a bases-clearing double by Florida’s Kvistad in the bottom of the first inning to take the 4-0 lead, the Gators never looked back, ending the game ahead 7-0.

The Cats will now look to redeem themselves in game two tomorrow at noon. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.

Let’s go Cats!

Former KSR Intern and UK Tennis Star Hanging with Venus

Former KSR Intern and UK Tennis Star Hanging with Venus


Over the years we have gotten to know a lot of UK athletes while doing KSR and their personalities have spanned a wide range of types. But there may be no more unique or funny UK athlete that I have met than former UK tennis star Tom Jomby, who also spent a semester interning with us at KSR. Tom wrote a journal for the site and also participated on the radio, including the bit “Put Your Hands on Tom Jomby” that we used to give away UK basketball tickets. Well now Tom is pursuing his tennis professional career and he is spending this week helping Venus Williams as her hitting partner at the French Open. Tom, who is also French, posted these pictures today of him and Venus and it is worth noting that even while enjoying the red clay of Paris, he is still representing the Wildcats.

It is very cool to see Tom doing well and showcasing to the fine folks at Roland Garros the appeal of Kentucky Life.


UK athletes combined for a 3.0 GPA

UK Athletics achieved a 3.0 department-wide GPA for a sixth consecutive semester and the seventh semester in eight years. Scholarship athletes had a cumulative GPA of 3.075 for the spring semester 2015.

Mitch Barnhart said. “I want to congratulate our students for their work in the classroom this semester and for the way they manage the demanding schedules that come with competing at the highest level of collegiate athletics.”

You can see a team-by-team rundown here.

Men’s Basketball had the lowest of all teams at 2.646. They were a little busy in March and April.

UK Athletics

KSR’s SEC Baseball Tournament Live Diary

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Kentucky is on the field for the first round of the SEC Tournament against Auburn. The game is available on SEC Network or ESPN3, or you can follow here or on Twitter. First pitch is at 5:30 E.T from Hoover, Alabama. Let’s get this party started, shall we?

8:58 (Huntsman) Hairston flies out to begin the ninth. Mahan walks. Double play ends the game. Thanks for playing.

8:52 (Huntsman) Bo Wilson gets out of another jam. Auburn leads 6-3 heading to the bottom of the ninth. Hairston, Mahan, and Fettes due up for Kentucky.

8:45 (Huntsman) Rough start to the ninth for the Cats. Two singles with no outs force Henderson to pull Jack. New pitcher for Kentucky is Bo Wilson. RBI single makes it 6-3 Auburn, so much for momentum.

8:35 (Huntsman) Shelby strikes out to end the eighth. Spencer Jack is back out for the ninth inning. Kentucky scores two in eighth to cut the lead to 5-3.

8:33 (Huntsman) Marcus Carson singles and advances to second on the throw. Two outs in the eighth, Auburn is going to the bullpen with Barrett coming up. 7.2 innings from Lipscomb, kid balled out. Kyle Barrett with an RBI single off the new pitcher, Justin Camp. 5-2 Auburn. Evan White follows Barrett with a single. Two men on with Tom at the plate. Tom follows up with an RBI single, 5-3 Auburn.

8:17 (Huntsman) Solid inning from Spencer Jack. With two strikeouts and a pop out, Jack puts Auburn down in order. Cats need to string together some base hits and get a rally going. Season is hanging in the balance with two innings remaining.

8:06 (Huntsman) Ka’ai Tom leads off the inning with a solo home run. It is the first homer of the SEC Tournament and Tom’s fifth of the year. 5-1 Auburn after seven innings.

8:04 (Huntsman) Kentucky gets out of a huge jam with Jack striking out the final batter. Kentucky down to their final nine outs, trailing 5-0.

7:59 (Huntsman) Auburn puts runners on second third after a hit by pitch and a single. The Tigers now have 11 hits off of Kentucky’s three pitchers. Spencer Jack in trying to get out of the jam.

7:51 (Huntsman) SEC Network’s Chris Burke nearly fell over the rail.

7:46 (Huntsman) Kyle Barrett gets a two out single but is stranded. Kentucky still trails 5-0 through six innings. Zach Logue out to pitch for Kentucky in place of Strecker. You have to believe that there is something in the tank for Kentucky, but they have had trouble scoring in the final innings all year.

7:35 (Huntsman) Auburn adds another run on a sac fly by Melvin Gray. The Tigers have four runs on nine hits, meanwhile Kentucky has no runs on one hit. Logan Salow has run out to the bullpen and will be most likely replacing Strecker very soon. Another single scores another run, 5-0 Auburn. The inning comes to a merciful end after a flyout.

7:24 (Huntsman) Another 1-2-3 inning for Auburn. Through five, Kentucky trails 3-0. Lipscomb has been incredible.

7:17 (Huntsman) Auburn gets a leadoff single and advances him to third, but Strecker works around it and allows no runs. Auburn still leads 3-0 as we head to the bottom of the fifth. Hairston, Mahan, and Fettes are due up in the inning.

7:08 (Huntsman) Ka’ai Tom puts a line drive to the right field wall for a double. Kentucky’s first hit off of Lipscomb after he shut down the first 11 batters. Shelby strikes out to end the inning. Still 3-0 Auburn.

7:00 (Huntsman) Strecker gets the final two outs and surrenders no more runs. A fantastic play by Shelby saves another run and ends the half inning. Top of the lineup due up Kentucky in the bottom of the fourth.

6:50 (Huntsman) RBI Triple by Jackson Burgeen gives Auburn a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Brown looks nothing like he did last week. Zack Brown is being pulled from the pitcher’s spot for Zach Strecker.

6:46 (Huntsman) Auburn has runners on 1st and 2nd to begin the top of the fourth. Brown allows a single and a walk to bump his pitch count to 71 through just over three innings.

6:37 (Huntsman) Another perfect inning for Auburn’s Cole Lipscomb. Fettes strikeout, Carson groudout, Heady flyout.

6:30 (Huntsman) Auburn takes the first lead of the game on an RBI single by Daniel Robert. Runners move up on the throw and Auburn has runners on second and third with two outs. Big strikeout by Brown keeps the Tigers from putting up a crooked number. 1-0 Auburn through two and a half.

6:22 (Huntsman) Auburn gets caught swinging and then Fettes throws a runner out at second. The Tigers’ manager argued both calls for a considerable amount of time. Nonetheless, two big outs for Kentucky. Auburn’s baserunnign mistakes are saving Brown on the mound.

6:16 (Huntsman) Auburn has a strong following for the first round. And boy, let me tell ya, War Eagle is getting annoying. There is one guy just screaming after every pitch. Someone get him some complementary Golden Flakes and calm him down.

FullSizeRender (8)

6:09 (Huntsman) JaVon Shelby reaches on an error, but is thrown out trying to reach second. Not really sure why he thought he could make it, was tagged out before making it halfway. Hairston and Mahan strike out to follow.

6:04 (Huntsman) Brown works around another baserunner in the top of the second. He gets a strikeout, walk, fielders choice and a flyout to get out of the inning. Still no score as Shelby, Hairston, and Mahan are due up. Second straight game Bernal has not been in the lineup

5:52 (Huntsman) Kentucky goes down 1-2-3 in the first inning. Cole Lipscomb with an impressive start for Auburn. Zack Brown back out for the second inning for UK

5:45 (Huntsman) 

5:42 (Huntsman) Auburn collects a single from Melvin Gray and Damon Haecker bunts over the runners to 2nd and 3rd. Gray trys to advance home on a wild pitch but is thrown out by Fettes. Two outs now.

5:35 (Huntsman) Brown gets a groundball but JaVon Shelby boots it at second base. Auburn has the lead man on base to begin this game.

5:15 (Huntsman) Both teams are in warmups as we are just a few minutes from first pitch. Kentucky in all white and Auburn with navy hats, orange jerseys, and white pants. Here are the uniforms and lineups. Auburn is starting Second Team All-SEC pitcher Cole Libscomb and UK is going with Zack Brown. Storm Wilson is not playing after being ejected on Saturday. Marcus Carson in right field.

FullSizeRender (7)

4:55 (Huntsman) Here is an update on the SEC Tournament Bracket. South Carolina most likely played themselves out of the NCAA Tournament by losing to Missouri. Ole Miss was upset by #11 seed Alabama in the first game of the tournament. Alabama will take on Texas A&M and Missouri will play Vanderbilt tomorrow.

Zack Brown is 6-5 on the year with a 3.31 ERA. (UK Athletics)

Kentucky Baseball Heads to the SEC Tournament

(UK Athletics)

(UK Athletics)

Kentucky is the eight seed in tomorrow’s SEC Tournament First Round. The BatCats take on nine-seeded Auburn at 5:30 E.T on Tuesday night. The tournament will have games beginning at 10:30 for the next couple days, so there will be plenty of games to watch leading up to Sunday’s championship. There will be more heart and hustle in these games than in any sport you’ll ever watch. There will be dirty jerseys, screaming and yelling, and probably some crazy rally caps. What should you watch for from Kentucky and across the league? Here you go.

This is Kentucky’s Fourth Straight SEC Tournament

This has only happened once before, and it has been nearly twenty years since the last time. 12 of the 14 teams in the SEC reach the tournament. The first round is single elimination and the remainder of the tournament is double until the semifinals. If Kentucky beats Auburn, they will take on #1 LSU in the second round. Kentucky put together a nice run in 2014 that included wins over Mississippi State, Alabama and Florida. The Cats reached the semifinals before falling to Florida and going 3-1 in the tournament. Here are the highlights from the crazy game against MSU in last year’s tournament.

Zack Brown Starts Tomorrow

Zack Brown has been confirmed as the starter for Kentucky in the first game of the SEC Tournament against Auburn. The first round is single elimination in the SEC, which means a lot to a bubble team like UK. Win against fellow bubble team Auburn, and you could cement a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Lose, and your season hangs in the balance. So who else would the Cats turn to but Brown? Thesophomore has thrown several big time games this year when his team needed him the most.

Zack Brown is 6-5 on the year with a 3.31 ERA. (UK Athletics)

Zack Brown is 6-5 on the year with a 3.31 ERA. (UK Athletics)


So what should Kentucky coaches and fans look for in the SEC Tournament? More dominance from Zack Brown. With a 3.31 ERA and 68 strikeouts, Brown has been a phenomenal Friday night starter for Kentucky in 2015. Brown threw a complete game shutout against Missouri, and seven or more shutout innings against Tennessee and #5 Florida. He has been a bulldog for the rotation and a pure innings eater. Coach Henderson is showing his trust in Brown by pitching him on just four days rest after Friday’s start. Brown is Kentucky’s best tool on the mound and he will be the key to the Cats reaching the double elimination rounds.

Kentucky Well Represented on All-SEC Teams

JaVon Shelby was named First Team All-SEC, Kyle Barrett to Second Team, and Evan White was awarded All-Freshman and All-Defensive. For more on all the awards you read the recap from this afternoon right here. 

What to Watch For On Offense

The Cats are notorious for striking early on offense. They jumped out to 1-0 leads in each game against Mizzou and kept that lead through two of the games. JaVon Shelby, Kyle Barrett and Ka’ai Tom have had extremely productive seasons and will continue to be the main cogs for Kentucky’s offense.

(UK Athletics)

(UK Athletics)

But it will be important for the Cats to find production from Dorian Hairston and whoever plays third base (Thomas Bernal or Riley Mahan). If Mahan plays like he did against Mizzou, the Cats will be tough to beat. The freshman was a late sub in the lineup and reached base three times, including a double. Evan White showed off his power in the final inning of the final game against Mizzou with a two-run bomb. If he can continue his gap-to-gap power, the Cats will have a great offensive attack for the tourney.

The SEC Tournament is Incredible to Watch

Games will begin bright and early this week, and each matchup will be incredible to watch. Who should you watch for on day one? How about the conference’s player of the year, Andrew Benintendi. Arkansas’s lead man led the league in homers and also hit .415 with 21 stolen bases. He is worth the price of admission. The second round will bring some of the bigger MLB Draft Prospects.

Swanson (black jersey) is one of the best players in college baseball this decade. (UK Athletics)

Swanson (black jersey) is one of the best players in college baseball this decade. (UK Athletics)

Vanderbilt is projected to have three top ten picks with Dansby Swanson, Walker Bueheler, and SEC Pitcher of the Year Carson Fulmer. LSU shows off Alex Bregman and SEC Freshman of the Year Alex Lange. The tournament is essentially a showcase of future superstars, so watch as much as you can and don’t be afraid to do some extra research on some of the guys you see.

Bracketology? Nope, still hate it, even for baseball.  

I will say this, bracketology is a lot more efficient and a lot more interesting for baseball. Maybe I just hate the word, or the thought of Joe Lunardi on my TV. Nonetheless, Kentucky is definitely on the bubble watch heading into the tournament. D1 Baseball has UK out of the field, but that was before the series win over Mizzou. Auburn, South Carolina and Mizzou are all on the bubble and this tournament could be an extra push. Missouri and South Carolina play tomorrow for a potential playoff game for the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky and Auburn will be doing the same. Here is the bracket for the SEC Tournament.

Where to Look for Coverage?

All games will be shown on SEC Network except for the Championship (ESPN2). KSR will have a live diary running tomorrow and there will be plenty of coverage over on the baseball twitter. Feel free to get involved and root on the BatCats tomorrow against Auburn.


(UK Athletics)

Three Cats Honored by SEC

(UK Athletics)

(UK Athletics)

With the SEC Tournament beginning tomorrow, the SEC Awards were handed down today. JaVon Shelby was named First Team All-SEC, Kyle Barrett Second Team, and Evan White All-Freshman and All-Defensive. 

Shelby is forth Wildcat in three years to be named First Team All-SEC. He is also the first second baseman to be awarded the honor since Ryan Wilkes in 2008. The sophomore hit .318 with a team-leading nine home runs. Shelby also led the team in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and walks. Last season, Shelby was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team, becoming only the second Kentucky player to jump from All-Freshman to All-SEC First Team in one season. 

Barrett led the SEC in hits for the 2015 campaign as Kentucky’s primary lead off hitter. The junior centerfielder hit .352 with 82 hits in 52 games this season. Barrett has been a mainstay in Kentucky’s centerfield position due to his incredible defense (only one error this year) and ability to get on base. Previous honors for Barrett include 2013 SEC All-Freshman Team and 2013 SEC Academic Honor Roll.

White has been labeled as one of the best defensive first baseman in UK's history. (UK Athletics)

White has been labeled as one of the best defensive first baseman in UK’s history. (UK Athletics)

As a freshman, Evan White proved he belonged in the SEC. In his first collegiate season, White was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team and the SEC All-Defensive Team. White committed only one error as a freshman, finishing with a .998 fielding percentage. This is impressive saying he had 508 putouts and 28 assists. White also had an impressive season at the plate. His .319 batting average was good enough for third on the team. White did a great job in the number two spot in the batting order this season behind Barrett. The freshman drove in 28 runs with two home runs, including one against Missouri in the final game of the regular season. 

Here is the full list of awards. 

Kentucky will take on Auburn tomorrow at 5:30 E.T on SEC Network.



(Getty Images)

James Paxton Dominates for Seattle

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Former Kentucky pitcher James Paxton had one of the best outings of his career today. Paxton pitched eight shutout innings, allowing only five hits against the Red Sox. The Mariners supported Paxton in a 5-0 victory to improve Paxton’s record on the season to 2-2. Paxton has thrown 20 consecutive scoreless innings and has lowered his season ERA down to 3.59. The scoreless streak is the highest of Paxton’s career.


Softball Advances to Super Regionals

The Wildcats took on Notre Dame in the Regional Finals in an attempt to advance to the Super Regionals. After a comeback, Kentucky defeated the Fighting Irish 4-3.

Offensively, Nikki Sagermann led the Cats to a victory with two runs, three hits, and one RBI. Kara Howard provided a run and a hit and Christian Stokes added remaining run of the game. Although she was not able to score, Griffin Joiner contributed to the Wildcat’s success immensely. She delivered two hits and two RBI, while Sylver Samuel and Maisie Steed each added a hit. Defensively, Kelsey Nunley allowed seven hits and three runs.

Kentucky will take on the No. 1 Florida Gators in the Super Regionals in hopes of advancing to the Women’s College World Series. For access to the Division I softball bracket, visit

Kentucky Track and Field Competes at SEC Championships

Brad Szypka (Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics)

Chet White/

The Kentucky Track and Field teams competed at the SEC Championships over the weekend in Starkville, Mississippi. The Kentucky women finished with 99 total points, good enough for 3rd place and their best finish since 1982. The men finished with 58 total points, good enough for 6th place and their best finish since 1996.

3 Wildcats won individual championships as well. Kendra Harrison won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 12.50, becoming the 3rd fastest 100m hurdler in collegian history. Also. Keffri Neal became the back to back champion in the 1,500m. Finally, Justin Kretchmer won the men’s high jump with a clearance of 7 feet, 0.25in.

Here is a breakdown of the most notable times of the weekend:

  • Rebecca Famurewa won the silver medal in the discus throw with a distance of 187 feet, 5in.
  • Bradley Szypka won the bronze medal in the shot put with a distance of 63 feet, 9in.
  • Dezerea Bryant won the bronze medal in both the 100m and 200m.
  • Leah Nugnet placed 3rd in the 400m with a time of 56.47.



Kyle Barrett Finishes With Big Accomplishment

Kyle Barrett Finishes With Big Accomplishment

(UK Athletics)

(UK Athletics)

For the first time since 1988, a Kentucky player led the SEC in hits. Kyle Barrett had 82 hits in 2015, including four yesterday to push him over LSU’s Chris Chinea for first in the league. This is only the second time in program history that a Kentucky player has led the league in hits. The last player to do so was Vince Castaldo with 86 hits in 1988. Barrett batted .352 in 2015, good enough for 12th in the league.

Kentucky will take the field on Tuesday at 5:30 E.T against Auburn in the SEC Tournament. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network.


Cats Go for Fourth Super Regional Trip in Five Years.

Good luck to Coach Rachel Lawson and the Hittin’ Kittens as they go for their fourth Super Regional trip in the last five years. First pitch against Notre Dame in the South Bend Regional Final is set for 1 o’clock today. The winner of today’s match-up will see the winner of the Gainesville Regional game that includes top-ranked Florida next week. To watch the game online, head over here.

Go Cats!!!!

Changes are coming to the women’s game too.

Matthew Mitchell Fist Pump

A couple of days ago, we learned that the shot clock will go down to 30 seconds in the men’s game, now we have also learned that there are some changes coming to the women’s game as well.

The NCAA rules committee has recommended that the women’s game move from two halves, to a four quarter format similar to high school and the WNBA. The committee believes that the change will bring a better flow to the game overall.

If the committee does vote on June 8th to break the game into four ten-minute quarters, there will also be some other rules modified.

  • Teams would go into the bonus on the fifth team foul in each quarter. Currently, teams get a one-and-one on the seventh team foul of each half and go into the double on the 10th team foul.
  • Team fouls would be reset to zero to start each quarter. If the team goes into the bonus in the fourth quarter, they would however, remain in the bonus if the game was to go into overtime.
  • Only one media timeout would be allowed in each quarter–at the under five mark, and at the end of the 1st and 3rd quarters.
  • Each team would only be allowed four timeouts a game (three 30 seconds and one 60 second) with only two of those unused timeouts carried over to the second half and only one 30 second time out in each overtime period along with any unused timeouts. Under the two half system, teams get five timeouts each.

According to the release by the NCAA, Matthew Mitchell is in full support of the proposed changes. He said, “Working collectively is vital in growing the game of women’s basketball and keeping fans engaged. We are thankful that the NCAA Women’s Basketball Rules Committee is receptive to our input.”

Well that settles it then, let’s play ball.


[NCAA: Rules committee recommends moving women’s basketball games to four-quarter format]

(UK Athletics)

Kentucky to Face Auburn in the SEC Tournament

(UK Athletics)

(UK Athletics)

The dust has finally settled on the SEC Tournament standings. Eight-seeded Kentucky will play Auburn, the nine seed, in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Kentucky (30-24, 14-15) will look to advance past Auburn (34-22, 13-17) in single elimination play on Tuesday at 5:30 E.T on SEC Network. The winner will advance to the double elimination rounds where they will face LSU. Each game of the tournament will be available on the SEC Network.

We will have a full preview of the tournament tomorrow.