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Kentucky Opens Kentucky Proud Park with a 7-3 Victory over EKU

ukathletics

On a day of firsts, Kentucky got their first victory in Kentucky Proud Park, a 7-3 win over EKU in front of a crowd of 4,074, the 10th largest crowd in program history.

Things got going for Kentucky in the 5th inning. Already up 1-0, TJ Collett hit the first home run ever in Kentucky Proud Park with a two-run blast to push the Cats lead to 3-0.

“It feels amazing,” said Collett. “I was messing around with Jaren Shelby, I was actually hoping Shelby would hit the first bomb, but he called me selfish, and I guess I got to go first. It’s an honor and something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

To keep it going in the 5th inning, Jaren Shelby got to have a little fun breaking in the new turf infield when he stole three bases in one inning; yes, you read that right. Shelby took second, third, and, most importantly, home. Shelby would go on to steal second and third in the 6th inning. With Shelby reaching base via a walk and an error, I can’t say I’ve looked at many box scores to see a clean-up hitter go 0-4 with five stolen bases in a game.

Ryann Shinn kept his on-base streak alive this afternoon with a walk and a hit. He’s now reached base in six straight games. 

Dalton Reed has proved to be a formidable force in this lineup as well. The JuCo transfer had another double today, Kentucky’s first hit in KPP. He scored the first run in KPP as well, on an error by EKU 2nd baseman Ryland Kerr.

After giving up a grand slam to the first batter he faced in relief this season, Grant Macciocchi had an excellent day on the mound.  Macciocchi started his day with a three-pitch inning in the opening frame, then retired the next 11 hitters, facing the minimum through four and two-thirds innings.

Macciocchi finished with six strikeouts, allowing three hits, one walk, and a run through five and two-thirds innings of work.

“I thought Grant Macciocchi was awesome,” said Coach Mingione. “I thought he set the tone. Guys, his first inning was a three-pitch inning. I told our guys, I don’t know the last time I was a part of a three-pitch inning. I don’t know if that could’ve gone any better. Get three pitches, get three outs. Woo!”

A cool moment came when two former Rockcastle County Rockets faced off with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th. Freshman Hunter Rigsby faced off against his teammate in the batter’s box, Brent Lovell with EKU down six in the ninth. Rigsby was the better Rocket in this matchup as he got his old friend to lineout to third keep the lead at six. EKU tried to rally back with two runs late, but it wasn’t enough as Kentucky opened KPP with a 7-3 victory.

After the game Coach Mingione emphasized on just how special this game was.

“It was emotional, there was so many people. When you think about the time, the effort, and the years. This was a long time coming… what a special day; thank you to all the fans.

He was also feeling a little relieved. “Man, it was so good to get a win,” Mingione laughed. “I’m relieved about that. I wanna win every game, but especially the first one, you gotta win the first one right? I wouldn’t say there was worry, but there’s relief now there’s a win in the ballpark.”


If you missed your chance to make it out to Kentucky Proud Park, you won’t have to wait much longer. The Bat Cats will be back in their new home tomorrow to take on Northern Kentucky at 4:00 pm ET.

If you can’t make it out, you can catch UK on SEC Network Plus or 98.5 FM Lexington on the UK Sports Network.

Kentucky improves to 4-3 on the year. Go Cats.


@BrentW_KSR


Kentucky Swept by Texas Tech in Disappointing Fashion

Shinn at Texas Tech

If there were run rules in baseball, they definitely would have been applied today, as Kentucky suffered the sweep in the Lone Star State, losing to Texas Tech 19-4.

It has been a disappointing weekend for the Bat Cats. Kentucky struggled, blowing two leads in the first two games of the series. But today was the worst of them all, as the Cats didn’t hold the lead one time in this ball game. Big innings have been the backbreaker for Kentucky in this series, giving up two six-run innings in the first two games – today was no different. Only this time, Texas Tech seemingly hung a crooked number in every inning. Having yet another six-run inning in the 3rd, a four-run inning in the 4th, a three-run inning in the 6th and, to cap it all off, a four-run inning in the 7th; Kentucky’s pitching was no match for the Red Raiders.

Kentucky sent eight pitchers to the mound today to try to figure out an answer for this Red Raider lineup, but none of them prevailed. Starter and losing pitcher Dillion Marsh only went two innings, giving up six runs in his short time on the mound this afternoon. He also walked five batters in and surrendered six hits before being pulled. The collective effort from the bullpen didn’t provide any relief either, as they surrendered 13 hits and walked seven more batters as a whole. One bright spot out of the bullpen was Tyler Burchett, who made his debut in the blue and white this afternoon. In his first appearance, he only surrendered one walk to carry the limping Cats to the finish line.

Texas Tech’s right fielder had himself a day with a whopping seven RBIs off three hits. He got the bulk of his RBI’s on a three-run blast in the big 3rd inning for the Red Raiders. Brian Klein also contributed big numbers for the Red Raiders; he had four hits and four RBIs on the day.

On the offensive side for the Cats, Jaren Shelby was a bright spot, as he was responsible for three runs in today’s contest. The Lexington native went for two RBIs on two hits, and he scored a run as well.

Ryan Shinn kept his on-base hot streak up as he reached base in all three at-bats he had this afternoon, but the way he got on base was very unconventional. Shinn was hit by the pitch in all three of his at-bats. If you thought his day sounded fishy, get this: Texas Tech pitchers hit Kentucky batters seven times in this contest. I’m not sure if that’s some sort of record, but if I were a betting man, I’d say it was pretty close.

On the bright side of things, Kentucky will debut their new, state of the art Kentucky Proud Ballpark Tuesday at 4:00 pm as they take on EKU. You should be able to make it to Kentucky Proud Park’s debut on Tuesday after all: Kentucky baseball has provided you with an excuse from work.

But, in the unfortunate circumstance you can’t make it to the game, you can watch the Cats attempt to stay above .500 and get back to their winning ways on SEC Network+ or tune in on 98.5 FM Lexington.

Forecasts say it will be a beautiful day for February baseball, with it being sunny and temperatures sitting in the 50s.

Go Cats.


@BrentW_KSR


@KentuckyWBB

It’s Senior Day for UK Hoops, including Maci Morris, Taylor Murray

@KentuckyWBB

A special senior class will be honored inside Memorial Coliseum Sunday afternoon, as Matthew Mitchell’s four seniors will be celebrated before tip-off. Maci Morris, Taylor Murray, Paige Poffenberger and LaShae Halsel will be honored. The ceremony is slated to begin at approximately 1:40 p.m.

In addition to the Senior Day activities, there are plenty of other reasons to attend. Pediatric patients from the UK Children’s Hospital will be going through the starting lineup with UK’s players; there will be a “Kid Zone” with games and a poster-making station; one UK student who checks in on the BBN Rewards app will win $10,000.

But the most important reason, of course, is to cheer on these four women as they take on LSU. While all four deserve to be celebrated, it’s impossible to ignore the impact Morris and Murray have had on this team – not only this season, but throughout their four years in Lexington. Morris is averaging 15.8 points per game this year with a team-best 65 3-pointers, while Murray is averaging 12.7 points per game while leading UK in assists and steals.

“I would really like to invite all of the Big Blue Nation to make every effort to be in Memorial Coliseum on Sunday,” Coach Mitchell said. “This is such a special group for us and they have done so much for us. We would love for a sellout crowd to attend and be there to honor them. Be in your seat early at 1:40 p.m. and hope you can come out and celebrate what has been some remarkable accomplishments from this group.”

General admission tickets are available for $8 for adults or $5 for children. If you can’t make the trip, the game can be seen on the SEC Network, and we’ll have plenty of postgame coverage right here on Kentucky-Sports-Radio-dot-com.


Texas Tech takes the series over the Bat Cats

Kentucky drops their series against Texas Tech, losing 10-7 in a very windy Lubbock, Texas this afternoon.

The momentum went back and forth, just like the 45 MPH winds in the game, but the most significant game shifter came in the fifth inning. After a big top half of the inning for the Cats where they put up four runs, Texas Tech took no time to respond. The Red Raiders scored six runs in the inning to take a commanding 8-5 lead. That’s the second time this series Texas Tech put up six runs in an inning to overtake a Wildcat lead. If you remember in yesterday’s game, the six runs came from a collective effort from The Red Raiders, but in this inning, the big blow came from Dylan Neuse.

After starting pitcher, Jimmy Ramsey gave up two doubles and a single that scored a run to start the inning, Mingione went to the bullpen to have Mason Hazelwood to bail the Cats out of the jam. Unfortunately, Hazelwood walked the only two men he faced to load the bases and score another to make it 5-4.

After that, Mingione went to Grant Macciocchi to deal with the tough task of getting Kentucky out of a bases loaded, no out, situation. But, the first person Macciocchi faced was Dylan Neuse who went yard for a grand slam, his second home run of the day. Neuse hit a home run, that was helped by the wind gusts, back in the 2nd inning to give the Red Raiders a 2-1 lead. Neuse finished the day with five RBIs.

If the box score didn’t serve as a good indication, It was not a great showing on the defensive side of things for the Cats. Kentucky had four errors in this afternoon’s contest. Two of the errors came from Alex Rodriguez, both coming before the game had reached the third inning.

The other two errors came on a play that you would see in little league. In the 8th inning, Dru Baker had a ball fall in for a hit, but Jaren Shelby miss played a ball in right field that resulted in Baker advancing. As Baker was heading for third, Zeke Lewis sent the ball into the Kentucky dugout that allowed Baker to score. A little league home run, if you will, that allowed Texas Tech to go up 10-7.

The pitching staff had a tough go of things, as well. Starting pitcher Jimmy Ramsey only made it four innings, giving up five runs and seven hits. Ramsey didn’t really have a hard time keeping the ball in the zone, as he didn’t surrender a walk, but the Red Raiders were all over him. Four of the hits he gave up were doubles, but the wind helped the ball carry for both teams, to cut Ramsey some slack.

Alex Degen and Hunter Rigsby would carry the Cats to the finish line, but both gave up a run in their outing.


On the bright side, Kentucky’s offense did hang up seven runs on the board with a lot of production coming from Ryan Shinn. Despite Kentucky’s two losses, Ryan Shinn has arguably been the best player this entire series. Before this game, Ryan Shinn had gotten on base in seven straight plate appearances. Today Shinn extended that streak to 10 with two leadoff doubles and a three-run home run. But his streak would come to an end in the 7th via strikeout, but his performance will all but surely reward Shinn SEC player of the week honors.

Let’s not forget the catch Shinn made last night.

Jaren Shelby and TJ Collet both had sacrifice RBI’s in this game. Shelby’s coming in the 7th to bring the Cats within one run of the Red Raiders, making it 7-8. Collett’s happened in the fifth to tie to game at two.

Kentucky also got some production from the bottom half of their line up, as Alex Rodriguez had a run and an RBI out of the seven hole. Marshall Gei scored a run out of the eight spot in the sixth inning, which was set up from the RBI double by nine-hole hitter, Zeke Lewis.

Hopefully, the Bat Cats will get on track tomorrow as they try to avoid the sweep. First pitch is at 2:00 PM ET tomorrow. You can catch the game on Fox Southwest plus, or 98.5 FM Lexington.


UK Softball gets Revenge on Oregon in a Blowout Victory

@UKsoftball

Heading into the season ranked 13th in the nation, the lady Cats on the diamond have stumbled out of the gate a bit to start the 2019 season. After losing three of their five games in the Houston Invitational, all by just one run, the Cats were derailed by third-ranked Oklahoma on Thursday. But, this weekend the Cats have had a better go of things, with Rachel Lawson picking up her 400th win on Friday against Utah, The Cats looked to put two more in the win column yesterday against Texas and Oregon. After dropping the first game to Texas, the Wildcats were ready to get some revenge on the Ducks.

Oregon has ended Kentucky’s season in the super-regionals the last two seasons. Last year Kentucky was just one game from Oklahoma City and the College World Series until the Ducks rallied and won the next two games to send Kentucky home. But, yesterday was a different story as the Cats run-rules Oregon ending the game in just five innings 12-3.

Madisonville native Mallory Peyton had a big day, as she hit a two-run home run to end things in just five innings. On the weekend Peyton has four home runs, 10 RBIs, and six extra-base hits. Katie Reed and Abby Cheek had home-runs as well that helped Kentucky’s blowout efforts, but one of the biggest plays came from Kelsee Henson when the senior from Paducah was called on to pinch-hit in the bottom of the third to extend UK’s lead to 5-0. Jenny Schaper had a good day at the plate as well, as she ended with two hits, two RBIs, and she scored a run.

Kentucky will wrap up the Elite Invitational in Clearwater, Flordia tomorrow against James Madison. It will be Kentucky’s fourth game against a ranked opponent in as many days. First pitch is set for 1:00 PM and you can catch the game on the ESPN app.

Check out highlights from today’s big victory over No. 22 Oregon here:


via UK Athletics

Rhyne Howard picks up another national award nomination

via UK Athletics

Kentucky’s star freshman Rhyne Howard just pulled in another nomination for another national award. Howard has been added to the watchlist for the 2019 Cheryl Miller Award. She’s one of just 10 finalists. The annual award is in its second year and recognizes the top small forward in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball.

Howard’s freshman season has been special since the very beginning, when she became the first player in the Matthew Mitchell era to score at least 10 points in each of her first 10 games. Now, she’s averaging 16.8 points per game to go along with 6.6 rebounds – she leads the team in both of those categories. She’s second in successful 3-pointers (60) and second in steals (53). She has four double-doubles so far this season. These stats put her at the top of the conference – she leads all SEC freshman in points per game by nearly six points and rebounds per game by two boards. She also leads league rookies in steals, while placing second in assists and 3-point shot percentage.

Today’s news comes just a day after Howard was named SEC Freshman of the Week for the sixth time this season. She’s only the second player in league history to do that and the second Kentucky basketball player ever to win that award at least six times. The other? Brandon Knight.

Now that Howard has been named to the top-10 list for the Miller award, she just has a few more obstacles in her way en route to the trophy. Five finalists will be announced in March, and the winner will be revealed during the Women’s Final Four in Tampa.


@MaggieDavisKSR


PREVIEW: UK Gymnastics Hosts No. 5 LSU

By Courtney Layne Brewer

Your favorite summer intern is home from the Bayou to get you ready for the weekend. Basketball isn’t the only Top 25 matchup this weekend as the No. 17 Gym Cats take on reigning SEC Champ LSU in a huge home meet.

Friday is Daddy-Daughter Date Night at Memorial Coliseum with special concession packages and fun activities for the kids before introductions at 8:15 p.m. The meet will be televised on the SEC Network and tickets are only $10 to watch Kentucky Gymnastics take on a Top 5 team in Lexington.

Last week Kentucky lost 196.125 – 196.000 at home to No. 11 Auburn. They’re currently 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the SEC, and the Gym Cats have yet to leave the top 20 with consistent scores in the 196.000 range. Senior powerhouse Sidney Dukes came in second in the all-around with a 39.325 and season highs on both bars and floor, and Head Coach Tim Garrison is confident going forward.

After the meet, Garrison was open with how he feels about their progress, saying, “We’re a really good team, being patient and working our way through some lineups and getting some people back healthy. I feel good about where we are at this point.” This season is his eighth in Lexington and he’s receiving national praise for his success. Last season Garrison led the team to an NCAA Championship appearance and a night slot in the SEC Championship, earning him the coveted NACGC/W National Coach of the Year.

On the other hand, gymnastics powerhouse LSU has been putting up an average of 197.015 but has fallen to major opponents like No. 2 Florida. Senior Sarah Finnegan has earned three SEC Gymnast of the Week honors and has gone 5-for-5 in the all-around. Head Coach of 41 years D-D Breaux has expressed frustration with the team’s performance, but after beating out NC State 197.150-195.375 feels that they are on the right path. With floor powerhouse (and daughter of 1984 Olympic Champion Mary Lou Retton) McKenna Kelley back from injury and former national team member Lexie Priessman near her hometown of Cincinnati, the Cats are in for a challenge on Friday.

Last year in BR an improved Kentucky team put up a fight, losing by only half a point overall. Looking back on the series, LSU leads a whopping 79-5-0 with the most recent loss being in 2011. Last time the Tigers came to Lexington, NCAA Floor Champion Ashleigh Gnat put up a perfect ten on vault and LSU won by nearly two points.

2019 has already proven to be a special season for Kentucky. In Gainesville they put up the third highest score in program history. Mollie Korth and Sidney Dukes have made a name for themselves on the national stage and Coach Garrison is on a roll in the post-season. It will be exciting to see how the Cats fare at home against a top tier program like LSU and while a win would be shocking, a 196.000 or higher isn’t out of the question to improve their national standing both on paper and in the world of the Gym-ternet.

Get tickets for Friday’s meet here.


Via @Tollererin on Twitter

UK Hoops snags in-state commit, point guard Erin Toller

Via @Tollererin on Twitter

It’s been a big day for Matthew Mitchell and the rest of the women’s basketball team. After defeating Florida by 11 points, the Cats have more exciting news: they’ve picked up an in-state guard for their 2020 class. Erin Toller, who attends Sacred Heart Academy in Louisville, has committed to Kentucky.

She announced the news on Twitter, explaining some of the hardships and heartbreak that led her to the Wildcats. After suffering multiple knee injuries and dealing with the tragic loss of a friend, Toller made sure to thank her family, coaches, friends and trainers for sticking with her through the recruitment process.

ESPN has Toller listed as the No. 16 point guard and the No. 60 overall player in her class. She’s currently listed as a 3-star prospect.

Welcome to the BBN, Erin!


@MaggieDavisKSR


via @KentuckyWBB

A look at the women’s basketball win, by the numbers

via @KentuckyWBB

The women’s basketball team completed the perfect trifecta against Florida Sunday afternoon – the football team and the men and women’s basketball teams have all defeated the Gators this season.

The No. 19 Wildcats trailed for just over 10 minutes of the game, but they finished in a fairly-dominating fashion, ending the game with an 11-point margin of victory. Shooting was an issue for Kentucky (31.7 percent from the floor and 25 percent from the three), but the Cats found other ways to win. Here’s how:

Right play, right moment

Although the shooting percentage doesn’t show it, Kentucky was able to hit shots when they needed them. A 7-0 run at the end of the first quarter brought the momentum back to the Wildcats, and the game was tied 15-15 by the break. At halftime, Kentucky had pulled ahead, and the Cats went to the locker room with a 30-23 lead.

Another game changer? Maci Morris, who finished with just 10 points for a rather quiet night, sank a beautiful three-point bucket with under two minutes left in the game. Although the Cats had the lead before the successful trey, Morris’ shot felt like the straw that broke the Gators’ back. Morris has now hit at least one three-point shot in 100 of her 119 career games at Kentucky.

“We have ultimate confidence in her and she made some huge buckets in the fourth quarter,” Coach Matthew Mitchell said of Morris. “She came up big defensively at the right time and [I’m] really proud of that.”

Rebounding

The Cats finished with 35 rebounds, led by junior Amanda Paschal. The guard finished with a career-high and a team-leading nine rebounds, while freshmen Blaire Green and Rhyne Howard each contributed five boards.

“Amanda [Paschal] was incredible,” Coach Mitchell said after the game. “Amanda really, really sparked us when we could not score. She was everywhere, flying around, rebounding the ball, on the floor.”

Collectively, the Cats scored 16 points off their rebounds, plus 16 more off of second-chance points (aided by 16 offensive rebounds).

The Gators nearly matched the Cats’ number of rebounds (34) but they were far less efficient in terms of turning those boards into points. Florida scored just seven points off rebounds and just eight second-chance points off seven offensive rebounds.

Turnovers, turnovers and, yep, more turnovers

Kentucky finished with just nine turnovers, while they forced the Gators to lose possession 24 times. The Wildcats were able to turn those mistakes into 31 points, which made a huge difference in the game.

Physicality & free throws

The Cats finished with 16 team fouls, while the Gators had 22 against them. And when Kentucky got to the line, they were very successful – UK finished 17-22 from the charity stripe for 77.3 percent. Florida, on the other hand, finished the game 8-16 for 50 percent.

Taylor Murray was the difference maker for this stat line: the senior point guard hit 11 of her 13 free throws.


For a game recap, click here.

@MaggieDavisKSR


via @KentuckyWBB

Kentucky beats Florida… Again! UK Hoops wins 62-51

via @KentuckyWBB

The Cats defeated the Gators again – this time, Florida fell at the hands of the women’s basketball team. The No. 19 Wildcats came away with a 62-51 win (yes, the Cats won by 11 points… again).

Shooting was an issue, and when you look at the teams’ field goal percentages alone, it’s almost unbelievable the Cats came away with the win. Kentucky finished at 31.7 percent, while Florida finished at 45 percent. But UK found other ways to win.

Kentucky got to the line early and often, and the team finished 17-22 from the charity stripe. Two Gators fouled out, and another finished the game with four fouls. It was a physical game, and both teams had some sloppy stretches. But Kentucky made it work in their favor: the Cats forced a whopping 24 Gator turnovers, while UK committed just nine.

It was a relatively quiet night for veteran Maci Morris. Maybe it was Florida’s defense, or maybe it was Morris’ own emotions during the senior’s final game inside Rupp Arena. She finished with 10 points, seven assists and one rebound, but her biggest shot of the game had to be her 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter. With less than two minutes remaining in the game, Morris sank a three, her second of the night, from the corner to give the Cats a 61-49 lead.

Point guard Taylor Murray was big down the stretch, with a steal followed by several successful trips to the free-throw line (she finished 11-13). She finished 13 points, three rebounds and three assists. Freshman star Rhyne Howard led all scorers, recording with 16 points and five rebounds in 36 minutes.

After two consecutive losses to ranked teams (by a total of just six points), Sunday’s victory over Florida put the Cats back in the win column. Kentucky is now 18-5 on the season, and they’ll be back on the road Thursday to take on Auburn. Kentucky will hit the court on the plains at 7 p.m., and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.


@MaggieDavisKSR


Two Kentucky tennis players pick up weekly SEC awards

via UK Athletics

Kentucky is a tennis school! Two Wildcats just brought home conference awards: Freshman Tiphanie Fiquet was named SEC Freshman of the Week, and senior Ryo Matsumura was named SEC Player of the Week on Wednesday. It was the first week for awards this season, so it’s pretty impressive the Cats were able to scoop up two of the major ones.

Fiquet is unbeaten in singles and doubles throughout her eight matches so far this season. Her success has largely contributed to the No. 25 Wildcats’ 5-1 mark to open the regular season. She’s also the first female Cat to bring home the SEC Freshman of the Week title since since 2016.

Matsumura claimed SEC Player of the Week after an underfeated weekend, which included two wins against top-30 players.

Matsumura and the rest of the men’s team will return to action soon – they’ll hit the courts in Lexington on February 3 at 1:00. The women’s team has a little more time to recover – their next match is set for Feb. 15 at home against the University of South Florida at noon.

Congrats, Cats!


@MaggieDavisKSR


@acrphoto

Scenes from UK Baseball and Softball #FanDay2019

@acrphoto

In an effort to drum up excitement about the upcoming seasons for both the UK Baseball and UK Softball teams, the two programs hosted a joint Fan Day to interact with young fans, participate in activities, pose for pictures, compete in games, and more. With UK Baseball tickets going on sale tomorrow, today was the perfect time to peak everyone’s interest.

Take a look at some highlights from the success of a day today:

Looking through Twitter, you can find several fans and photographers posting pictures and complimenting both teams for their hospitality throughout the event. Check out just a few of them below.

Events like this are always awesome to see the players connect with kids on a more personal level. It is clear that the attendees have a blast and it seems that the players enjoy every minute of it as well. Fingers crossed for huge success on the field that matches the excitement off the field for both of these squads in the upcoming seasons.


@BrettBibbinsKSR