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Thank God for Zack Thomspon. Of the seven SEC wins Kentucky has this season, Zack Thomspon owns five of them, including today’s 6-2 victory over South Carolina as the Cats avoid the sweep in Columbia.
Thomspon was stellar once again working six innings and only allowing two runs on three hits while striking out eight. It is Thompson’s tenth straight quality start.
After this season wraps up, Thompson will enter the MLB draft where is projected to be the 14th pick to the Philadelphia Phillies. It’s been a rough season for the Cats, but it would be much worse without their stellar ace.
On the offensive side of things for Kentucky, they once again scored in the first inning-something they’ve done in every game this series-when Coltyn Kessler hit a full count, two out double that scored Elliot Curtis to put the Cats up early.
After the Gamecocks tied it up in the third, Kentucky made sure to get two more runs in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice groundout that scored Austin Schultz; then Cam Hill laid down a perfect sac bunt to score Dalton Reed.
The Cats struck for three more starting with an RBI double by Ryan Shinn in the fifth, then an RBI groundout scored Ryan Johnson, and a TJ Collett RBI single allowed Kentucky to take a commanding 6-1 lead.
South Carolina got one back in the sixth on an RBI double, but Daniel Harper shut down the Gamecocks for the rest of the game as the Cats salvage game three to keep their postseason hopes hanging by a thread.
In order to get into the SEC tournament, Kentucky will more than likely have to sweep N0.2 Vanderbilt and get some help from Georgia and Texas A&M.
Kentucky now sits at 25-26 (7-20). They will be back in action Tuesday night when they take on Michigan at Kentucky Proud Park. First pitch is for 7:00 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
Kentucky’s postseason dreams are all but over as they dropped game two and the series to South Carolina 11-3 in Columbia. It was South Carolina’s first series victory this season.
South Carolina turned this game on its head in the sixth when Coach Minge turned to Jimmy Ramsey, who leads the team in home runs given up, to face one of the best home run hitting teams in the SEC in South Carolina. The Cats went into the inning with a one-run lead and Ramsey was well on his way to a shutdown inning, but with two outs in the inning, Brady Allen took Ramsey deep to left field for South Carolina to take the lead. A single later, Wes Clarke clobbered a ball into left field, and the Gamecocks would take a two-run lead in the sixth.
South Carolina’s lead would balloon to seven runs on another back-breaking big inning given up by the Cats with two outs. It started with an RBI single by Jacob Olson, then Elliot Curtis lost a ball on what should’ve been a routine pop out to end the inning that allowed two more Gamecocks to score.
This pretty much sums up Kentucky baseball in 2019. pic.twitter.com/s8FHpBlkDx
— B££ZY (@Burke_F_Garner) May 11, 2019
South Carolina would get two more on back to back RBI singles.
The inability to finish innings has killed the Cats this year, and it all cumulated in today’s loss as 10 of South Carolina’s 11 runs came with two outs, and it may have just broken the back on the Kentucky season.
Kentucky once again jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-out single that scored the red hot Ryan Johnson. Kentucky would get two more on a bases-loaded single by Elliot Curtis in the fifth, but three runs obviously won’t get the job done against an 11 run barrage by South Carolina as Kentucky drops the series and their 2019 postseason dreams are all but over.
Kentucky will be back on the diamond tomorrow at 11:00 am ET in the finale against South Carolina on SEC Network+.
Kentucky is now 24-26 (6-20) on the year.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
For the first time in conference play this season, South Carolina has taken the first game in the series, and it comes at an inconvenient time for your Bat Cats. The road to Hoover for Kentucky just got a lot tougher as they lose in Columbia tonight 5-4.
Kentucky came in tied with Alabama for the final spot in the SEC Tournament with South Carolina one game back, so this series will determine if the Cats make it to Hoover this season.
However, Kentucky looked to be up for the challenge as they jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first after Ryan Johnson worked a 10-pitch double and would later score on a sac fly by Elliot Curtis.
But, the Gamecocks were game as they came back to take a 3-1 lead in the fourth.
It started in the third, Noah Cambell hit his sixth home run of the year to tie it at one apiece. Then, self-inflicted errors killed the Cats. After a two-base throwing error to kick off the fourth, South Carolina took advantage of the Kentucky mistake with an RBI triple to take the lead. But, another mistake allowed another Gamecock to score on a wild pitch for South Carolina to take a 3-1 lead.
Kentucky wasn’t done just yet though.
Kentucky rallied for three runs in the fifth to retake the lead at 4-3 on a two-RBI single and risky send by coach Fanning as Coltyn Kessler tied the game and TJ Collett put the Cats back on top with a single that scored Shinn.
But, more leadoff mistakes led to more runs for the Gamecocks, this time it was a leadoff walk that came all the way around to score on a squeeze bunt to tie the game at four in the sixth, then a leadoff home run in the seventh by Andrew Eyster allowed the Gamecocks to take a 5-4 lead.
Kentucky would get shutdown Dylan Harley and Brett Kerry as South Carolina took the pivotal game one in a series that will decide who will go to Hoover.
With Kentucky, South Carolina, and Alamaba all fighting for the last spot in Hoover, the Cats MUST win tomorrow to keep any dreams of a postseason alive. If not, South Carolina will take their first conference series of the year and Kentucky’s season will end next week against Vanderbilt.
Kentucky will try to even things up with the Gamecocks and their backs against the wall tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Go Cats @BrentW_KSR
By Maggie Davis on ©May 10th, 2019 @ 10:45pm
They put up a good fight, but the top-rated Alabama team proved to be too much for the No. 4 Wildcats in Friday night’s conference matchup. The softball team was eliminated in the SEC semifinals after falling 6-3 to the Crimson Tide. Kentucky is now 33-22 on the season, while Alabama moves to an impressive 52-6.
Kentucky matched Alabama in the game with seven hits, and there were no errors in the game. Catcher Jenny Schaper, Mallory Peyton and Lauren Johnson all had RBI hits in the game, driving in the three Kentucky runs (one each in the third, fourth and sixth innings). But a six-run second inning was the difference for Alabama, and the Cats simply could not catch up.
While Alabama advances to the championship game against No. 6 Florida – set for Saturday night – the Wildcats will make their way back to Lexington.
Now, it’s a waiting game until the NCAA Tournament brackets are announced. Kentucky is expected to earn one of the 30 at-large bids for the field of 64. The selection show will air live this Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
The UK softball team started the SEC Tournament on the right foot.
Playing a day later than expected thanks to inclement weather, the Wildcats rained all over Ole Miss’ parade in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals. The Cats clobbered the Rebels 8-0 to win in only five innings.
Rachel Lawson’s squad made their money in the third inning. Kentucky scored six runs on seven hits, all of which had runners in scoring position, to give UK the eight-run advantage. It all got started with a Big Blue Bomb in the first inning from SEC Player of the Year, Abbey Cheek.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) May 10, 2019
Kentucky advances to tonight’s semifinals at 7:00 p.m. ET where they will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide. Two weeks ago UK won the series in Tuscaloosa after a 13-inning rubber match. Tonight will likely produce similar fireworks.
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 08th, 2019 @ 7:30pm
The well-deserved recognition for UK Softball’s Abbey Cheek keeps piling up.
After being the first Wildcat ever named SEC player of the year on Tuesday, it was announced earlier today that Abbey Cheek has made the top 10 list for National player of the year by USA softball.
The senior third baseman leads the SEC in batting average and on-base percentage this season while also being top-10 in doubles, home runs, RBIs, hits, and slugging percentage.
Cheek also holds the school record for career home runs with 60home runs and counting.
Cheek and the Wildcats will start SEC tournament play Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET when they take on the winner of Mississippi State and Ole Miss on the SEC Network.
The Softball Cats are sitting at 23rd in the nation, so they will have to have an exceptional week at the SEC tournament to be one of the 16 national seeds which will allow them to host the first round of the NCAA tournament at John Cropp Stadium. If they sneak back in the top 16 before then, it will be the third straight season Kentucky will host as a national seed.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 07th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
Kentucky was looking to get back to .500 against border rival, Indiana, in front of local teachers for Teacher Appreciation Day at Kentucky Proud Park, and they did just that as they beat the Hoosiers 5-2.
Jimmy Ramsey was much better on the mound today after a dreadful start on Friday that saw him give up five earned runs in just 1.2 innings of work. Today, Ramsey went four solid innings, striking out seven batters and only allowing a run on three hits.
Daniel Harper came in relief and didn’t give up a single base runner in his two innings while sitting down half the batters he faced on strikes.
The rest of the bullpen only allowed two hits and a run the rest of the way.
The Cats got on the board early as two came around on a past ball of all things. Indiana’s pitcher walked Ryan Johnson then hit Ryan Shinn to lead off the game. After a sac bunt moved the two into scoring position, the ball squirted away from Wyatt Cross, and instead of finding it immediately, he took time to argue with the home plate umpire allowing two Cats to score for Kentucky to take a 2-0 lead after one without even having a hit on the board.
Then in the fifth Kentucky struck for two more. One run came when Elliot Curtis executed a PERFECT hit and run to bring home Ryan Johnson from second base. Then, the Cats once again took advantage of another caching error by the Hoosiers when Ryan Shinn scored on a pickoff move from the catcher. The catcher’s throw to third bounced into the outfield which allowed Shinn to waltz home. Kentucky scored on three runs on errors from both of Indiana’s catchers.
Coltyn Kessler would give Kentucky one more run in the seventh on an RBI single that scored Ryan Johnson to make it a 5-2 Kentucky lead. The Cats would hold on to that lead to give them their 24th victory of the year to put them right at .500.
Kentucky will be back in action this weekend when they travel to Columbia, South Carolina in a series that will likely determine who will be in the SEC tournament between the two.
First pitch in Columbia is set for 7:00 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Check out the highlights from tonight’s win:
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
By Maggie Davis on ©May 07th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
Kentucky’s star freshman continued to dominate – this time, on a national stage. Rhyne Howard led her team to the 3×3 National Championship game in Las Vegas, scoring 11 of the team’s 20 points. Ultimately, her efforts couldn’t quite get it done – her team lost by one point to the team representing the University of Oregon.
Howard was one of eight athletes that participated in a minicamp after submitting applications and being accepted by USA Basketball. Howard was joined by North Carolina’s Janelle Bailey (center), Drake’s Rebecca Hittner (guard) and Oregon State’s Destiny Slocum (guard). Howard was the only freshman on her team and one of just 21 freshmen competing in the tournament, out of 72 total participants.
Howard led her team to a 3-1 record in pool play before a 17-9 win over Michigan in the quarterfinal play-in game and 14-12 overtime win vs. Yee’go in the quarterfinals. They defeated NC State in the semifinals before falling to defending national champion Oregon, led by Sabrina Ionescu who earned MVP honors.
The two-day event also served as the 2019 USA Basketball Women’s 3×3 National Team trials. The selected roster will be announced later in May.
Until then, Howard will focus on the 2019 USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team Trials, which will be held later this month at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The 12-member team will be selected at the end of trials with training camp to follow July 5-19 and U19 World Cup competition taking place July 20-28 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Maci Morris served as an integral part of Kentucky’s women’s basketball team during each of her four seasons on campus, but today is all about her. It’s the Bell County native’s birthday today.
While she’s now considered a former Wildcat, the name Maci Morris will remain etched in the Cats’ record books. She’s No. 6 on Kentucky’s all-time scoring list, and she holds the record for highest career three-point percentage at 40.9 percent. She’s ranked No. 2 all-time for career free-throw percentage at 85.1 percent.
? TOGETHER ? pic.twitter.com/t9Ll5hmM76
— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) May 7, 2019
A lingering injury affected Morris’ performances down the stretch during her senior season, but she – along with fellow senior Taylor Murray and freshman Rhyne Howard – led Matthew Mitchell and the Wildcats to an NCAA berth and a first-round win over No. 11 Princeton.
Morris is celebrating far away from her eastern Kentucky home, as she’s still participating in the WNBA’s Washington Mystic’s training camp. Happy birthday, Maci! Now go earn yourself a spot on the roster.
By Maggie Davis on ©May 07th, 2019 @ 11:00am
Abbey Cheek already owns Kentucky softball’s all-time home run record, and now she’s etching her name in the NCAA books, too. She finished the regular season with a .631 on-base percentage – good for No. 1 in the NCAA among all players.
Kentucky head coach Rachel Lawson responded to the news via Twitter, saying “So happy for abbey – she has worked so hard at this part of her game.
#DreamBig then #Commit”
Cheek has been a huge part of the Cats’ success this season – Kentucky is currently 32-21 on the season and 14-10 in the SEC. That record earned them a bye for the first round of the conference tournament, so the Cats won’t see action again until Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. Then, the No. 4 seeded Wildcats will take on the winner of Game 5, which will pit No. 5 Ole Miss against the winner of game 1 between (13) Texas A&M and (12) Mississippi State. The game will be shown live on the SEC Network.
Cheek may be a senior, but the South Carolina native isn’t giving up the game just yet. She was selected as the No. 14 overall pick in the MLS Draft (third round) to the Chicago Bandits. She’ll be joined by fellow teammate Katie Reed (No. 19 overall pick).
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 05th, 2019 @ 7:30pm
Kentucky takes the series finale over No. 5 Arkansas 4-3 in game two of the Sunday doubleheader.
Zack Thompson gave all he had in this one. Even with the home plate umpire squeezing the strike zone a bit, Thompson tossed 11 strikeouts in 6.1 innings on 124 pitches. Before the top of the seventh ZT was dominant with three hits and two runs, but he was gassed in that last inning, and it almost came back to bite UK.
In the seventh, ZT gave up a run on two hits and a walk to draw Arkansas within one with runners on the corners with one out. But Carson Coleman came in to close with a one pith double play, and the Cats walk away with a 4-3 victory.
With his performance today, Thompson improves to 5-1 on the year and moves up to sixth all-time in career strikeouts at Kentucky with 251.
On the offensive side of things, the Cats were fueled by the long ball with three home runs in the game.
In the second the Cats went back to back off Connor Noland. Coltyn Kessler took the first one to the right field bullpen, then Ryan Shinn followed it up with a shot over the left-center field fence.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) May 5, 2019
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) May 5, 2019
In the fourth, Kentucky put two more up on the board starting with an Elliott Curtis home run over the right field bullpen.
T5 | UK 4, Arkansas 1
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) May 5, 2019
Then, TJ Collet got reacclimated with an RBI double that scored Ryan Shinn from first base.
With the victory, Kentucky improves to 23-24 (6-18) on the year.
Kentucky will be back in action Tuesday at KPP when they take on Indiana at 7:00 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 05th, 2019 @ 4:00pm
Today’s game was the epitome of Kentucky’s season thus far as they drop game two to No. 5 Arkansas 9-1 after the wheels fell off in the top of the sixth inning that went 45 minutes long.
Outside of a second inning where Dillon Marsh tightroped out of bases loaded, no out situation, he was solid on the mound today. However, the decision to leave him in the sixth inning did Kentucky in.
Marsh’s elongated stay allowed the Razorbacks to put two up on the board after a two-run blast by Dominic Fletcher and that would signal the end to Marsh’s day. Marsh went a solid five innings allowing two runs on six hits, but he was still on the line for the loss.
After Marsh’s departure, poorly managed calls to the bullpen allowed the Hogs to put up four more in the inning to give the Razorbacks a 6-1 lead.
It was the 24th time this season the Cats have allowed four or more runs in an inning.
In the top of the seventh Arkansas added three more on a three-run blast to centerfield by nine-hole hitter Christain Franklin to give Arkansas a 9-1 lead that they would hold on to in the bottom half for the victory.
Kentucky got their only run of the game on a fielder’s choice Arkansas traded a run for an out that scored Elliot Curtis in the bottom of the fourth.
Kentucky drops to 22-24 (5-18) with this loss.
They will have a chance to take a game in this series at 4:32 p.m. ET when Zack Thompson takes the mound against the No.5 Razorbacks in game two of today’s doubleheader at KPP. You can catch the game on SEC Network+.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
By Sam Gormley on ©May 05th, 2019 @ 10:00am
I watched the Kentucky Derby from Great American Ballpark minutes before the Reds and Giants played. My dad and I saw Maximum Security win and made our way to our seats thinking that was the end of everything. It was until I got a notification that said that Maximum Security was DQ and Country House was declared the winner.
I am the furthest thing from an expert when it comes to horse racing. Did Maximum Security “impede” the progress of another horse? I don’t even know that I would know what to look for.
To watch the stewards discuss the ruling, click the link below:
— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 5, 2019
Again, I would be the first to admit that I don’t have a true understanding of the rules that go into a race. What I do know is that this will be a finish that is talked about for the next 145 Derbys.
— Kentucky Derby (@KentuckyDerby) May 4, 2019
Now onto the other news of the day:
Jalen Johnson includes Kentucky in Top Four
One of the top juniors in the class of 2020 announced yesterday that Kentucky, along with Wisconsin, Arizona and Duke, are finalists in his recruitment.
Johnson is a 6’8 forward from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He told reporters last year that the hometown Badgers had a slight lead, but his recruitment was still wide open. While their games aren’t the same, if I am John Calipari, I 100% send the five-star prospect footage of Tyler Herro. Show what Kentucky can do for a kid from Wisconsin.
— Jalen Johnson (@Jalen_J23) May 5, 2019
For more on Johnson, including his opinions on Kentucky… and Duke, click this link for a write up from KSR’s recruiting expert Jack Pilgrim.
Beau Allen talks decision
To say the last week has been good for recruiting in Kentucky would be an understatement. Tomorrow could be the cap off of a true trifecta with Lexington native Beau Allen announcing his commitment.
Allen, a four star quarterback, will make his decision between Kentucky, Washington State, West Virginia and Duke. In a recent interview with Rivals, Allen talked about what he likes about each school and his response to Kentucky is interesting. You might think the “hometown hero” card is the biggest factor, but it is something else that he likes.
To find out what that is, and his opinion on other schools, click here.
Cats visit five-star guard Daishen Nix
The recruiting didn’t end for the Kentucky coaching staff as Joel Justus was in to see Alaska native Daishen Nix. I admittedly don’t know a lot about Nix, but the minute I saw Alaska native, I knew exactly why the Cats were recruiting him. While he now plays in Las Vegas, you never know if an in-home visit could happen in Alaska and isn’t that Coach Cal’s dream to go there? I kid…
Nix is the #13 player in the class of 2020 and holds offers from most of the major west coast programs.
From yesterday’s KSR article, “Josh Gershon of 247 Sports says Nix is an ‘outstanding facilitator’ with ‘elite vision’ and ‘strong natural instincts.’
Good size for position with strong, sturdy frame. Elite vision; outstanding facilitator who is creative as a distributor. High basketball IQ with strong natural instincts for position. Improving shooter with range to perimeter although he is more efficient as he get closer to basket. Quick hands and impressive instincts on defense. Could improve as a shooter but it’s an area he’s shown progress and in general has been on a high trajectory since arriving in Nevada from Alaska prior to his freshman season. Projects as a successful college point guard with NBA upside.
This seems like a good guy to get to join Ramon Harris as Cats from Alaska.
Baseball DH at home this afternoon
If you are looking for a good way to spend your Saturday, make your way to Kentucky Proud Park where the Kentucky Baseball team will take on Arkansas in a DH beginning at 1pm.
I have heard nothing but good things about the new stadium and with the rain gone, I can’t think of a much better way to spend a Sunday.
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 03rd, 2019 @ 10:00pm
After a rocky start for Jimmy Ramsey, the Cats can’t claw their way back to the victory as they fall to No. 5 Arkansas 5-2 in the series opener at Kentucky Proud Park.
Jimmy Ramsey got the nod on the mound to kick off the weekend for the Cats, and to say today wasn’t his day is an understatement. Arkansas led off the game with a double and a single to put two runners on early. Then Ramsey had an errant throw on a routine play to second that put all the ducks on the pond with no outs in the top half of the first, and Dominic fletcher capitalized on his opportunity out of the four-hole.
Fletcher hit a two-run single to put the Hogs up two runs before the Cats could even get an out. Things would get worse as on the next pithColtyn Kessler couldn’t squeeze the pitch as it hit off his glove and went to the backstop to allow Arkansas to take a 3-0 lead. The Hogs would cap off the inning with another RBI-single to bat around and hang a four-spot in the first.
Ramsey would try to settle in in the second, but the second batter he faced in the inning, Casey Martin hit the RARE inside the park home run to put Arkansas up 5-0.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) May 4, 2019
Trip Lockhart would come in to bail out Ramsey and he was phenomenal out of the pen. The Lexington native went a solid 3.2 innings and picked up five strikeouts while just allowing three hits. Braxton Cottongame and Cole Ayers were great out of the bullpen as well as they only allowed three hits and no runs in their combined three innings of work.
Kentucky would try to claw their way back into this one after a Coltyn Kessler tiple made it 5-1 in the fifth and with the great work out of the bullpen Kentucky still had some life in the eighth.
The Cats started the inning with the bases loaded and the middle of the order headed to the plate. Curtis would slap a ball to third as the third basemen would trade a run for an out as he stepped on first to make it 5-2 Razorbacks with one out.
Austin Schultz would walk to reload the bases and bring the go-ahead run to the plate, but Coltyn Kessler and Jaren Shelby both struck out looking to kill the late comeback as Kentucky falls to Arkansas 5-2.
With the loss, Kentucky dips back under .500 at 22-23 (5-17) as they battle for one of the 12 spots in the SEC Tournament. Kentucky will look to even up the series against the fifth-ranked Razorbacks tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. ET if Mother Nature blesses KPP.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
By Maggie Davis on ©May 01st, 2019 @ 8:30pm
Utah standout Dre’una Edwards has made it official: she’ll be transferring to the University of Kentucky next season. Although she announced the news yesterday, she has now officially signed all of the paperwork required to become a Wildcat.
Her official commitment also means Coach Matthew Mitchell and his staff are able to comment on the Las Vegas native and the immediate impact she could have on the program.
“We are thrilled Dre’una is a Wildcat,” Coach Mitchell said. “She will be an incredible addition to our family. Her positive energy and unbridled enthusiasm are infectious and will impact our program immediately. Dre has a game that fits our system perfectly and her competitive spirit will help us win. We all are excited for the future.”
Unfortunately, Edwards will have to sit out a year due to NCAA transfer rules. However, she’ll be able to actively participate in practices as soon as she arrives in Lexington. Her presence alone will help her teammates in practice, and she plans to join the team beginning this summer.
In one year at Utah last season, Edwards averaged 11.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while shooting over 50 percent from the field. She suffered a knee injury late in the year that kept her from playing in Utah’s last four games, but the 6-2 forward still did enough to earn the Pac-12’s Freshman of the Year award.
Along with Edwards, UK will add true freshmen Emma King (a native of Stanford, Kentucky) and Deasia Merrill, alongside transfers Sabrina Haines, Nae Nae Cole and Chasity Patterson.
Next season is shaping up to be a good one for Wildcats.
You can show Edwards some BBN love on Twitter HERE.