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Other UK Sports
UK Hoops and other sports coverage
The No. 21 Kentucky softball team avenged last night’s loss by defeating No. 3 Florida 5-1.
Meagan Prince allowed just two hits in front of a regular season record crowd of 1,617. Katie Reed led the offensive charge for the Wildcats, finishing 3-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Check out the highlights:
The series will be decided at John Cropp Stadium tomorrow at 1:00.
By Nick Roush on ©April 13th, 2017 @ 8:25pm
With the third pick to the Dallas Wings in the 2017 WNBA Draft, power forward Evelyn Akhator became the highest draft pick in school history.
Originally projected to be picked in the second round, Akhator surpassed A’dia Mathis’ previous mark at No. 10. A Junior College National Player of the Year before she came to Kentucky, the Nigerian-born baller posted 18 double-doubles in her final season. In just two seasons, she’s third in school history in double-doubles.
Makayla Epps will discover her destiny soon.
Marion County product Makayla Epps was selected by the Chicago Sky in the third round of the WNBA draft, No. 33 overall. On behalf of the BBN, Congrats and Good Luck.
It was a hard-luck stretch for the BatCats the last seven days. Kentucky (22-11, 8-4) dropped three games against top 25 teams on the road last week. There are still several positive to draw on for the #10 BatCats after dropping their first SEC series of the year to Mississippi State. Before the team goes back on the road, let’s look back on the past week.
Louisville 5 Kentucky 3- UK nearly completed a ninth-inning comeback against the Cards but fell just short in game one of the Battle of the Bluegrass. Louisville got to Zack Thompson in the first three innings and they never looked back. Three runs in the final frame were not enough as Kentucky dropped only their second midweek of the year.
Kentucky 5 Mississippi State 2– Friday was an incredible showing of plate discipline for UK. The BatCats walked nine times in the late-inning win. Zach Reks tripled home two runs and scored on a passed ball in the top of the ninth to give UK a three-run lead. A big performance by Logan Salow iced the fourth straight conference road win for UK.
Mississippi State 10 Kentucky 6– The start to Saturday’s game couldn’t have been better for UK. Tristan Pompey homered and Kole Cottam doubled home a run as UK led 3-0 through one. The Bulldogs owned the next eight frames. MSU scored six in the second and eventually led by as many as six runs against Zach Logue and UK. Cottam drove in four runs in a losing effort.
Mississippi State 10 Kentucky 6– Much like Saturday, UK led by three runs early on. Pompey collected four hits including two doubles in the first two innings. UK committed a couple of costly errors as they watched MSU score three runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. Luke Becker’s ninth-inning two-run homer wasn’t enough as UK dropped the series in Starkville.
Kentucky 8 Tennessee Martin 0- Zack Thompson tossed 6.2 shutout innings to lead UK to their 23rd win of the season. Evan White hit a three-run home run and Zach Reks added a solo shot at the plate. UK added two late runs on errors as the BatCats ran away with the midweek win.
Tristan Pompey can rake- If you have paid attention the last month, this isn’t really a surprise. But what Pompey did this weekend was incredible. The sophomore outfielder went 8/11 with two doubles, a home run, and four RBIs in Starkville. Pompey had exceptional plate discipline on Friday as he went 1/1 with three walks, a sac fly, and three RBIs. He is now second on the team in batting average and first in walks. The bat speed has picked up and he is squaring up more pitches than last year. Check it out here:
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) March 29, 2017
Kentucky lost once to Brent Rooker- It’s hard to say UK lost to Mississippi State when, in fact, they lost to Brent Rooker. The SEC Player of the Week hit three home runs on Saturday including a grand slam. Rooker is most likely going to run away with SEC Player of the Year this summer, as he should.
— Dudy Noble Field⚾ (@DudyNobleField) April 10, 2017
News and Notes
Logan Salow named Midseason Second Team All-American by Perfect Game- UK’s top reliever has six saves and sits atop the team with a 0.37 ERA in 16 appearances this season. It isn’t surprising that Salow is gaining some national attention after allowing only one run in his first 24.1 innings in 2017. First Team All-American T.J. Sikkema will pitch against UK this weekend.
Tristan Pompey to play in the Cape Cod League this summer- Pompey’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed this season. The Wareham Gateman picked Pompey for their roster in the most prestigious summer league in the country. Pompey looks like a completely different player in 2017 than in his freshman season.
Cats in the Pros
J.T. Riddle called up to the Marlins- As was predicted in Spring Training, Riddle is headed to Miami. Riddle made his debut Tuesday night in an 8-4 win over the Braves.
— FOX Sports Florida (@FOXSportsFL) April 12, 2017
Chandler Shepherd named top AL East prospect- Former UK pitcher Chandler Shepherd was named the 10th best prospect in the AL East by Fangraphs this week. The Red Sox relief prospect is in Triple-A Pawtucket to start 2017.
The Tigers jumped out to a hot start in 2017 but have since cooled off. After being ranked in the top 25 in March, Mizzou dropped seven in a row and now sit at 23-9 and 6-6 in the SEC. There isn’t a whole lot of offensive firepower coming out of Columbia this year as SEC pitching has cooled off their run-producing in the last two weeks.
The biggest threat to UK will come from the mound. Friday night starter Tanner Houck will hear his name called in the first round of the Draft in June. T.J. Sikkema is one of the top bullpen guys in the country along with Salow. After a rough weekend, UK has an opportunity to bounce back and build on their SEC East lead beginning on Friday. Saturday night’s game will be available on the SEC Network at 8 ET.
Listen to the New KSR Baseball Podcast
Austin Kearns is in the studio to talk about the Reds and tell some great baseball stories of his playing days. Next week, former #1 overall pick and SEC great Ben McDonald will come on to talk LSU Baseball.
By KSR on ©April 12th, 2017 @ 7:45pm
The seventh episode of the KSR Baseball Podcast is live! Trey Huntsman and Coach Keith Madison are joined by former-MLB outfielder Austin Kearns to talk about the Reds’ hot start and share stories of his twelve years in the big leagues. Also look for:
— Kearns talks about cutting up in the outfield with Ken Griffey Jr., hitting off Pedro and Randy Johnson and much more.
— A recap of Kentucky’s tough week against Louisville and Mississippi State.
— A preview of the Missouri series this weekend in Columbia
— Segments include Mound Visit, Trivia, and the Dude of the Week.
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©April 09th, 2017 @ 10:00pm
Tomorrow night, head out to Memorial Hall at the University of Kentucky to hear AppHarvest speak and Sundy Best perform from 7-11:30 p.m. ET.
Last month, we told you about former Wildcat Ramel Bradley investing in AppHarvest, a $50 million greenhouse on 70 acres of reclaimed mining land in Pikeville, Kentucky. Bradley is one of three individuals, AppHarvest CEO Johnathan Webb, and chief operating officer and fellow UK alum Seth Norat, who plan to hire 130 workers in Appalachia ($12/hour or more) to grow several types of vegetables in the greenhouse. For an area with an unemployment rate of 8.7%, compared to the statewide average of 4.5%, AppHarvest is putting food on the table both literally and figuratively for countless people in Eastern Kentucky.
The 45-acre hydroponic greenhouse will produce up to 2.6 million pounds of vegetables annually.
To help inform the public about the initiative to secure jobs and put food on the table for an area of need, AppHarvest wants to speak to college students and the surrounding Lexington area about their movement.
On top of hearing an unbelievable presentation on the great work being done in the state with Ramel Bradley and AppHarvest, the incredibly entertaining Sundy Best will also there to put on a show for those in attendance.
Check out more information on AppHarvest below, and head to Memorial Hall tomorrow for an awesome night:
— AppHarvest (@AppHarvest) January 26, 2017
#8 Kentucky needed only three hits on Friday night to take down #22 Mississippi State 5-2 in Starkville. The Cats used nine walks to put guys in scoring position and break through late against the Bulldogs. Tied at two, Zach Reks delivered in the ninth with a two-out, two-RBI triple to give UK the lead. The Cats sit at 22-9 (8-2) on the season.
Mississippi State worked out of their first jam of the night in the top of the first as Evan White’s double was wasted. Jake Mangum and the Dogs came to work in the bottom of the first inning. Mangum doubled and came around to score on a passed ball to give MSU a 1-0 lead. Konnor Pilkington kept the powerful UK offense at bay through four innings. The Cats didn’t get their second hit of the day until the seventh inning, but they used small ball to tie the game in the fifth.
Marcus Carson was hit by a pitch to open the inning, and White and Connor Heady were walked to load the bases. Tristan Pompey got his first of two RBIs with a sac fly to score Carson and tie the game at one.
Pompey paced UK’s offense on Friday night. The sophomore right fielder drove in two runs and walked three times in the two-hole spot. Pompey’s second RBI of the night gave UK a 2-1 lead in the seventh. Heady and White both walked with two outs to bring Pompey to the plate. After a pitching change, Pompey delivered with an RBI single to center.
— KYwildcatsTV (@KYwildcatsTV) April 8, 2017
UK seemed to have all the momentum headed into the bottom of the seventh. MSU would not go away without a fight. The Bulldogs got a break when Reks rolled his ankle chasing after a fly ball in left. The ball dropped and Cody Brown came all the way around for an inside-the-park home run to tie the game. UK starter Sean Hjelle exited after 6.1 innings and a runner at first. Zach Pop came on and wiggled his way out of big time jam in the seventh to keep the game tied.
The UK bullpen was able to get out of two tough situations in the last three innings. Logan Salow entered the bottom of the eighth with two runners in scoring position and one out. Salow, a D1 Midseason All-American, got Brown to pop up and Elijah MacNamee to strike out to end the threat.
Walks and free passes were UK’s path to success on Friday. Heady walked for the third time to start the ninth before advancing to second on a wild pitch. After Pompey was walked, Reks delivered his biggest hit of the season. With Spencer Price on the hill, Reks roped a triple into the gap in right to score two runs. Reks would score on a wild pitch to give UK a 5-2 lead in the ninth.
Salow finished off the game with a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth to wrap up a 5-2 win for Kentucky over the Dogs on Friday.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) April 8, 2017
Cats look more disciplined than ever- Nine walks is absolutely insane. UK had a great approach from everyone in their lineup and it showed tonight. Despite only collecting three hits, the Cats found a way to win using the mistakes of MSU.
Sean Hjelle throws another good game- Hjelle has been excellent in three of the four SEC series this year. Tonight, Hjelle went 6.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned), on three hits, three walks while striking out four.
Salow is the closer- End the debate, the Cats have a closer. Salow has been fantastic midway through the season. Salow has allowed one run in 23.1 innings in 2017.
Mingione wins in return to Starkville- In the battle of Kentucky coaches, Mingione took game one over Gary Henderson. In his first game against his former school, Mingione got a 5-2 win.
Some of you may not know this but there are other sports outside of basketball and football at the University of Kentucky. (For real!) And one of those sports is doing very, very, very well this season.
Both the men’s and women’s teams currently rank inside the top 25 as the season winds down. Cedric Kauffmann’s guys are ranked 23rd in the ITA rankings, while Carlos Drada’s women rank 23rd in their ITA rankings.
You have a couple more opportunities to catch each team in Lexington before they begin their postseason play here in a few weeks. The women host Florida next Friday (Apr. 14) and South Carolina next Sunday (Apr. 16); the men have one last home match with Alabama coming to town this Sunday (Apr. 9).
You can and should attend one of those at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex on campus. It’s a lot of fun.
#2 Louisville stymied #8 Kentucky’s powerful offensive attack for the first eight innings of a 5-3 win on Tuesday night. A ninth inning rally was not enough for the BatCats to complete the comeback after falling behind 5-0 through three frames.
UK appeared to look a little tense early on. The Cats put runners in scoring position in the first three innings but never could get a big hit to bring them in. Louisville did not have that problem. With seven runners reaching base with two outs, Louisville hung four early runs on Kentucky starter Zack Thompson. The freshman starter retired the first two batters in both the first and second innings before Louisville got to him. Thompson struck out the first two batters of the game but an error forced him to remain on the mound in the first. Louisville capitalized on the unforced error and hung two quick runs on a Drew Ellis double. Devin Hairston drove in two more runs for the Cards in the second inning on a double to the wall.
Thompson allowed a fifth run in the third inning as Brad Schaenzer took over. Schaenzer shut down Louisville for 2.1 innings to keep Kentucky in the game. Following another productive performance by Schaenzer, Austin Keen, Colton Cleary, and Chris Machamer pitched an inning a piece to shut out Louisville over the final three frames.
Louisville used five different pitchers to shut out UK over the first eight innings. The Cats had plenty of opportunities to score in run-producing situations. Evan White doubled twice but was never brought home from second. It wasn’t until the ninth inning that UK found their clutch gene.
With one away in the ninth, Marcus Carson and Gunnar McNeill both singled and Connor Heady walked to load the bases. Tristan Pompey drove in UK’s first run with an infield single that reloaded the bases. Zach Reks collected his 21st and 22nd RBIs on a hard single past Brendan McKay at first base to get UK within two. With Storm Wilson up, Kentucky had the go-ahead run at the plate. UK decided to send Reks to second and he was caught stealing to end the game.
The Cats are now 21-9 after falling to Louisville 5-3. The going doesn’t get any easier as UK travels to Starkville to take on #22 Mississippi State this weekend.
The KSR Baseball Podcast returns with a full slate of guests to prepare you for this week’s Bluegrass Showdown between the No. 8 Cats and the No. 2 Cards. UK’s Nick Mingione and UofL’s Dan McDonnell join Coach Madison and Trey to preview the game. They also discuss…
— Kentucky’s monumental series win over perennial powerhouse, Vanderbilt.
— How difficult it is to bounce back from a tough series into an intense mid-week rivalry.
— MLB’s Opening Day.
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
By Trey Huntsman on ©April 02nd, 2017 @ 6:15pm
The BatCats (21-8, 7-2) held a lead in the middle innings against Vanderbilt (18-11, 4-5) but could not hold on in a 6-4 loss on Sunday. Riley Mahan went 3/5 with two home runs and four RBIs today. Despite the loss, Kentucky took the series by winning the first two games. UK has now won their first three SEC series of the season.
Vanderbilt jumped out to their first lead of the series in the first inning. Jeren Kendall walked and stole second to lead off the game for Vandy. Julian Infante got his first of three hits with a single to score Kendall and give Coach Tim Corbin’s crew an early advantage. Through the first couple innings, it appeared that Justin Lewis was struggling with his command for the first time this season. Lewis wiggled out of a couple jams to contain Vanderbilt’s offense early.
UK answered the Dores with a run of their own on a Mahan RBI double in the first inning. Much like Lewis, Vandy starter Drake Fellows struggled with command in the first three innings. Through three frames, the two starters tallied five walks and two hit batters.
Lewis worked out of jams in the second and fourth to keep the game tied at one. Mahan broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth with a bomb that traveled over 400 feet into the parking lot in right field. UK looked to add to the lead in the fifth when Evan White tripled to left, but the Cats couldn’t find a big two out hit in the inning.
Lewis allowed a run to start the sixth inning to end his day. The sophomore allowed two runs over five innings on eight hits and five walks. Every time he got in a serious jam, he was able to wiggle out with minimum damage. Zach Pop entered the game and got two strikeouts and a pick-off to end the threat in the sixth and keep the score at 2-2.
Coach Mingione https://t.co/RQXPtuVuQQ
— Trey Huntsman (@TreyHuntsmanKSR) April 2, 2017
The momentum from tying the game carried over in the seventh for Vandy. Infante singled to lead off the inning and Will Toffey homered to give Vanderbilt their second lead of the series. Pop gave way to Logan Salow after walking the next batter. Salow allowed an inherited run to score but kept the damage down in the 7th and keep UK within three runs.
The strikeout of Connor Kaiser to end the top of the seventh gave UK a little juice heading into the bottom half. Mahan hit his second home run of the game, this time a two-run shot to cut Vanderbilt’s lead to one. Mahan drove in four runs on three extra base hits on Sunday. Maddux Conger settled down and struck out two to end the inning.
Much like he had all series, Infante continued to kill UK’s pitching in the ninth. The sophomore first baseman homered off the batter’s eye to start the eighth inning. It was the first hit Salow had allowed in the last ten inning and his first earned run of the season.
Zach Reks singled with one out in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Luke Becker. Matt Ruppenthal allowed a deep fly ball from Becker that hung up a little too long for out number two. Mahan had a chance to tie the game with two outs but Ruppenthal got the second baseman to pop up in the infield to end the game.
Mahan now has five homers and 32 RBIs this season.
— Trey Huntsman (@TreyHuntsmanKSR) April 2, 2017
Kentucky still sits atop the SEC East with a 7-2 record in conference. The BatCats have won all three of their SEC series and haven’t lost a series since the first week of the year. Next up for the Cats is a trip to Louisville on Tuesday night. The KSR Baseball Podcast will have Coach Mingione and Louisville Coach Dan McDonnell on the show tomorrow morning previewing the game.
By Maggie Davis on ©April 02nd, 2017 @ 10:00am
Good morning, Wildcats. Start your Sunday morning off by catching up on the latest sports news. There’s plenty to cover, so let’s get started
Gonzaga defeats South Carolina
Gonzaga beat South Carolina with a 77-73 victory Saturday night, and the Zags are officially going to their first championship game in program history. Just as basically everyone predicted, the game was fairly uneventful… that is, until the final minutes. Throughout most of the game, the Zags had a sizable lead. But, just like they’ve done multiples times throughout the tournament, the Gamecocks fought their way back.
After trailing by more than 10 for much of the second half, South Carolina found themselves down by just three with under a minute remaining. In the end, it came down to free throws, and when Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie sank two with :02 left on the clock, South Carolina’s hopes of advancing vanished.
North Carolina hangs on against Oregon
The Tar Heels edged out the Ducks 77-76. The ending felt a little too familiar: down by six with under a minute left, Oregon’s Tyler Dorsey hit a three-point jumper that shouldn’t have gone in, but did, followed by a layup that put the Ducks back in the game. Just like the Gonzaga vs. South Carolina game, the last several seconds were dictated by free throws.
UNC had plenty of opportunities to expand their lead in the final seconds of the game, but the Tar Heels could not seem to hit one from the line. Kennedy Meeks missed two in a row with :05 remaining; Joel Berry missed two with :04 remaining. What they could do, however, was grab offensive rebounds, and by continuing to maintain possession of the ball, North Carolina is going to the championship game.
I mean seriously, how did this go in?
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 2, 2017
National Championship Game
Gonzaga and North Carolina will play for the national title Monday, April 3 at 9:20 p.m. ET on CBS. I’m too much of a sports fan to completely refuse to watch it, and it’s our last chance to watch college basketball for several months. Whether you decide to watch the game or not, I have a feeling most of the BBN has one thing we can agree on: Go Zags.
After a stunning Mississippi State upset over UConn Friday, the No. 2 Bulldogs will take on No. 1 South Carolina in an all SEC national championship game tonight. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. ET and can be watched on ESPN. Bring on the “SEC” chants.
Kentucky’s men’s and women’s basketball teams both defeated a team playing in the national title game. I’m sure you remember UK’s December victory over UNC, and UK Hoops upset Mississippi State on senior night back in February with the help of seniors Evelyn Akhator and Makayla Epps, who scored 27 and 22 points against the Bulldogs, respectively.
Speaking of women’s basketball…
Makayla Epps has announced the information about her autograph tour. The fan favorite will be in Lexington Fayette Mall on Tuesday, April 4 from 6-7:30.
And, speaking of autograph tours…
In case you missed it, Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis will also make an appearance at the AllSports in Fayette Mall today at 1pm. They also have dates set for stops in Elizabethtown, Cold Springs and Ashland.
ICYMI: Spring Football
Yesterday, the Wildcats took part in their second scrimmage of the spring, and KSR’s got you covered on all the takeaways. In addition to uploading the latest installment of the Depth Chart Podcast, there were also plenty of articles to fill you in on the team’s progress as the spring game quickly approaches. Be sure to check those out if you haven’t already. But, if you’re feeling especially lazy this Sunday morning, here’s an even quicker recap:
- Drew Barker returned to practice. According to Mark Stoops, the QB took 10 snaps and led the offense to a touchdown.
- Benny Snell really doesn’t want to get tackled. “At times I have to reason with him,” said Stoops. “He gets frustrated when he gets tackled. He’s gonna get tackled.” Does he have to?
- Ball handling has improved from last season. Yesterday, there were no turnovers; in the first scrimmage, there was just one, and it was quickly recovered by the offense. Additionally, the wide receivers performed consistently, dropping only one pass during the scrimmage. According to Eddie Gran, there were even some “money catches.”
Beginning Tuesday morning, college basketball will officially be over for the season, leaving fans bored and without cause for the next several months. If this sounds like you, and you need a new sport to occupy your time with until football begins next fall, look no further. Kentucky baseball is having a heck of a season so far under first-year coach Nick Mingione, and they defeated a strong Vanderbilt team (No. 22, 17-11) 7-4 Saturday. The No. 11 BatCats are now 7-1 in the SEC and 21-7 overall. For a full recap, check out Trey’s coverage here.
Kentucky will go for the series sweep today at 1 p.m. at the Cliff. It looks like the rain is going to hold off until later tonight, so come out and cheer on your Cats this afternoon.
Draymond Green is a child
After the Golden State Warriors’ 107-98 victory over the Houston Rockets, Draymond Green admitted he punched James Harden’s injured wrist, but only because “he pinched me.” Fair enough?
Draymond Green appears to take a cheap shot at James Harden’s injured wrist.
— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) April 1, 2017
Well, that’s all I have for the day. Have a great Sunday, and, as always, Go Cats.
#16 Kentucky (21-7, 7-1) wrapped up a series win over Vanderbilt (17-11, 3-5) with a 7-4 win on Saturday. Zach Logue set the tone on the mound over eight strong innings. Six different players drove in runs as the BatCats jumped out to a 7-0 lead through two innings. Logue’s dominating performance pushed UK away from Vandy in the win.
Kyle Wright and Logue were locked in a pitcher’s duel for the first two innings. Wright, a candidate for a top five pick this summer, was hitting mid to high 90s with a nasty curveball early in today’s start. UK’s offense began to torment Wright in the third inning. Marcus Carson walked and Evan White shot a hard groundball past Will Toffey at third. Ro Coleman juggled the ball and both runners moved into scoring position. Zach Reks drove in the first run of the day on a grounder to shortstop for the second out.
The Cats’ offense really attacked with two outs in the third. Luke Becker singled home a run before Riley Mahan tripled off the wall in deep left-center. With the bases loaded and two outs, Kole Cottam delivered a single through the left side to score two and give UK a 5-0 lead through three innings. It was the third straight game that the Cats had scored at least five runs in one inning.
Logue silenced the Dores on the other side of the ball. Vandy went over two innings without a hit and allowed only two extra-base hits in eight innings. Kentucky pitchers went 16 innings without allowing an earned run this series.
Kentucky added two more runs in the fifth on RBI singles by Tristan Pompey and Tyler Marshall to chase Wright.
Wright labored through the third and fifth innings today. Meanwhile, Logue completely silenced the Vanderbilt offense. Logue allowed six hits and struck out seven in a career-high eight one-run innings in his fifth win of the season. Vanderbilt only got to Logue once when Jeren Kendall homered to lead off the eighth. Logue tied his career with seven strikeouts in a career performance.
Kendall made things interesting in the late innings. After he homered to leadoff the eighth, he followed with a three-run shot off Colton Cleary in the 9th. Cleary got a pop-up to third to shut the door on a 7-4 win for the Cats.
First series win over Vanderbilt since 2009- It was a statement win for Mingione as the Cats wrapped up a series win over Vanderbilt for the first time in eight years. The Dores are known killers in the SEC East every year and usually contend for the title. UK is now four games ahead of Vandy in the East.
Logue sitting atop the rotation with a 2.22 ERA- Eight innings of one-run ball tends to lower a guy’s ERA. Logue now leads the weekend rotation with a 2.22 ERA in six starts.
— Trey Huntsman (@TreyHuntsmanKSR) April 1, 2017
UK is the hottest team in the league- The BatCats have won 13 of 14 and 19 of 21 since starting 2-5 this season. UK is now 15-1 at home and 21-7 overall.
The Cats will go for the series win tomorrow at 1 ET. Justin Lewis will take on Drake Fellows and Vanderbilt at the Cliff. The weather is going to beautiful and a win tomorrow could propel UK into the top ten, so come out and see the Cats.
The #16 BatCats (20-7, 6-1) continued their streak of hot hitting with a 10-3 win over Vanderbilt (17-9, 3-3) on Friday night. Sean Hjelle did not allow an earned run in seven innings as Tristan Pompey went 3/4 with a three-run home run in the win. Kentucky has now won 12 of their last 13 games.
For years, Vanderbilt’s pitching has been their mainstay. This year is no different as the Dores brought a great rotation to Lexington. Patrick Raby came into the game with six earned runs allowed in over thirty innings this season. The Cats hung six earned runs and seven total in the first three innings against Raby. Kentucky’s offense attacked early in the second by loading the bases with a heavy left-handed lineup. Troy Squires got an RBI hit by pitch to give UK their first lead of the game. Marcus Carson and Evan White followed with RBI singles as Raby labored to get the second out of the inning. Zach Reks delivered a fielder’s choice ground out to score one as a second run jogged home on an error. The Cats lead 5-0 through two frames.
Kentucky added two more runs in the third on a pair of RBI sac bunts by Tyler Marshall and Connor Heady. The seven early runs were more than enough run support for Hjelle. The sophomore did not allow a hit until the sixth inning of tonight’s game. Hjelle tied his career high with nine strikeouts over seven innings. All three of his runs were unearned in his fourth win of the season.
Tristan Pompey made sure that Vanderbilt was buried late in the game. Pompey hit an absolute bomb over the left field wall in the sixth inning to give UK a 10-1 lead. It was an impressively long shot by Pompey, so much so that he stood in the batter’s box and admired the dinger. It was his third hit of the game and his third home run in 2017.
The Dores added two runs in the seventh on a Jason Delay home run off the left field foul pole. The seventh was Hjelle’s final inning as he handed the ball to Chris Machamer for the final two innings. The former Vanderbilt commit struck out three in two innings to close out a 10-3 win for the BatCats.
The offense is on another level now- Seven different players drove in runs in tonight’s win. The Cats did everything right at the plate and on the basepaths. Tonight’s six runs bumped Raby’s ERA up by a full point as he doubled his runs allowed in the loss.
Evan White is the glue of this team- Everything seems to flow a lot smoother when White is in the lineup. He made a couple of fantastic plays at first base to save errant throws. White also went 2/5 with an RBI as he is now batting .417 in 14 games.
The Cats are first in the East- With South Carolina falling to Auburn, UK (6-1) is in sole possession of first in the SEC East. Kentucky will look to add onto their lead tomorrow at 2 ET against Vandy. UK has not won a series against Vandy since 2009, so it could be a huge day for Coach Mingione and the Cats.
The BatCats sit atop the leaderboard in the SEC and have climbed to #16 nationally. UK hosts Vanderbilt at the Cliff this weekend in what could be the biggest series to this point for Kentucky. The Dores have been a one seed in the NCAA Tournament the last several years and won the title in 2014. Here are five things to watch for this weekend from a guy that has seen this team play nearly 20 times the last three years.
The Dores Bring Two Top Prospects to Lexington- Kyle Wright and Jeren Kendall are both candidates for the number one overall selection in the 2017 MLB Draft. Both guys have been playing below their potential early in their junior seasons, but the combined talent is ridiculous. Kendall is one of the tooliest players in the game. He can beat you on the basepaths just as well as he can with the bat. And with that left-handed pull power, he might put one over the short wall at the Cliff. Kendall was last week’s SEC Player of the Week. Despite his 4.50 ERA, Wright is still the third most talented college arm in the SEC in my book. Known for his hard fastball, Wright impresses with a solid curve as well. Look for Wright on Friday night.
— Trey Huntsman (@TreyHuntsmanKSR) March 31, 2017
Vanderbilt had four players suspended last weekend- For those that follow Vandy Baseball, it is surprising when players act out. Coach Tim Corbin suspended Drake Fellows, Alonzo Jones, Zach King, and Harrison Ray last weekend against Texas A&M for failing to meet team standards. All four players will return this weekend against UK.
Playing for a purpose- Last year, Vanderbilt went through one of the hardest times imaginable. Freshman Donny Everett drowned the night before the NCAA Tournament began. A top prospect, Everett died on a fishing trip after practice. Several guys on the team have tattoos to remember Donny. So if you see the number 41 on uniforms or in the dugout, it is for the teammate who was taken too young. Here is an excellent article on what Donny means to the program.
The offense hasn’t been as strong- Before last weekend, even Kendall was struggling. Jones is hitting .192 after being All-Freshman Team last year and 2016 standouts Ethan Paul and Connor Kaiser have struggled early this season. The Dores are 11th in the SEC in batting average and sixth in strikeouts. Unfortunately for the Dores, Dansby Swanson and Zander Wiel are not walking through the door to help in the infield.
Per usual, the pitching talent is crazy- Tim Corbin has produced the likes of David Price, Sonny Gray, and Carson Fulmer. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he reloaded for 2017. After Wright, Vandy brings in Fellows and Patrick Raby for the weekend. Both guys post ERAs below two and have shown excellent command through six starts. The bullpen is where it gets interesting. If Kentucky can dive into the pen early and force Corbin to burn Matt Ruppenthal and King early, a series win becomes easier.
Oh and one more thing, they have a dude who sits in the stands and whistles the whole game. So enjoy that this weekend.
This weekend’s series is going to be huge for the Kentucky Program. The BatCats have a chance to win a series over an SEC East opponent that they haven’t won a series against since 2009. The series starts tomorrow night at 6:30 ET followed by Saturday at 2 and Sunday at 1.
Check out this week’s KSR Baseball Podcast on iTunes, Podbay, or the KSR app for a full preview of the weekend.
With basketball season wrapping up, it is time to turn your attention to the #16 UK Baseball team. The KSR Baseball Podcast talks about the big series win over Ole Miss and the Kentucky bullpen before previewing this weekend’s series against Vanderbilt and more, including:
— The World Baseball Classic win for the United States.
— Tim Tebow vs. the Lexington Legends.
— A prefect trifecta: Dude of the Week, trivia and your weekly Mound Visit.
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes, streaming on Podbay, or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.