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Winners from the 15th CATSPYs

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KentuckyMBB | IG

Community Service Award
Alex Carter (women’s soccer)
Sean Gunn (men’s swimming and diving)
Female Rookie of the Year
Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (women’s track and field)
Male Rookie of the Year
Malik Monk (men’s basketball)
Bill Keightley “Assist” Award
Ryan Clark (men’s basketball)
Blue Heart Award
Kole Cottam (baseball)
Alex Montgomery (football)
Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Danielle Galyer (women’s swimming and diving)
Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Paul Sime (men’s soccer)
Female Academic Team of the Year
Women’s tennis
Male Academic Team of the Year
Men’s golf
Scratch Award
Paige Poffenberger (women’s basketball)
Supporting Role
Dominique Hawkins (men’s basketball)
Heart of a Wildcat
Makayla Epps (women’s basketball)
Evelyn Akhator (women’s basketball)
Female Athlete of the Year
Sha’Keela Saunders (women’s track and field)
Male Athlete of the Year
Jacob Thomson (men’s track and field)
Coach(es) of the Year
Mark Stoops (football)
John Calipari (men’s basketball)
Lars Jorgensen (swimming and diving)
Edrick Floréal (track and field)
Female Team of the Year
Women’s swimming and diving
Male Team of the Year
Men’s basketball
Miss Wildcat
Danielle Galyer (swimming and diving)
Mr. Wildcat
Jon Toth (football)

A few takeaways:

—  Do we need four coaches to receive awards?  Coach Cal has won enough while at Kentucky.  I don’t think he’d feel slighted if a year went by and he didn’t get the hardware from the athletic department.

—  Benny Snell got snubbed.  I love watching Malik Monk play basketball, but pardon me for being more excited about Benny Snell.  We see freshman phenoms on the basketball court ALL THE TIME.   What Snell did last season has only been done by a few UK football players, let alone a freshman.  Which brings me to my next point…

—  The basketball team doesn’t need any more awards.  They’re treated like award-winners before they reach campus.  They reach rockstar-status as soon as they get to campus, then receive more awards.  I think they’re good on awards.  Let the CATSPYs go to the rest of the hard-working athletes, not the ones that get all of the BBN’s love.

—  Three Perfect Awards.  Makayla Epps and Evelyn Akhator received the “Heart of a Wildcat” to perfectly encapsulate their Kentucky careers.  The Blue Heart Award is given to those who persevere through injury, and there isn’t a better example than Alex Montgomery.  Mr. Wildcat Jon Toth is everything you want in a student-athlete and tonight he earned his unwanted time in the spotlight.


UK Baseball up to #6 in the latest D1 Baseball Poll

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

We now take a break from draft drama to check in on the UK Baseball team, which is coming off one heck of a week. After knocking off #2 Louisville (1-0) and #8 LSU (2-1), the Bat Cats jumped from #10 to #6 in D1 Baseball’s weekly poll, one of the most prominent baseball polls (because there are a lot). Sixth is pretty impressive for a program most assumed would be in rebuilding mode in Nick Mingione’s first year as head coach.

If you’re curious about the differences between all five baseball polls, have no fear; one of the guys behind the D1 Baseball poll is coming on our own KSR Baseball Podcast soon to break down the criteria with Trey Huntsman and Keith Madison. In the meantime, enjoy the highlights of UK’s rout of LSU to win the series yesterday:

 


UK Athletics

Kentucky Takes Series Over LSU With 10-2 Win On Sunday

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Kentucky used 18 hits and a complete game victory from Justin Lewis to pick up a 10-2 win over #9 LSU on Sunday. The BatCats (28-13, 12-6) got big days from Riley Mahan, Kole Cottam, and Zach Reks at the plate to lead them to a series win. UK now sits atop the SEC East standings and will most likely rise close to a top five spot in next week’s poll.

Recap

UK jumped all over LSU for the third time this weekend. The first seven batters of the game reached base on LSU starter Eric Walker as UK scored four runs in the bottom of the first. UK got RBI doubles from Luke Becker and Zach Reks and Marcus Carson added a RBI groundout.

The first inning was a sign of things to come for UK’s offense. Kole Cottam and Riley Mahan hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the third to chase Walker with one out in the inning. Both home runs were absolute moonshots that carried 400 feet off the bat.

Kentucky really stepped on LSU’s throats with another three-spot in the bottom of the fourth. Cottam drove in his third run of the game before Mahan and Becker singled in runs to put UK in double digits in runs.

Justin Lewis quietly dominated for UK on the bump. The sophomore struck out six and allowed two runs (one earned) in a complete game and moved to 6-2 on the season with a 2.82 ERA. Lewis had his plus changeup working today and it led him posting one of his best starts of the season.

LSU’s only firepower came in the second and sixth innings. Josh Smith drove in an unearned run with a single in the second and Nick Coomes added a solo shot to cut UK’s lead to 10-2 in the sixth. Outside of those two instances, Lewis was untouchable. Lewis only hit 90 on the radar gun once but pitched his best game of the season against a top ten opponent.

UK got several runners in scoring position in the final three innings but LSU’s bullpen wiggled out of a couple tough jams. The late effort by the pitching staff was all for not as Lewis slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to clinch a series win.

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Notes

Riley Mahan might be the SEC Player of the Week- After going 2/4 against Louisville, Mahan went 9/12 this weekend with five RBIs, a home run, two doubles, two walks, and a HBP. Mahan is really developing into one of the best offensive second basemen in the country. He now leads the team with seven home runs and 40 RBIs.

UK’s approach looked completely different than Friday- After leaving 14 men on base on Friday, UK capitalized on big opportunities today. The BatCats still left 11 on base, but when you have 18 hits and six walks, not everyone is going to come around. Four different players had three or more hits on Sunday, including Reks collecting four hits in the win. Evan White now has hits in 17 of his last 18 games and Tristan Pompey is riding a 12-game hitting streak and has had a hit in 28 of the last 30 games.

Kentucky is in line for a national seed- After taking Tuesday’s game against Louisville and winning this weekend’s series over LSU, it appears UK is headed towards a top eight seed in June’s NCAA Tournament. The Cats now hold a two-game lead over Florida in the SEC East and trail only Mississippi State in the overall standings.


Kentucky Baseball Could Clinch a Huge Series Win This Afternoon

 

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

Need a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon? If you aren’t already at Cliff Hagan Stadium, and you’re among the few whose TV gets SEC Network+, you can tune in right now to see the 10th ranked Wildcats take on 9th ranked LSU Tigers.

The Cats and the Tigers split a doubleheader on Friday, with UK taking game one 12-5, and LSU coming back from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3 in game two. The two top ten squads meet again today, each hoping to clinch the series and improve their stock heading into the postseason.

Coach Nick Mingione is spearheading the triumphant return of UK Baseball. Best of luck to the Bat Cats today. If you don’t have SECN+, you can always check WatchESPN or just listen to the action on 630 AM-WLAP.

@JayWinkKSR 


UK Athletics

BatCats Split Doubleheader With LSU

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Thanks to the impending weather on Saturday, #10 Kentucky and #9 LSU were forced to play a doubleheader on Friday. UK took game one 12-5 thanks in large part to Riley Mahan and Luke Becker. LSU won 4-3 in a dogfight in the night session. Here is a quick look back at Friday’s games. 

Kentucky 12 LSU 5

Friday afternoon quickly became the Luke Becker show. The sophomore third baseman blasted two home runs, including a grand slam to help take game one of the series. Riley Mahan went 5/5 with two doubles and three RBIs in the win. UK’s offense dominated LSU’s Friday guy Jared Poche in game one. Poche allowed five runs in three innings and was outdueled by Sean Hjelle. LSU hung two runs on Hjelle in the second inning and one in the seventh but that was it. Hjelle allowed three runs in six innings while striking out three to pick up his sixth win of the season. LSU’s offense had a solid day at the plate, but UK overpowered them from start to finish. The BatCats had six players get multiple hits and added eight walks as a team. Mahan saw his average on the season rise to .329 with an impressive two games against LSU. He is now second in hits behind Tristan Pompey on the team.

 

LSU 4 Kentucky 3

LSU somehow found a way to steal this game from the Cats. UK could not capitalize on several big opportunities on Friday night. Projected-first rounder Alex Lange struggled with his command throughout his 5.2 innings and put plenty of Cats in scoring position. Kole Cottam got the offense rolling in the bottom of the second with a solo home run to right field. Following the solo shot, UK loaded the bases against Lange. Evan White walked to bring home a run and to put up a crooked number in the second inning. 

UK would leave the bases loaded in the second inning. This became a common theme for the BatCats on Friday night. UK left the bases loaded in the second, third, and fourth innings against LSU. Lange walked eight batters and allowed seven hits, but UK only got to him for three runs over 5.2 innings.

Zack Reks drove in the third run of the game in the fourth inning off Lange. After that, Lange was able to work out of a couple jams and give his offense an opportunity to come back. Just as the rain started to fall, LSU roared back to tie the game in the fifth. Starter Zach Logue lost control of his fastball and curveball and was removed with one out in the fifth. Logan Salow came on and got the second out of the inning before Nick Coomes singled home two runs to tie the game. 

Salow pitched well into the eighth, but LSU was able to get to him. Antoine Duplantis singled to the right side to score Josh Smith and give LSU a 4-3 lead. UK kept fighting in the last two innings but could not find the tying run. Tristan Pompey doubled but was stranded at third and Zeke Lewis was left at first to end the game. The BatCats left 14 men on base in the loss.

Moving Forward

There is no game tomorrow due to the rain that will move in overnight. Game three of the series will be at 1 ET at the Cliff on Sunday. 

 


UK Baseball changes schedule for series with LSU because of weather

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

If you’re planning on cheering on the Bat Cats in their series vs. #8 LSU this weekend, then listen up! Due to the threat of storms in Lexington on Saturday, UK had to alter the schedule. Kentucky will now play a doubleheader vs. LSU on Friday beginning at 2 p.m. The second game of the day will start one hour after the first one ends, so approximately 6:30 p.m. The final game of the series will take place Sunday at 1 p.m. Once again, that schedule is…

  • Game 1: Friday, 2 p.m.
  • Game 2: Friday, one hour after end of game 1 (about 6:30 p.m.)
  • Game 2: Sunday, 1 p.m.

Tickets for Saturday’s contest may be used for Friday’s doubleheader and can be exchanged for a future date as well. Call the UK Ticket Office at 859-257-1818 for more information. All games will still be shown live on SEC Network+ and the WatchESPN app.

ICYMI last night, here are 10 reasons now is the perfect time to get into UK Baseball. And some highlights from the win over Louisville Tuesday night:

 


Tyler Marshall and Connor Heady celebrate the win over Louisville (Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics)

10 reasons now’s the time to get into UK Baseball (from someone who doesn’t really like baseball)

Tyler Marshall and Connor Heady celebrate the win over Louisville (Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics)

Tyler Marshall and Connor Heady celebrate the win over Louisville (Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics)

If you’ve read this website for any amount of time, you probably know I’m not a big baseball fan. To me, baseball is the perfect example of a sport that’s fun to watch in person but fails to translate to television. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack and put me in the stands, and I’m happy as a clam (although really, I’d prefer a hot dog and a beer). Throw in some sunshine, a nice breeze, and organ music and there are few things better, really; however, when you’re sitting on your couch watching, it has the same effect on me that non-major golf tournaments do: drowsiness.

Yet, even I am giving baseball another go this week for one big reason: the UK Baseball team is kicking butt. And there’s nothing I love more than UK sports teams kicking butt, especially Louisville’s like they did last night. In Nick Mingione’s first year as head coach, he has the squad ranked in the top 10 in the midst of a crucial stretch of games.

If you’re like me and considering hopping on the Bat Cats’ bandwagon, here are ten reasons why you should:

1. They just beat Louisville

Yes, this is obvious, especially since I just mentioned it, but last night’s win over Louisville was pretty great. Not only is Louisville ranked #2 in the country right now, they beat Kentucky earlier this season, making the win especially sweet. You can read Trey Hunstman’s recap here, but the final score was 11-7, with Kentucky’s 11 runs all coming in the first four innings. Those 11 runs are the most for the Cats against Louisville since scoring 12 in a 12-11 on March 30, 2005, and even though Louisville rallied, Kentucky still held them off.

2. They did something that’s only happened once in MAJOR LEAGUE baseball history

By now, you’ve probably seen the rare 7-2-6 (left fielder, catcher, shortstop) triple play from last night’s game, but it deserves another viewing, particularly with Neil Price’s call:

Another view from WKYT’s Steve Moss:

How incredible was that play? Not only was it the first triple play in school history and the #1 play on last night’s “SportsCenter,” there’s only been one 7-2-6 triple play in MAJOR LEAGUE history, and it happened back in 1923 between the Phillies and Pirates. Well done, guys.

3. They did it in front of a record crowd

On a night in which there were rain showers in the area, UK set a new Cliff Hagan Stadium attendance record with 4,018 fans in the stands, passing the 4,009 mark set against Louisville on April 8, 2008. Shoutout to last nine people in the door for helping Mingione make some history.

If you need another reason to come on out to The Cliff, here’s one: they’re 17-2 at home this season. That’s a pretty impressive mark. Kentucky’s only two home losses this season were to Ole Miss and Vandy, two good teams that Kentucky eventually went on to win the series against.

Speaking of The Cliff…

4. The new stadium is coming right along

No offense to Cliff Hagan Stadium, but it was time for an upgrade. If you’ve driven around the south side of campus, you’ve probably noticed the progress on Kentucky’s new baseball stadium, which will be completed in the fall of 2018, just in time for the 2019 season. The price tag is estimated to be around $49 million, which will put Kentucky on par with its peers in the SEC. Here’s the rendering:

There’s even a live cam if you really enjoy watching construction. Notice Commonwealth Stadium in the background:

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 2.08.59 PM

5. They’re defying expectations

Given last season’s struggles and the fact that this is Nick Mingione’s first year as a head coach, everyone — understandably — had guarded expectations for this season…except the team. After stumbling early against a very good North Carolina team on the road, the Bat Cats are now in the top ten nationally and atop the SEC East standings, which is no small feat. In fact…

6. They actually lead the SEC in a lot of statistical categories

After ranking in the bottom half of the league in almost major statistical category last year, they now rank in the top three in most more than a third of the way through the season:

In a league in which most people consider baseball second to football, that’s a remarkable improvement.

7. It’s impossible not to like Nick Mingione

This is probably the number one reason I’m giving UK Baseball a shot. After listening to him on KSR and in other media appearances, it’s pretty much impossible not to like Mingione. He’s young, passionate, smart, funny, and even a little self-deprecating, all qualities I admire, especially in coaches. Listening to him talk about how Lexington was the only SEC town he would bring his wife to while an assistant at Mississippi State and how he dreamed of one day coaching here would probably sound like pure BS coming from most people, but I genuinely believe it from him. As David Spade said in the 1995 classic “Tommy Boy,” he could sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves. It’s no wonder that today, he picked up a big commitment from former Under Armour and Perfect Game All-American Ryan Johnson.

Looking at these photos from @kevinsaal of Mingione addressing his team after the win last night, it almost looks like he’s tearing up:

Beating Louisville can do that to you, coach. I get it.

8. They’re about to play LSU

The Cats can’t afford to celebrate the Louisville win too much; #8 LSU is on deck for a three-game series, which starts on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Saturday’s game will also start at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday’s at 1 p.m. Unfortunately, the games won’t be televised (on normal TV), but you can watch on your computer, tablet, or phone on SEC Network+ or listen on the UK Sports Network via UKathletics.com, 630 AM WLAP, or iHeartRadio.

Hopefully LSU doesn’t bring their rally possum:

9. The former coach is part of the KSR Baseball Podcast

You didn’t expect me to get through this list without plugging our own KSR Baseball podcast, did you? Our baseball writer Trey Huntsman is determined to up our baseball coverage — which was needed — and a big part of that is his new podcast, which is cohosted by former UK Baseball coach Keith Madison. Their guests have included current head coach Nick Mingione and former Cat and former MLB outfielder Austin Kearns.

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.

10. What else are you going to do with your time?

If you’re like me, you’re itching to fill the time you used to spend watching UK basketball and football with something else. With the Predators playing well, playoff hockey is doing it for me right now, but other than that, I’ll cheer for John Wall and the other Cats in the NBA playoffs, watch the Derby, and that’s about it.

…Which is why UK Baseball is so perfect. Join me on the bandwagon, won’t you?


KSR Baseball Podcast: Week 8

 

After a monumental 11-7 victory over UofL in front of a sold out crowd at Cliff Hagan Stadium, Trey Huntsman and Coach Keith Madison are here to break down the game with a special guest, UK assistant coach Todd Guilliams.  Go inside baseball with the coaches and hear…

—  How the BatCats got off to a great start offensively against UofL.

—  Ben McDonald of the SEC Network joins the program to look ahead to the LSU game.

—  How Coach Madison failed to recruit McDonald to Kentucky.

—  What it was like to win a gold medal in baseball for Team USA.

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.


Kentucky Takes Down #2 Louisville 11-7

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

#10 Kentucky scored the first 11 runs in an 11-7 win over #2 Louisville on Tuesday night. It was UK’s first win over Louisville since 2014 and their biggest win of the 2017 season.

Recap

It’s hard to imagine a better start to a game than what UK got in the first inning. Tristan Pompey doubled off the right field wall to start the inning. Luke Becker singled him home and started the offensive onslaught. Riley Mahan, Troy Squires, and Tyler Marshall all followed with RBI singles before Marcus Carson drove in the fifth run of the game on a SAC bunt. Louisville was forced to go to their bullpen early after trailing 5-0 through one inning.

Just as Louisville got an opportunity to get a couple runs back, UK stomped it out. With runners at second and third. UK recorded a triple play to end the threat. Reks caught a fly ball and threw out a runner at home. Squires tagged the runner and threw out the man at third for a triple play.

The Cats stepped on Louisville’s throats in the third inning. With runners on first and second, UK got two runs on an error by the second baseman and a throwing error by the centerfielder. Connor Heady followed with a home run to left field to extend UK’s lead to 9-0 after three.

While Kentucky’s offense built an 11-0 lead, Zack Thompson kept the number two team in the nation quiet. The freshman starter didn’t make it through the third inning in his first game against Louisville, but he looked more composed on Tuesday. Thompson allowed four runs and struck out seven over five innings. 

Colton Cleary entered with two on and no out in the sixth. Drew Ellis greeted Cleary with a home run to left that cut UK’s lead to six. After allowing a double, Cleary was pulled and replaced by Chris Machamer. Two more runs would come across in the sixth as Louisville trimmed the lead to four.

Machamer was able to silent the Louisville offense in the seventh after the Cardinals made it close in the sixth. Zach Pop followed Machamer in the eighth with two strikeouts as he retired the side in order.

UK’s 11 runs through four innings was enough to get them their first win over Louisville since 2014. Logan Salow entered in the ninth and shut the door as Squires picked off a runner at first to end a 11-7 shootout win for UK

 

Eight different players collected hits in the win. Louisville-native Tyler Marshall went 3/4 with two RBIs to lead UK to their first win in the last six tries over the Cards. Today’s game also set a record for Cliff Hagan Stadium with 4,018 in attendance. 

The Cats are back in action this Friday against LSU at home.

 


WATCH: Kentucky’s UNBELIEVABLE Triple Play vs. Louisville

WATCH: Kentucky’s UNBELIEVABLE Triple Play vs. Louisville

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 8.03.49 PM

The Kentucky baseball team is off to one hell of a start in front of a sold out crowd at The Cliff.

After pouring in five runs in the first inning, Louisville looked to turn the tide in the top of the second.  With runners on second and third and no outs, a ball was blooped into left field to start one of the craziest baseball plays you’ve ever seen.

A 7-2-6 Triple Play.  That’s something you don’t see everyday.


Former Cat JT Riddle hits walk-off homer for Miami Marlins

Former Cat JT Riddle hits walk-off homer for Miami Marlins

kentucky-riddle-0326

Joshua Travis Riddle was born and raised in Frankfort, Kentucky, attending Western Hills High School, and winning Mr. Kentucky Baseball his senior year. JT went on to play for the Wildcats at the University of Kentucky before being selected in the 13th round of the 2013 MLB draft by the Miami Marlins.

Riddle was just called to the majors last week, as he had his first major league hit four days ago. Riddle’s first major league home run was a big one, a walk-off to push the first place Marlins past the New York Mets. Take a look:

Here is what JT had to say about the huge career moment after the game, including a shaving cream pie to the face.

Congratulations to JT Riddle from all of the Big Blue Nation. Keep swinging a hot stick JT!

@BrettBibbinsKSR


Mizzou Evens Series Against Kentucky

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Missouri and Kentucky combined for nine home runs in 9-8 slugfest that ended in favor of the Tigers. Trey Harris homered three times in five innings off Zach Logue in response to Tristan Pompey hitting two home runs in the first three innings. Kentucky sits at 24-12 (9-5) on the year and is still atop the SEC East standings.

Recap

Pompey hit his first of two home runs on the first pitch of the game off Michael Plassmeyer. Pompey’s counterpart Harris battled with him all night. The two outfielders went back and forth throughout as Harris responded in the bottom of the first with a two-run home run off Logue.

Following a Marcus Carson solo shot, Pompey gave UK a 3-2 lead in the third with a bomb to dead center. It appeared that the ball was as big as a basketball to Pompey. The Canadien outfielder needed only three pitches to hit two balls out of the park. At one point, Pompey had hits in 14 of 22 at-bats and now sits at second on the team in average.

 

Unfortunately for the Cats, they ran into another hot hitting power guy. Last week, Brent Rooker killed UK with two home runs in Starkville. This week, it was Trey Harris. Mizzou got home runs from Harris in the third and the fifth to boost their lead to 7-3.

Zach Logue did not struggle extensively on Saturday. Logue set a career-high with nine strikeouts in 5.1 innings against Mizzou. The wind was pushing balls out tonight, and Logue had some balls get caught in the jet stream. The Tigers collected ten hits and scored seven runs against the UK starter before reaching the Cats’ bullpen.

 

Trailing 7-3, UK got to the nation’s top reliever. T.J. Sikkema entered the game with only three earned runs allowed and was on the first team of Perfect Game’s Midseason All-American Team. With an Evan White RBI fielder’s choice and a two-RBI double by Zach Reks cut Missouri’s lead to one through seven. All of UK’s RBIs came with two outs in the inning.

Just as it seemed that UK was back in it, Missouri pushed it back out. The Tigers scored two off Brad Schaenzer in the bottom of the seventh to put UK’s offense in a hole once again. Zach Pop came on in the eighth and stranded two runners with no outs to keep the Cats in the game.

Sikkema retired the first two in the ninth before Pompey was hit by a pitch. White followed with a two-run home run to left-center to cut the lead to one. Reks grounded out to end the ninth and give Missouri a 9-8 win over Kentucky.

The teams combined for nine home runs out of 21 total hits on Saturday. It was a tough-luck loss for the BatCats, but they have a chance to bounce back tomorrow at 1 ET on the SEC Network. From those of us on the KSR Baseball Team, we hope you all have a great Easter and celebrate the memorable day with loved ones. God bless.

 


UK Softball Upsets Florida

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

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.


Evelyn Akhator is the Highest WNBA Draft Pick in UK History

Evelyn Akhator is the Highest WNBA Draft Pick in UK History

akhator

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.

UPDATE

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.


UK Athletics

The Call To The Bullpen, April 12th Edition

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

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.

Recaps

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.

Takeaways

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 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.

 

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.

Chandler Shepherd (UK Athletics)

Chandler Shepherd (UK Athletics)

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.

 

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.

Previewing Missouri

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.