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Kentucky Runs Over Rocky Top In Game One

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Kentucky’s offense demolished Tennessee in a 15-5 rout on Friday night. The BatCats used four home runs and 19 total hits to improve to 34-16 (16-9) on the season. While the offense dominated, Sean Hjelle went seven innings and kept the Vols quiet in Friday’s win.

Recap

UK was off and running from the jump. The BatCats scored one in the first, three in the second, two in the third and four in the fourth to open up a 10-1 lead on Tennessee. It was evident early on that the ball would be flying against the Vols’ starter Hunter Martin. Evan White hit his seventh home run of the year with one out in the first. White went 2/4 tonight and now totes a .400 average headed into the final six games of the regular season.

Kentucky gave Martin more of the same in the second inning. Troy Squires collected his first of three hits with a leadoff double. Tyler Marshall singled to put runners at first and third with no outs before Connor Heady delivered a one-out RBI single to score Squires. White brought in a pair of runs with two outs when he doubled down the line to give UK a 4-0 lead thru two.

Tennessee never really had a chance to keep up with the BatCats on Friday. Squires and Marshall both drove in runs on sacrifice flies in the third before UK dropped an onslaught in the bottom of the fourth. After Jeff Moberg put Tennessee on the board with a solo home run, UK scored four in the bottom half of the inning. Luke Becker and Mahan slashed RBI singles with one out in the frame as UT had to go to their bullpen. Eric Freeman was unable to stop the bleeding in the fourth as one run scored on an error and Marcus Carson singled to score Marshall and give UK a 10-1 lead into the fifth.

Sean Hjelle’s job was easy on Friday. Moberg’s home run was the only blemish on Hjelle’s stat line against Tennessee. The Vols only collected one other hit off Hjelle and reached base a total of four times as the Wildcat starter lowered his ERA to 3.12 of the season. Hjelle is now tied for the team lead in ERA and he leads the team in strikeouts and innings pitched.

The Vols held UK’s offense at bay for the first time in the fifth inning. That lasted for roughly 20 minutes. Mahan and Squires hit back-to-back jacks in the sixth. For Mahan, it was his team-leading 11th of the season. But for Squires, it was his first career home run at UK. Squires has been a glue guy for UK in 2017. When the team needs a sac bunt or gritty play on defense, no one steps up faster than Squires. With a 3/3 day on Friday, Squires is now batting .333 on the year.

Just for good measure, Zach Reks hit a two-run home run in the seventh and Kole Cottam added an RBI-groundout later in the inning. Kentucky’s offense had been effective as of late, but hadn’t been scoring like they did tonight. It was a brilliant showing of offensive execution by the BatCats.

After Hjelle exited in the 8th with a 15-1 lead, Coach Mingione went with some rarely used members of his pitching staff to finish the game. Alec Maley pitched a scoreless eighth in his ninth appearance of the season. Josh Smith and Austin Keen allowed a combined four runs in the ninth before Brad Schaenzer entered to close out a 15-5 win for the BatCats.

Notes

Evan White, All-American- I understand that he missed 13 games because of injury, but come on. White is now hitting .400 in 146 at-bats with seven bombs and 29 RBIs. His dominance on offense matches up well with his perfect fielding percentage at first base. It will be fun down the stretch to see if White can finish the year over .400.

Stephen Johnson threw out the first pitch- The UK Quarterback and Governor’s Cup legend delivered a first pitch strike to open tonight’s game. Here’s video:

 

Riley Mahan has found his power- Mahan has now homered in three straight SEC games and is the first UK player to double-digit bombs this year. The junior now leads SEC second basemen in home runs.

Kentucky will look for a series win at 2 ET at the Cliff. Zach Logue takes the ball as UK will try and tie Florida for the SEC East lead.


Stephen Johnson will throw out the first pitch at tonight’s UK Baseball game

stephen-johnson

We know Stephen Johnson can throw a football, but what about a baseball? We’ll find out tonight when UK’s quarterback throws out the first pitch for the baseball team’s series opener vs. Tennessee. It sounds like the weather’s been iffy in Lexington all day, but as of now, the game is going on as scheduled, so get on down to The Cliff for the 6:30 p.m. start.

 

Can’t make it tonight? Tomorrow’s game starts at 2 p.m., but get there early for the Senior Day festivities. Seven seniors will be honored: Marcus Carson, Colton Cleary, Connor Heady, Gunnar McNeill, Zach Reks, Logan Salow and Storm Wilson. Sunday’s finale is at 1 p.m.

With only two weekends left, the #9 Bat Cats are still very much in the SEC race. The Wildcats are 33-16 overall and 15-9 in league play, just one game behind league leaders Florida and Mississippi State. Go get ’em, Bat Cats!


UK Athletics posts a 3.0 GPA for the 10th straight semester

UK Athletics posts a 3.0 GPA for the 10th straight semester

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Spring grades are out, and for the tenth straight semester, UK Athletics posted a 3.0 department-wide GPA. Eighteen of UK’s 20 teams reached Mitch Barnhart’s goal of a 3.0 GPA and five had GPAs of better than 3.5. The women’s cross country team led the way with a sterling GPA of 3.652 and was closely followed by women’s golf (3.568) and women’s swimming and diving (3.548). The men’s golf team led all men’s teams with a GPA of 3.538, while the coed rifle team had a GPA of 3.512.

The men’s basketball team posted a 2.615 GPA among scholarship players and 2.728 GPA among scholarship and non-scholarship players. While those marks aren’t exactly stellar, they are an increase over the fall semester GPAs of 2.418/2.547. Meanwhile, the football team had a 2.568 GPA among scholarship players and 2.680 GPA among scholarship and non-scholarship players, a slight improvement over the fall’s 2.531/2.655.

Check out all the spring grades by sport here.


UK Athletics

UK Softball Wins First Game at SEC Tournament

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

A No. 7 seed in the SEC Tournament, the Cats got off to a great start in Knoxville by taking down South Carolina with a 7-3 win.

Meagan Prince pitched five scoreless innings before surrendering a solo homerun to the Gamecocks.  Offensively, the bats got hot in the third inning.  Brooklin Hinz’s RBI double drove in Bailey Vick to get things started.  Abbey Cheek quickly followed with a three-run blast over the left field wall to give the Cats the lead for good.   She doubled-down with another bomb in the fifth inning to give the Cats their sixth run.

The Gamecocks threatened late in the game, getting two runners on in the final inning before the Cats closed the door.  Rachel Lawson’s squad advances the quarterfinals to play the No. 2 seed Auburn tomorrow at 5:00 in Knoxville.  You can catch all the games on Watch ESPN and the SEC Network. Until then, enjoy the full highlights from tonight’s game, courtesy of KY Wildcats TV.

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Kentucky baseball loses national seed with Georgia series loss

Chandler Shepherd (UK Athletics)

Chandler Shepherd (UK Athletics)

Kentucky’s bad weekend in the Georgia series may have long term implications, according to the latest postseason projections. The website D1Baseball.com has the Cats losing its national seed, to which it blames the home series loss to the Bulldogs for the fall:

For starters, the national seed picture has a slightly different look this week. Following a tough home series loss to Georgia, Kentucky has dropped out as a national seed, while the beneficiary is Stanford out of the Pac-12.

Kentucky still hosts the regional in this projection, but we want the big one in Lexington. Gotta bounce back with a strong showing against Tennessee this weekend.

Go Cats.

[D1Baseball.com]


UK Baseball commit throws no-hitter in Lexington

UK Baseball commit throws no-hitter in Lexington

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Lexington Catholic’s Trip Lockhart is a future pitcher for the University of Kentucky and last night he gave Big Blue Nation another reason to be really excited about his commitment to the Wildcats.

Playing against cross-town rival Tates Creek, Lockhart threw a no-hitter in Lex Cath’s 4-0 win Tuesday night. I’m not a big baseball guy, but my understanding is that is a very good accomplishment and very rare to do.

Lockhard talked to PrepSpin.com after his no-no:

UK Baseball dominating the headlines lately.


UK Athletics

UK Baseball Defeats Indiana

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

After hitting a speed-bump this weekend with a series loss to Georgia, the BatCats bounced back with a 5-2 win over Indiana.

The Cats were clutch.  Their first four runs all came with two outs.  A seventh inning security run was all Logan Salow needed for his ninth save of the season.  The midweek win over a team with a Top 25 RPI all but ensures Kentucky will host a regional.

Up next, a homestead with Tennessee.  Until then, enjoy tonight’s highlights.

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Further proof former Kentucky track star Kendra Harrison is a badass

By now, you know that Kendra Harrison is a badass. The former UK track star broke the world record for the 100m hurdles last summer, clocking in at a scorching 12.2 seconds. Harrison continues to train with UK track coach Edrick Floreal, and on Friday, she broke her hand warming up for the 100m hurdles at the Doha DL in Qatar. Instead of bowing out of the race like most mortals, Harrison not only ran it, she won it. By a lot. With a broken hand.

Afterwards, she was rushed to the hospital, where she was fitted with a cast:

Surely that earned Harrison some rest and relaxation, right? Wrong. Harrison was back on the track at UK today, even though she’s scheduled to have surgery on her hand on Thursday:

Incredible. You go, girl.


The KSR Baseball Podcast: Week 11

Coach Madison and Trey Huntsman are back for the 11th episode of the KSR Baseball Podcast. The two hosts dive into a rough weekend for the BatCats to discover why this season is not like the previous two.

Along with a breakdown of the series against Georgia, Coach and Trey will talk about this week’s series against Tennessee and the midweek opponent, Indiana.  Brought to you by Performance Physical Therapy, you’ll also hear…

— Why there is no need to hit the panic button this year.
— A trip around the SEC to talk about who’s hot late in the year
— The first place Reds?!?
–Who is a Hall of Famer in the MLB right now?
— Segments: Mound Visit, Trivia and 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.


UK Athletics

The Call To The Bullpen, May 7th

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Kentucky finds themselves in a bit of a downslide for the first time in almost three months. The Cats dropped two of three against SEC bottom feeder Georgia this weekend at the Cliff and are now second in the East and third overall. Here is a look back at this weekend as well as notes and a preview of next weekend’s series versus Tennessee.

Recap

Georgia 5 Kentucky 3- In a game that was moved up to an early afternoon start, UK saw a ninth inning lead slip away. Two errors by Connor Heady and Tristan Pompey led to four unearned runs in the top of the ninth. The Cats recorded only one extra-base hit as Andrew Gist controlled the Cats offense into the seventh. UK had the winning run on base in the ninth inning but could not bring him around as they dropped game one to UGA.

Kentucky 7 Georgia 4- The BatCats got a big day from Troy Squires in support of Zach Logue. The junior catcher drove in four runs on two doubles to lead UK to their 32nd win of the season. Logue went 6.2 innings and struck out a career-high 11 on the mound. Zack Thompson struck out five of the seven batters he faced in relief.

Georiga 6 Kentucky 3- Sunday’s game was perhaps the most puzzling of the year. Riley Mahan hit his 10th home run of the season and Justin Lewis allowed only one run over seven innings of work. Lewis exited with 99 pitches and Logan Salow entered in the eighth. Salow had struggled on Friday but was still the first man out of the pen. In a blink of an eye, Georgia suddenly led by four thanks to a grand slam by Mitchell Webb. Once again, UK had the tying run at the plate in the ninth but could not get a big hit. The Cats dropped the series at home to Georgia.

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Notes from the week

Evan White continues to be elite- White had six hits this weekend and is now 15th all-time in hits at UK. He has hits in 23 of his last 25 games and now has 19 multi-hit games in 2017. Coach Mingione has White batting second behind Pompey every day now, and I like that a lot. Both guys can be relied on because of the number of balls they barrel up and put into play. White is now hitting .391 in 35 games as a junior.

Zack Thompson’s new role could take UK places- As a freshman, Thompson has been used primarily as a midweek starter. But he has come out of the bullpen twice in SEC play, including this weekend. Thompson was great on Saturday. His curveball was excellent and he was hitting high-90s with his fastball. Having a weapon like him in the postseason could be what sets this team apart. Thompson will be a top two round pick in two years, and his talent level is already noticeable. He can be a guy that starts a fourth game of a tournament or even gets some big outs late in games.

When will see more of Chris Machamer?- The Ohio Player of the Year last year, Machamer has found more consistency late in his first season as a Cat. Machamer has struck out 22 in 19 innings while posting a 2.37 ERA. Today seemed like a good day for Machamer to be first out of the pen, but it was Salow that replaced Lewis in the eighth. Hopefully, we will see Machamer’s role grow as the team plays more games with fewer days off over the next month.

What does this weekend do to the odds of hosting?- UK was hurt a little by not having a midweek due to finals, so the 1-2 record looks bad for the week. Losing the series to Georgia probably drops UK out of being a national seed for the time being, but they will still be a lock to host next month.

KSR Projection for the Lexington Regional

  1. Kentucky
  2. Michigan
  3. Washington
  4. Wright State

SEC Notes

The Cats are now tied for third in the SEC with LSU with a conference record of 15-9. Florida and Mississippi State are tied for the overall lead at 16-8. If my calculations are correct, UK would be the three seed in Hoover playing the winner of Missouri and Arkansas if the season ended today. South Carolina has now lost six straight series in conference play and looks to be on the bubble headed into the final two weekends of the season.

Cats in the Pros

JT Riddle was called back up to Marlins and will be with the big league team tomorrow. James Paxton was put on the 10-day DL this week with a forearm strain. Before the injury, Paxton was a 3-0 with a 1.43 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 37.2 innings. Dustin Beggs is proving his success at UK was no fluke. The innings-eater has a 1.29 ERA for Low-A Greensboro in six starts.

The Week Ahead

Kentucky has four extremely important games for seeding purposes this week. Indiana comes to the Cliff on Tuesday and Tennessee will be here for a weekend series. Tennessee is fighting to make the SEC Tournament and is spinning their tires late in the year. Dave Serrano is on the hot seat and winning games in Hoover is his last shot at retaining his job for 2018. Tennessee will come up here hungry and will be wanting to make a late season push. The game against Indiana will be the second toughest midweek opponent for UK this season. The Hoosiers have won eight of ten and are two games back in the Big Ten. Some projections have IU as the two seed in UK’s Regional in June. It will be a big game for RPI purposes.

ksrbaseball

New Podcast Tomorrow

The 11th episode of the KSR Baseball Podcast will be available tomorrow night. For those that downloaded last week’s show, thank you for putting us in the top ten of college podcasts!

People to follow on Twitter as we head into the homestretch

@TreyHuntsmanKSR @KeithMadison32 @JohnBurns_13 @AaronFitt


Kevin Knox’s Sunday Morning Wakeup

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Talk about a big day in Bluegrass sports. Even the most hungover among you probably woke up with a smile on your face this morning. Let’s get right into it.

Kevin Knox Commits to Kentucky

As promised, 5-star wing Kevin Knox took to Twitter last night to announce his college decision, and contrary to pretty much everybody’s expectations, Knox has decided to become a Wildcat.

This year’s mass exodus of Cats grows less and less painful by the day. You can click here for Knox’s comments on his commitment and some insight from Knox’s dad.

Players and Pundits React to Knox’s Decision

And yes, he did say “MO, YOU NEXT!”

Speaking of future Cats…

The BallisLife All-American Game Box Score Reads like an NBA All-Star Game

Defense wins championships, but not all-star games. Not much to see here from Quade Green with 3 assists and 3 turnovers, but PJ Washington notched 16 points, and Mo Bamba added 11 points and 6 boards. Alabama signee Collin Sexton took home MVP honors.

Moving on from basketball…

Always Dreaming wins 143rd Kentucky Derby

Sometimes, it pays to pick the favorite. At 9/2 odds, the Todd Pletcher trained horse took the Garland of Roses with a time of 2:03.59. It was also the second Derby win for jockey John Valezquez, who won riding Animal Kingdom in 2011.

UK Baseball gets the W back from Georgia

The Bat Cats took down the Bulldogs 7-4 behind two career nights: 10 strikeouts by pitcher Zach Logue and 4 RBIs from Troy Squires. The series rubber match goes down at 1 PM today.

 

After the hectic day yesterday, I’m looking forward to a nice nap this afternoon. Enjoy a restful Sunday, BBN.

@JayWinkKSR


UK Athletics

Cats Take Game Two Over Georgia 7-4

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

The #4 BatCats (32-15, 15-8) made yesterday’s loss to Georgia a distant memory with a 7-4 win on Saturday night. Troy Squires drove in four runs with a pair of RBI doubles in support of starter Zach Logue. With the win over Georgia, UK has matched last year’s win total with nine games to play in the regular season.

Recap

After a dreary day on Friday, UK responded early on Saturday. After a pair of scoreless innings, the BatCats went to work on UGA’s starter Chase Adkins in the third. Tristan Pompey and Evan White singled on back-to-back pitches before Luke Becker walked to load the bases. Adkins and his catcher seemed crossed up in the third and fourth and it came back to bite the Dogs when a run came home on a passed ball with two outs. After the passed ball, Mahan walked to load the bases for Troy Squires. While Squires is usually the guy who sets up a big play, he came thru in a different way today as he delivered a bases-clearing double to center to give UK a 4-0 lead headed to the fourth.

Logue was cruising on the mound in the early innings. UGA did not get a hit off Logue thru four innings as the junior struck out at least one Bulldog batter in every inning tonight. “He has had not had the best outings the couple outings, but we’ve been telling our guys we don’t lose we learn,” Coach Mingione said on Logue’s performance. “I think everything was better, the stuff was better, the fastball command was better, the slider was better.”

Logue got the run support he needed to feel comfortable on the mound. Marcus Carson singled to lead off the bottom of the fourth and stole second before taking third on a sac bunt. Pompey drove him in with a RBI fielder’s choice to give UK a 5-0 lead thru four.

Logue’s first hit allowed was an unfortunate one. Mitchell Webb got ahold of a ball and drove it over the left-field wall. The long ball has been Logue’s problem this year. Logue has now allowed 15 home runs in 69.1 innings this season.

The offense went right back to work after Georgia got one back. Riley Mahan blasted his team-leading ninth home run of the wall to right to put UK back ahead by five.

 

Despite their atrocious record, Georgia has been in these two games to the final inning this weekend. Tucker Maxwell hit a three-run home off Logue in the seventh to trim the lead to two. UGA seemed primed for more, but UK went to their pen and got Zack Thompson. The freshman midweek starter got Cam Shepherd to pop up with the tying run on base.

The game was all but over with Thompson on the hill. Thompson had the curveball working extremely well against lefties and his fastball hit around 96-97 in his 2.1 innings of work. After Logue struck out a career-high 11, Thompson added five strikeouts against only seven batters in relief.

 

Kentucky got an insurance run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh as Squires doubled home his fourth run of the day. “I had two strikes on me and the thing is to put the ball in play with two outs, I knew the umpire was calling those outside pitches so I knew I had to drive the ball that way,” Squires said.

Thompson shut the door by striking out the side in the ninth as UK tied the series at one game apiece against Georgia.

Notes

Logue’s effort not haunted by two mistakes- Outside of the two homers, Logue was excellent this evening. Squires said he “didn’t have to move his glove once”, meaning that Logue was really in command of all his pitches and had a good feel for his breaking stuff.

Pompey first to 70 hits- With two more hits tonight, Pompey now has 70 on the season and hits in 33 of his last 36 games. Pompey is beginning to look like a guy who could be taken in the first couple rounds of the 2018 Draft. I think he has a larger skill set than his brother Dalton, an outfielder for the Blue Jays. He is barrelling up more balls than anyone right now.

The BatCats are back at it tomorrow at 1 ET against UGA. Georgia-native Justin Lewis will take the mound against the Dogs.

 


@UKBaseball

UK Baseball Out for Revenge Tonight

@UKBaseball

@UKBaseball

After a day full of celebrating one of the Bluegrass’ greatest pastimes, maybe you’d like to spend your evening celebrating America’s pastime. Heck, if you’re not at Churchill Downs, why not check out The Cliff?

Starting at 6:30, the Bat Cats are looking to get even with the Georgia Bulldogs, who stole away a win from the now 4th-ranked UK squad last night. The Bulldogs won 5-3, albeit with 4 unearned runs.

No better way to end a day of boozin’ and bettin’ than with some baseball.

@JayWinkKSR

 


Rainy Day Miscues Lead To BatCats Dropping Game One To Georgia

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Two Kentucky errors in the top of the ninth lead to four unearned runs as Georgia roared back to beat the Cats 5-3 on Friday afternoon. It was a dreary, rainy day at the Cliff and the game itself was lethargic until the final two innings. After UK took the lead in the bottom of the eighth, UGA used three hits and two errors in the top of the ninth to score four runs. UK now sits at 31-15 (14-8) after losing to the 18-28 Bulldogs on Friday.

Recap

The game was originally scheduled for 6:30 tonight, but with rain incoming, the teams decided to play at 2. The rain came throughout most of the game, causing the field to stay slick. Neither team found any offense thru the first four innings. Starter Sean Hjelle worked out of a couple difficult jams including runners in scoring position in the second and third innings.

UGA got to Hjelle in the top of the fifth. Cam Shepherd bounced out to first to score Tucker Maxwell from third and give UGA a 1-0 lead. The Cats answered back in a hurry. Tyler Marshall singled to start the bottom of the fifth and Connor Heady walked with one out. After Tristan Pompey flew out to center, Evan White singled home Marshall to tie the game at one thru five. The single put White in sole possession of 15th on UK’s All-Time hits list. White will most likely move into the top ten by the end of the season.

Hjelle continued to motor on into the seventh. The RBI groundout in the fifth was the only run that Hjelle allowed on Friday. The sophomore went 6.2 innings and struck out seven in yet another quality start. Hjelle is the first player on the team to reach 70 strikeouts on the season.

UK Athletics

UK Athletics

Logan Salow entered with two outs in the seventh and shut the door with a strikeout. He would add one more K’s as we worked a 1-2-3 eighth.

Kentucky used a little small ball to manufacture a run in the bottom of the eighth. Zach Reks singled and was moved up on a bunt before Riley Mahan and Troy Squires both walked to load the bases with one out. Marshall delivered a sac fly to center to give UK a 2-1 lead headed into the ninth.

That’s where the wheels came off for the Cats. Logan Salow allowed a single to lead off the ninth but got a pop out and a strikeout to put UGA down to their last out. Maxwell got to Salow with a double off the centerfield wall. LJ Talley tripped rounding third and could not advance home. Salow had the Dogs down to their last strike, but a ground ball got past Heady at shortstop to score two unearned runs for UGA. Just as it seemed like Salow might be out of it, a fly ball bounced out of Pompey’s glove to score two more runs. 

When it was all said and done, UK trailed 5-2 headed to the bottom of the ninth. After Heady doubled and Pompey collected his team-high 68th hit of the season, UK was in business. The BatCats loaded the bases for Becker with one out. Becker walked to score a run and put the winning run at first. UK could not find another base hit as Mahan struck out and Gunnar McNeill popped out to second to end the game.

Today’s loss stings as Georgia is not projected to make the SEC Tournament. The adjusted start time and the terrible weather didn’t help things as UK is now only a half game up on Florida in the East. The Cats are back at it tomorrow night at 6:30 ET.


The KSR Baseball Podcast: Week 10 with Austin Kearns

The KSR Baseball Podcast returns with our first returning guest, former Major Leaguer Austin Kearns.  The triumvirate talks about UK baseball’s series win over South Carolina that featured a ton of runs on Friday, followed by a sluggish Saturday of offense.  Along with UK Baseball talk, Kearns provides some interesting information on the Major Leagues, like…

—  The difference between playoff baseball and regular season baseball.

—  The most difficult outfields in Major League Baseball.

—  FIGHTS!!!!!

—  Are the Reds rebuilding the right way?

—  In the box vs. Aroldis Chapman.

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.