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The Call To The Bullpen, March 5th


UK Athletics

UK Athletics

It was quite a week for UK Baseball as they went 5-0 with three wins over #23 UC Santa Barbara. The Cats outscored their opponents 46-4 as they improved to 7-5 on the season. UK dominated from start to finish this week as they never trailed in any of their five wins. Let’s look back on a big week for Nick Mingione and the Cats.

Weekly Recap

Kentucky 12 Eastern Kentucky 0- The Cats got a nice bounce back win after dropping Sunday’s game to Delaware. Riley Mahan drove in four runs and Brad Schaenzer threw five shutout innings in the win. Five different UK players collected multiple hits against EKU, including Evan White (3/4, HR, 2 RBI, BB).

Kentucky 17 Western Kentucky 2- WKU is always a team that gives UK fits, but not this year. The Cats unleashed a 21-hit beatdown aganst the Toppers on Wednesday night. Mahan had his second straight four-RBI game in the win. Zach Thompson dominated in his second start, going six innings and striking out seven for his first career victory.

Kentucky 2 UCSB 1- Sean Hjelle threw a gem to outduel Noah Davis and the Gauchos. Hjelle struck out a career-high eight in the pitcher’s duel. UK’s two runs in the third inning were enough to finish off UCSB in game one of the series.

Kentucky 3 UCSB 2- In the second of three amazing pitching performances, Zach Logue went seven innings without allowing a run on four hits for the win. Riley Mahan homered to boost the Cats to a series win over the Gauchos.

Kentucky 12 UCSB 1- The BatCats finished off a sweep of #23 UCSB with a dominant performance on both sides of the ball. Justin Lewis retired the first 21 batters of the game and finished it with a line of 8 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 8 K, 0 BB to pick up his first win of the season. Tristan Pompey led the way with three hits and two RBIs as UK’s offense blew away UCSB in the final game of the series.

Notes from the week

It’s hard to pick which pitcher gave the best performance of the week. UK looked like the 2008 Phillies or the 1998 Braves out there this week. No pitcher allowed more than two runs in an outing all week. UK’s pitchers had a WHIP of 0.76 in 45 combined innings. Justin Lewis has now allowed only four baserunners in his last 15 innings and has held opponents to a .119 batting average. As a whole, opponents are hitting .223 against UK to start the season.

The offense has come along nicely in the last week. After scoring double digits twice last week, UK did it three times in five games this week. The Cats outscored their opponents 46-4 and never trailed once in those five games. Everyone has been getting in on the action through 12 games. UK has seven guys hitting .300 or higher, including Evan White and Luke Becker who are hitting above .400.

Mingione is undefeated at home. The Cats went 2-5 on the road to start the season. Since returning home, the Cats have played great baseball. Errors have been at a minimum in the last week and no runner has stolen a base on UK to this point. Mingione’s tactics appear to be working early in the season for every aspect of the game.

Kentucky will play in the 2018 Shriner’s Classic in Houston. Playing in this weekend series will be huge for the program. The Shriner’s Classic is played at the Houston Astros’ ballpark and consists of UK, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Louisiana, Sam Houston State, and Houston. UK will play the latter three on the trip.

Cats in the Pros

Joe Blanton signed a one-year deal with the Nationals this week. The deal is worth four million dollars and will put Blanton on a contender once again. Cardinals pitcher Corey Littrell was suspended in February for 50 games after two positive drug tests. Alex Meyer was rated as the #8 prospect in the Angels system. AJ Reed hit his first dinger of the spring this week.

 

Looking ahead

The BatCats have five more games this week. Beginning with Wright State on Tuesday, UK plays four games at home over the next seven days. The lone road game is Wednesday at Cincinnati. Next weekend, Miami of Ohio comes to town. After starting 0-7, the Redhawks swept Illinois State this weekend. D1 Baseball ranked Miami as the third best team in the MAC entering the season. This is a big week as the Cats try to continue their winning streak and gain some confidence before SEC play begins.

New podcast on Tuesday

We will have our second KSR Baseball Podcast this week. We have a lot to dig into, so check it out on iTunes, the KSR app, or Podbay. Get your questions in for the show with special guest Coach Mingione. 

Article written by Trey Huntsman

Keepin' fresh since '96. I couldn't play baseball, so I write about it to fill the void. Former Tampa Bay Rays Trackman and host of the KSR Baseball Podcast. Follow me on Twitter @TreyHuntsmanKSR.