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Kentucky’s winning streak was extended to seven games after sweeping a doubleheader against Murray State on Tuesday. The second game of the doubleheader was added as a makeup for canceled games last week. Coach Gary Henderson went with two freshman in Zach Logue and Brad Schaenzer to start the games. The string of successful starting pitching continued as Logue and Schaenzer put together fantastic games.
Kentucky’s offense struck early in game one to take some pressure off of Logue in his first career start at UK. Zach Arnold, Connor Heady and Kyle Barrett all drove in runs with two outs in the second inning to give the Cats an early 3-0 lead. An RBI double by Evan White in the fourth inning would push the lead to 4-0. That would be more than enough for Logue. The lefty struck out seven batters and allowed only one run over 6.2 innings. “I was a little nervous going out there in the first inning, but we put up a three spot in the bottom of the second to help me relax,” said Logue. “I really focused on throwing strikes, getting ahead, and keeping the ball down.” Andrew Nelson came on to finish the final 2.1 innings and wrap up a 4-1 win for Kentucky.
Game two began in just over forty minutes after game one. Coach Henderson sent Schaenzer out to make his first career start. Just like Logue, Schaenzer did not disappoint. In a much-needed spot start, Schaenzer threw five innings and allowed only one run. He left with the game tied at one in the sixth inning. The game remained tied until the seventh inning when Arnold stepped to the plate with Heady on second. Arnold delivered a clutch RBI double to score Heady and give Kentucky a 2-1 lead. JaVon Shelby later drove in pinch runner Troy Squires and scored himself on a wild pitch. After all was said and done, Kentucky claimed a 4-1 lead going into the eighth. Murray State showed they still had fight in the top of the eighth when the Racers’ Tyler Lawrence singled home two runs. Logan Salow retired the final five batters after the Lawrence single to collect a save and lock up a 4-3 win.
The two games were won in large part by Logue and Schaenzer. After a weekend of impressive starts from the top of the rotation, the Cats showed they have the ability to win games with their weekday starters. “The thing I see is you got two freshman who go out and one got six and two-thirds and the other got five,” said Henderson. “The last six starts we’ve had we’ve had guys go into the fifth.” Along with the success on the mound, Barrett has shown great improvement at the leadoff position. In the doubleheader, Barrett collected four hits and reached scoring position four times. Barrett has two or more hits in 10 of the 12 games this season and an overall hit steak of 10 games. This comes as a nice addition to Kentucky’s offense after Barrett struggled near the end of last season. Barrett had to make adjustments and forget about last season. “I think he is concentrating at a high level, he is certainly getting a lot of hits,” said Henderson. “The game presents plenty of failure for everybody, so far when it hasn’t gone his way he has handled it really well.”
The two wins over Murray State extended Kentucky’s winning streak to seven games. The Cats play Massachusetts on Friday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. First pitch is slated at 4 E.T.
Big news coming out today for the UK Hoops team, four of their players have been named to All-SEC teams. Makayla Epps was named First-Team All-SEC, Jen O’Neill was named Second-Team All-SEC and Sixth Woman of the year, Linnae Harper was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team, and finally, Alexis Jennings was named to the All-Freshman team.
This is the first time that Makayla Epps has been given a conference post season honor and is the first Kentucky lady to be named to the first team since A’dia Mathies did it two years ago. She has also been named to the Nancy Lieberman Award watch list which is an award given every year to the nation’s top point guard.
Linnae Harper is the fourth different player in five years to be named to the All-Defensive team. She joins the ranks of Victoria Dunlap, A’Dia Mathies, and Samarie Walker.
Jen O’Neill is the first woman in conference history to be named the Sixth Woman of the Year back-to-back. She also won the award last season. Alexis Jennings has been averaging 7.8 ppg and 3.9 rpg and was named SEC Freshman of the Week twice this season.
Kentucky’s next game will be in the SEC Tournament on Thursday at 9:30 pm, where they will face the winner of the Vandy/Bama game. That will be broadcasted on the SEC Network. Here is the full list of SEC Honors if you are interested:
First Team All-SEC: Makayla Epps (Kentucky), Danielle Ballard (LSU), Tia Faleru (Ole Miss), Tiffany Mitchell (S.Car), Aleighsa Welch (S.Car), A’ja Wilson (S.Car), Cierra Burdick (Tennessee), Isabelle Harrison (Tennessee), Courtney Walker (A&M)
Second Team All-SEC: Jessica Jackson (Arkansas), Jen O’Neill (Kentucky), Jordan Frericks (Mizzou), Martha Alwal (Miss. St.), Victoria Vivians (Miss. St.), Alaina Coates (S.Car), Jordan Jones (A&M), Courtney Williams (A&M)
All-Freshman: Haley Lorenzen (Florida), Mackenzie Engram (UGA), Alexis Jennings (Kentucky), A’Queen Hayes (Ole Miss), Victoria Vivians (Miss. St.), Morgan Williams (Miss. St.), A’ja Wilson (S.Car), Rebekah Dahlman (Vandy)
All-Defensive: Linnae Harper (Kentucky), Danielle Ballard (LSU), Martha Alwal (Miss. St.), Alaina Coates (S.Car), Jordan Jones (A&M)
Co-Coaches of the Year: Vic Shaefer (Miss. St.), Dawn Staley (S.Car)
Player of the Year: Tiffany Mitchell (S.Car)
Defensive Player of the Year: Jordan Jones (A&M)
6th Woman of the Year: Jennifer O’Neill (Kentucky)
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Aleighsa Welch (S.Car)
Following the cancellation of their first four home games, Kentucky traveled to Port Charlotte for the Snowbird Classic. The impromptu trip went well for the Cats. Kentucky’s starting pitching led the team to four wins in three days to boost the team’s record to 7-3.
Friday 2/27 Nebraska-Omaha vs Kentucky
The Snowbird Classic began with a thriller on Friday with Kentucky squaring off against Nebraska-Omaha. Dustin Beggs gave his best performance of the season for Kentucky. Beggs allowed seven hits and one run over 7.1 innings while striking out five. Ka’ai Tom and Storm Wilson provided RBIs to leave Beggs in line for the win as he exited the game with a 2-1 lead. Nebraska-Omaha jumped on relievers Logan Salow and Spencer Jack in the top of the eighth. By the time the half inning was over, Kentucky trailed 5-2. Needing a late inning rally, the Cats’ offense pounced in the bottom of the ninth. Lead by a two-RBI single from Kyle Barrett, Kentucky tied the game at 5. After back-to-back rallies from, the teams battled until the fourteenth inning. After Brad Schaenzer shut down the Nebraska-Omaha offense for three innings, Kentucky broke through. Thomas Bernal singled home Storm Wilson in the bottom of the fourteenth to win the game 6-5. The win was Coach Gary Henderson’s 200th at Kentucky.
Saturday 2/28 Kentucky vs Nebraska-Omaha
In the first game of a doubleheader, Kyle Cody nearly made history for the Cats. The junior struck out nine and walked one over seven no-hit innings on Saturday morning. Two innings away from the program’s first no-hitter since 1974, Henderson went to the bullpen. Bo Wilson was brought into to finish the game after Cody hit his pitch count. Wilson allowed a hit to begin the eighth inning to end the no-hitter. On the offensive side, Barrett had four hits while Connor Heady hit his first career home run. Tom and Bernal knocked in two runs apiece to aid to a 5-1 win. The story of the game was Cody. In front of dozens of MLB scouts, Cody threw in the high nineties on his fastball while demonstrating devastating breaking balls on his way to retiring the final 15 batters he faced.
Saturday 2/28 Northeastern vs Kentucky
For the third straight game, Kentucky’s starting pitching was the story to begin the game. Zack Brown pitched a career-high six innings and struck out five batters. Following Brown’s exit, Northeastern came back to tie the game in the top of the eighth. Just like the day before, Kentucky’s offense responded. Evan White reached first on a throwing error and advanced to second on a bunt from Dorian Hairston. Opening Day Hero Greg Fettes singled through the right side to advance White to third and a throwing error brought him home. Jack shut down the Northeastern offense in the ninth to finish off a 5-4 win for Kentucky.
Sunday 3/1 Mount St. Mary’s vs Kentucky
Just like Brown, Robert Zeigler fired a career high in innings and strikeouts at the Snowbird Classic. Zeigler’s six strikeouts over five innings paced an 8-2 win for Kentucky. Kentucky got two RBIs apiece from Barrett and Riley Mahan. Tom continued his hot start with two hits and an RBI.
The four games were a great way to show off the talent Kentucky has in their lineup. Along with the consistent hitting of Tom, Kyle Barrett became a manimal. Kentucky’s leadoff man collected 10 hits in the four game series, including four against Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday. The shortstop position also added a much-needed punch to the lineup. Heady hit his first career home run and Mahan proved he has the offensive ability to perform at a high level this season. The offensive firepower gave the starting pitching some insurance. The four starters acted as if it were not necessary, throwing gem after gem this weekend.
Kentucky will take on Murray State in a doubleheader on Tuesday beginning at 1:30 at Cliff Hagan Stadium.
UK RHP Kyle Cody named Louisville Slugger National Player of Week by Collegiate Baseball and Co-Pitcher of Week by SEC. 7 no-hit innings Sat
— Big Blue Insider (@bigblueinsider1) March 2, 2015
Junior pitcher Kyle Cody was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week. Cody struck out nine and walked one in seven no-hit innings against Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday. If not for a pitch count, Cody would have had the opportunity to finish Kentucky’s first no-hitter since 1974. Cody appeared to find his groove after his first two games where he allowed seven runs in seven innings. Cody’s dominating performance on Saturday lowered his ERA to 4.50 and gave him 18 strikeouts in only 14 innings. Cody is rated as the fourth best 2015 MLB Draft Prospect in the SEC by Baseball America.
Look for Cody to make his home debut this Saturday against Massachusetts at noon. The game will be available on SEC Network Plus.
In what was arguably the most important game of the season for the UK Hoops team so far, Kentucky defeated South Carolina today in Memorial Coliseum, 67-56. Not only did today’s game close the regular season and give the seniors a night to remember but it was the first time in program history that the Cats have brought down a #2 ranked team. This victory had not only be sweet for the seniors, but also for Janee Thompson, who had her season-ending injury earlier in the year against the Gamecocks.
In the first half, Kentucky jumped out to an early two point lead with a tip-in by senior Azia Bishop. From there, both Kentucky and South Carolina went on almost five minute scoring droughts. Kentucky’s drought ended on a layup by Bria Goss, giving the Cats a four point lead over the Gamecocks. After back-to-back plays by South Carolina after the 11:44 media timeout, they took the lead and extended it to six before a three pointer by Kyvin Goodin-Rogers swang the momentum in Kentucky’s favor. After a jumper by Makayla Epps and a layup by Azia Bishop in the closing seconds of the half, Kentucky went into halftime with the five point lead, 27-22. From there, the Cats never looked back.
Makayla Epps shot a slick jumper and a pair of free throws in the opening two minutes of the second half to bring the Cats’ lead to seven. South Carolina didn’t score a field goal in the first 8 minutes of the half, giving Kentucky the opportunity to extend that lead to seventeen before USC’s A’ja Wilson tipped one in for the Gamecocks, but Jen O’Neill and Kyvin Goodin-Rogers had the answers. At 12:17, Jen O’Neill shot a jumper and twenty seconds later, Goodin-Rogers made another three pointer to hammer the proverbial nail into South Carolina’s coffin. The Gamecocks didn’t want to give up and managed to go on a little run to cut UK’s lead to seven. But after back-to-back layups by Makayla Epps and Linnae Harper in the final two minutes, Kentucky took the eleven point victory, 67-56.
Kentucky had three players end the game in double digit scoring: Jenn O’Neill with 15 points (8 rebounds, 3 assists), Makayla Epps with 14, and Azia Bishop, who ended one rebound shy of a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds. Neither team was really stellar from the field; Kentucky only went 19-60 (31.7%) and 2 for 13 from three point range. South Carolina didn’t do much better; 20-62 from the field (32.2%) and 27.3 from the three point line.
“It was a great victory for us. I’m proud of our team and I’m especially proud of the seniors,” Matthew Mitchell said after the game. “Sometimes life doesn’t work out where people get what they deserve, and this game was going to be hard to win (…), but I’m so proud of (the seniors) and what they’ve done. This is just icing on the cake, to get the victory. Their memory of senior day will be something to remember.”
Not only was this win important for the four Kentucky seniors, but it also gives the Cats tremendous momentum going into the SEC Tournament. Kentucky is the sixth seed in the tournament and will play the winner of the Vanderbilt/ Alabama game on Thursday night at 9:30. The Cats’ bracket has the third seeded Mississippi State and the second seeded Tennessee in it as well. Kentucky’s game on Thursday will be broadcasted on the SEC Network.
If your curious, here is the full bracket (click to enlarge):
At the end of tonight’s HUGE win for Matthew Mitchell and his UK Hoops team over #2 ranked South Carolina, Mitchell took a late timeout to take out his Seniors and give them an ovation. It is a common thing to do on Senior Day and should have been cause for no concern. But South Carolina coach Dawn Staley didn’t seem to agree and as you can see here, spent a few seconds with her hands in the air and then yelled “That’s Bullsh**” in the direction of Mitchell. Not her finest moment I would say.
By Miss J.C. Ausmus on ©March 01st, 2015 @ 4:57pm
It’s senior day here in Memorial Coliseum! The Cats look to end their regular season with a win over second ranked South Carolina, who they lost to earlier this season in Columbia, 68-60.
You may remember that the last time these two teams met is when Janee Thompson went down with her season-ending injury. Matthew Mitchell was ejected from that game as well.
The Cats ended their three game losing skid Thursday against Jimmy Dykes’ Arkansas team, 56-51, holding the Hogs to a season-low 26.8 shooting percentage. Azia Bishop led the Cats in scoring Thursday night with 12, followed by 11 points each from Bria Goss and Jen O’Neill.
The Gamecocks are playing for their second straight out-right SEC regular season title and a perfect in-conference season. South Carolina defeated #11 Mississippi State Thursday 69-50; Tiffany Mitchell led the team with 16 points while A’ja Wilson tallied seven rebounds.
Kentucky just now became a lock for the sixth seed in the SEC tournament with a win for LSU over Texas A&M. The Cats will play the winner of the 11 vs. 14 seed game Thursday night at approximately 9:30 pm. More details will come about that game later on.
Memorial Coliseum is officially sold out this afternoon, so if you don’t already have tickets you’ll want to tune into ESPN2, or you can always hear Neil Price call the action on the UK Sports Network. Tip is set for 5 pm. Austin and I will be here throughout the game bringing you our thoughts on all the action.
Final: Austin: Kentucky held on to a ten-point lead with just under four minutes remaining, despite missing their last eleven shots at the time. A Makayla Epps layup, followed by a no-look pass from Bria Goss to Linnae Harper, extended Kentucky’s lead to fourteen with just over a minute left in the game, putting a dagger in the hearts of the Gamecocks. Memorial was as loud as ever tonight during this historic win, with fans on their feet for the final three or four minutes. Matthew Mitchell brings the seniors off for the last time with seven seconds left, and shared an emotional moment with them in front of the fans at midcourt afterwards. Kentucky hands no. 2 South Carolina their first conference loss of the season, 67-56.
Second Half 4:47: Austin: After trailing by more than 20, the Gamecocks hit back-to-back three pointers to cut the lead to 11 at the seven-minute mark. Kentucky hitting one of their last ten, combined with South Carolina hitting seven of their last nine is a large part of the reason USC was able to go on the 10-0 run. Although she’s only 2-8 from the floor, Epps has made 8-9 free throws, second on the team with 12 points. After a strong first half, Azia Bishop has disappeared for most of the second, mostly due to foul trouble, failing to score until hitting a pair of free throws with just over five minutes left. Bishop, Jennings, and O’Neill all have four fouls apiece. USC star Tiffany Mitchell has fouled out with eight points and four rebounds. UK leads 57-47.
Second Half 10:13: J.C.: Coming out of the 15:38 media timeout, Alexis Jennings extended the Wildcats’ lead to twelve which started a little run for the Cats. After a turnover by Tiffany Mitchell, Linnae Harper layed it in at 13:30 giving Kentucky a fifteen point lead over the Gamecocks. Right now, South Carolina is doing absolutely nothing offensively. At the 12:48 mark they had made no field goals so far in the half, giving the Cats to lead by at-most seventeen points. At the 11:56 mark, Alyssa Rice fell to the floor in what appeared was a leg cramp and was helped off by Coach Mitchell and members of the staff; she returned a few minutes later. Azia Bishop, who has played so well tonight with 9 points and 8 rebounds is currently on the bench with 3 fouls. Jen O’Neill is also in foul trouble with 4. Kentucky is absolutely dominating the #2 team in the nation. If you aren’t watching… get yourself in front of a TV now! Kentucky leads, 50-34.
Second Half: 15:38: Austin: Freshman Alexis Jennings returned to start the second half in place of Jelléah Sidney. Makayla Epps has come out of the locker room aggressive. After posting up for a turnaround jumper in the lane, she was then able to come up with a steal on the other end of the floor, leading to her drawing a shooting foul, where she sank both free throws. The foul situation for both teams will be something to keep an eye on: Jennifer O’Neill has three, and four other Wildcats have two, while South Carolina’s backup point guard, Bianca Cuevas has four. USC’s Tiffany Mitchell leads the SEC in scoring, but has been held to just six points on 2-6 shooting so far tonight. Kentucky extends their lead to 10, 35-25.
HALF TIME: J.C.: South Carolina tied the game 20-20 with a little over three minutes to go in the half. With that said with a little over four minutes left, the Gamecocks had only made one of their last five field goals. After a media timeout at 2:43, Kyvin Goodin-Rogers went 1-2 at the free throw line to give Kentucky a momentary one point lead. Azia Bishop is playing really well today. She is on her way to a double-double and currently leads UK in scoring and rebounds with 9 and 7 respectively. Makayla Epps gave Kentucky the three point lead and got Memorial on their feet with only 26 seconds left, and on the next play Jen O’Neill stole it out from under USC’s Asia Dozier’s nose to give Azia Bishop the opportunity to give Kentucky the five point lead going into the half. Both teams are shooting 29% from the field. Once again, Cats lead 27-22.
First Half: 4:00: Austin: Coach Mitchell has continued to focus on Azia Bishop when Kentucky has the ball, allowing her to decide whether to drive or hand off to one of the guards after receiving the ball around the free-throw line. Unfortunately she’s only been able to hit one of her six field goals so far, but that’s not including the two times she’s been sent to the charity stripe, where she’s hit 3-4. Jelléah Sidney and Alexis Jennings will likely spend the remainder of the half on the bench, both with two fouls. A three pointer by Kyvin Goodin-Rogers, followed by a Linnae Harper layup on the next possession gave UK the lead again, only the second lead change of the game. Kentucky’s defense has been strong this afternoon, forcing eight turnovers, compared to their three. Cats lead 20-18.
First Half 9:30: J.C.: Memorial is absolutely rocking today, but neither of these teams have been able to buy a bucket in the last five minutes of play. After the first media timeout, South Carolina went on a six minute scoring drought while Kentucky went four minutes without a point themselves. The drought was ended by a steal and run away layup by Bria Goss at the 12 minute mark, giving Kentucky a 4 point lead over the Gamecocks. But, coming out of a time-out, South Carolina finally ended their own scoring drought with a tipin by A’ja Wilson, cutting the Cats’ lead to two. They took the lead on their next possession with a three pointer by Tiffany Mitchell. Again, South Carolina scored on the next possession when Bianca Cuevas drained a three pointer to extend the lead, 11-7.
First Half 15:52: Austin: Makayla Epps joined the four seniors on the floor to start the game. We haven’t seen senior Jennifer O’Neill start in a while, as Matthew Mitchell usually likes to use her as an offensive spark off the bench. Kentucky looks to be emphasizing the inside with Azia Bishop taking four shots in the first two and a half minutes. Bishop also has 5 rebounds (2 offensive) and an assist so far. South Carolina has not been outrebounded yet this season, but the Wildcats have five more than the Gamecocks already. Kentucky leads at the first media timeout, 5-3.
Five Minutes Until Tip: J.C.: We just finished up the Senior Day ceremony here in Memorial. It’s always neat to watch the players’ reaction when My Old Kentucky Home is played and today was no exception. We can’t even begin to tell you guys what these four seniors have meant to this program. This senior class composed of Azia Bishop, Jen O’Neill, Bria Goss, and Jelleah Sidney have won an SEC Championship, been to the Elite Eight, and Sweet Sixteen. Another tidbit of information is that Matthew Mitchell came out with the players for their pre-game warmups; it’s the first time I have ever seen him do that. I think he really wants to win this game for the seniors. What is usually a casual shoot-around 20 minutes before the game looked like a legit practice. This team looks ready to rumble. Tip is coming up shortly. Follow along with Austin and I on twitter while you wait (@armonnett & @JC_KSR).
By Aaron Perkins on ©March 01st, 2015 @ 11:00am
The Kentucky men’ and women’s track teams competed at the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships over the weekend, which was held at Kentucky’s own Nutter Fieldhouse. The women finished 4th overall with 76 total points, which was their second highest in school history. The men finished 12th with 22 total points. Just to compare, the men finished last year’s SEC championships with 69.33 points.
The highlight of the weekend came from Keni Harrison, who broke her own 60m hurdles record with a time of 7.92. She also helped the 4x400m relay team bring home the silver medal in a time of 3:31.52.
Sha’Keela Saunders and Kenyattia Hackworth won the gold and silver medals in the long jump. Saunders posted the 2nd best jump in the NCAA with a distance of 21-feet 6 inches/ 6.55 meters.
Also for the women, Rebecca Famurewa brought home the bronze in the weight throw, with a throw of 70’7.25″/21.52.
Morganne Phillips placed 4th in the 400m dash with a time of 52.69.
Keffri Neal won the bronze in the 800m in a time of 1:48.79.
While the men did not perform up to coach Floreal’s standards, there was a finished that should be noted. Tim Duckworth made the SEC All-Freshman team with a 5th place finish in the heptathlon.
By Kendall Mayfield on ©February 28th, 2015 @ 8:36pm
Kentucky is now 13-3 after a 5-1 victory over Tennessee Tech to start the day and a 10-0 success to finish it off. This game marked the 498 and 499 win in the program history and allowed the team to prove their talents. In the first game, Kara Howard led offensively by going 2-for-3 and picking up two RBI. Griffin Joiner also had a notable game going 1-for-1 and gaining two RBI. Breanne Ray had a hit and RBI and Sylver Samuel, Nikki Sagermann, Maisie Steed, and Rachael Metzger each had hits. Defensively, Kelsey Nunley tossed seven innings and only allowed one run on five hits and five strikeouts. The win made her 5-1 so far with a 1.97 ERA.
The talented team did not stop there. They achieved an even better second game with four home runs. Metzger added a RBI single to her record and went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run. Christian Stokes went 1-for-3 with two runs and two RBI, Samuel was 2-for-4 with a triple and RBI, and Joiner was 2-for-3 with a home and three RBI. Darington Richardson also had a single and a run. Meagan Prince pitched all five innings of the game and pitched her first shutout to move 7-2 for the season with a 2.20 ERA.
The two victories mark the end of non-conference play for the early season. Tune in to watch the Wildcats take on Texas A&M next weekend.
The 13th ranked UK Hoops led for all but the first 45 seconds of the game. After leading by as many as 17 points, Arkansas had the lead down to one possession under 20 seconds to go, but Kentucky held off the run and leaves Fayetteville with a 56-51 win.
The weather kept the crowd down to a minimum for Arkansas’ senior night, maybe the reason for the slow start by the Razorbacks. After Arkansas scored the first basket of the game, UK went on a 13-0 run, followed by a 9-point run shortly after. Kentucky had a seventeen-point lead with a little over seven minutes left in the first half. Bria Goss hit her first four shots of the game, accounting for 9 of the teams’ first 14 points. On the other hand, Arkansas’ Kelsey Brooks and Jessica Jackson struggled early, a combined 2-18 from the field, while they as a team hit only 3 of their first 23 shots.
In his first season as head coach, former Kentucky assistant and ESPN analyst, Jimmy Dykes, desperately needed to pick up a win in order for his team to have a shot at making the NCAA tournament. Knowing what’s at stake, Arkansas made a 9-0 run of their own, cutting the Kentucky lead to just three under two minutes remaining in the first half.
The first ten minutes of the second half mostly featured Arkansas eliminating the lead, with UK matching it every time. At the 8:11 mark, senior Kelsey Bowen was carried off the floor after rolling her ankle. Kentucky was already on a 6-0 run when this occurred, and after the injury took even more momentum from Arkansas, Kentucky extended the lead to 11 with about five minutes to go.
But Arkansas wouldn’t go away. Azia Bishop, the teams’ leading scorer tonight, picked up her fourth foul by running into a player 50 feet from the basket with just under two minutes left. Kelsey Bowen, who taped up and returned, about twelve seconds later draws Bishop’s fifth foul while hitting a basket down low. Bowen banks in the free throw, cutting UK’s lead to just two, and it looked like everything was going Arkansas’ way. After Linnae Harper missed the front end of the first shot on the bonus, Arkansas had the ball with 30 seconds left and a chance to tie. They weren’t able to get a shot off, though, as Bria Goss comes up with a huge steal and layup with 15 seconds left on the clock to seal the victory.
Azia Bishop lead the way, scoring 12 points on 6-8 shooting, also grabbing 6 rebounds and 2 blocks before fouling out. Makayla Epps, returning from her Achilles injury, was, as expected, a step slow. Although she struggled shooting (2-7), she had 4 of the teams’ 5 assists (0 TO). Other main contributors in the game include Jennifer O’Neill and Bria Goss, who combined for 22 points and 13 rebounds, as well as Linnae Harper with 8 points, 7 rebounds.
With just one match remaining in the regular season, Kentucky trails Mississippi State by one game for the four-seed in the SEC tournament. While Mississippi State plays a very winnable game against an unranked Ole Miss team, UK will host #2 South Carolina. In order for Kentucky to grab the last double-bye of the tournament, Matthew Mitchell may need to pick up the biggest win of his career. Tonight’s win gives Kentucky their twentieth win of the season, snapping a three-game losing skid. Come out and send off the four seniors in Memorial Coliseum at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Two days after postponing Wednesday’s game against Morehead State, Kentucky canceled their opening home series against Canisius. The freezing temperatures in Lexington will not be on the team’s mind as they travel to Port Charlotte instead of staying home. Kentucky will play four games in three days at the Snowbird Classic held in Port Charlotte. The weekend begins with a 10:30 a.m first pitch against Nebraska-Omaha on Friday followed by a doubleheader the next day against Nebraska-Omaha and Northeastern. Kentucky will finish the weekend against Mount St. Mary’s at 2:30 on Sunday. After moving the first four home games of the season, Kentucky is scheduled to open at home on March 3rd against Murray State at 4 p.m.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) February 25, 2015
For more information on this weekend, follow @TreyHuntsmanKSR
It was a tough four-game road trip for the Wildcats at USC and 16th ranked UC Santa Barbara. However, the team salvaged a victory knocking off UCSB 12-7 in the series finale to head back to the Bluegrass with a 3-3 overall record. Here’s a game-by-game breakdown of the weekend…
Thursday, February 19, @ USC, L 5-2
Of the three losses, this one hurt the most. Freshman phenom first baseman, Evan White, gave UK an early lead with his first career home run, a solo blast in the third inning. The defense did all it could to suppress the Trojan offense, including two ridiculous catches in left field by Ka’ai Tom (he is my way-too-early team MVP), but the Cats’ starting pitcher, Dustin Beggs, was pulled in the fifth inning after a two-run homer gave USC the lead. The Cats managed to get hits but ultimately left too many runners stranded. Of note, junior center fielder Kyle Barrett tied his career high with three hits in the game and looks to be flourishing in his role as the leadoff man.
Friday, February 20, @ UCSB, L 10-3
Junior righty Kyle Cody did not have his best stuff and the Gauchos jumped all over him early and often. UCSB tallied seven earned runs on six hits in the first three innings as Cody’s second start of the season was short lived. UK turned to its bullpen to stop the bleeding and relievers Matt Snyder, Ryne Combs, and Brad Schaenzer did not allow any runs in five of the remaining six innings. Gaucho starting pitcher Shane Bieber was not overwhelming, allowing nine hits over the course of eight innings, but the Cats could not manufacture runs. Barrett, Tom, and catcher Zach Arnold were responsible for seven of the Cats’ 10 hits.
Saturday, February 21, @ UCSB, L 11-0
The Cats needed to bring their A game in this one, but were ultimately overmatched by UCSB’s All-American starting pitcher Dillon Tate. In seven innings of work Tate allowed just four hits, zero runs, and struck out nine batters. UK’s pitching struggled to keep this one close, as Zack Brown made his first start of the 2015 season. Sophomore second baseman JaVon Shelby and Barrett each had multi-hit games for the Wildcats.
Sunday, February 22, @UCSB, W 12-7
JaVon Shelby led the way for the Cats in the series finale with a career-high four RBI game, including a three-run bomb in the first inning. The fast start continued with UK plating three more runs in the top of the third to gain a 6-0 advantage. Sophomore right fielder Storm Wilson had four hits on the day, a career-high, as the offense never let up and added six more runs in the final six innings. Junior pitcher Dylan Dwyer picked up the win for the Cats, throwing 3.1 solid innings in relief of starter Logan Salow. Zach Strecker, Andrew Nelson, Zach Logue, and Spencer Jack also shared time on the mound to secure the W.
The Road Ahead
The Cats will stay in Lexington for their next 10 games, beginning this weekend as the team plays host to Canisius in a three-game series at Cliff Hagan Stadium. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m. ET on Friday, weather permitting. Games versus Murray State, Wright State, UMass, and Cincinnati follow.
#UKbaseball has postponed its home lidlifter vs. Morehead State, orginally scheduled for Wednesday. It will be rescheduled at a later date.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) February 24, 2015
Kentucky’s home opener against Morehead State has been postponed to a later date. The game was originally scheduled at 4 p.m on Wednesday but the recent weather conditions in Lexington will push it back. The new home opener is scheduled to be against Canisius at 4 p.m on Friday. Let’s hope mother nature doesn’t interfere.
By Miss J.C. Ausmus on ©February 23rd, 2015 @ 9:47pm
The #13 UK Hoops team lost their third straight game tonight against the Ole Miss Rebels, 67-59. In a game that was tied 11 times with 13 lead changes, Kentucky had three players score in double figures: Jen O’Neill with 13, Alexis Jennings with 10, and Linnae Harper with another double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds). Tonight was “Tickled Pink at the Tad Pad” night in Oxford; Ole Miss’s version of Kentucky’s pink game to bring awareness to the Play4Kay movement and breast cancer awareness. In their last meeting on January 4th, Kentucky scraped out the win in a tough game in Memorial Coliseum, 64-58 where Linnae Harper got a double-double (12 pts, 14 rebounds).
Kentucky started the first half with a huge jumper from Jen O’Neill to grab the two point lead. At the first media timeout, O’Neill had all of Kentucky’s eight points in the tied game. Ole Miss did a great job in forcing Kentucky into turnovers- the Cats had six turnovers in the first five minutes of the game. After a four minute scoring drought with none of their last five field goals made, Linnae Harper drove to the basket and gave Kentucky a 10-8 lead, but on the next play, the Rebels’ Gracie Frizzell drained her second three pointer of the night to give Ole Miss the one point advantage. After a bit of back and forth lead changes, a three pointer by Alexis Jennings gave Kentucky a four point lead, her tenth three pointer of the season. After Ole Miss’s leading scorer, Tia Faleru (14.8 ppg, 10.7 rpg) tied the game at 6:54, 15-15, from the charity stripe, back to back plays from Harper jumped the Cats back out to the five point lead. After the under-four media timeout, the Lady Rebs went on a little run to take the three point lead, accented by Frizzel’s third three pointer of the first half. After back to back plays by Harper and O’Neill, the Wildcats regained the one point lead and a put back by Alexis Jennings brought it to three with only fourteen seconds left in the half. A three pointer by Mississippi’s Gracie Frizzell tied the game at the buzzer, 29-29. In the first half, Kentucky shot 33.3% from the field while holding the Rebels to 29%. This half featured 6 ties and 10 lead changes with Ole Miss forcing 8 turnovers on the Cats, converting 4 points off of them. Kentucky led the rebounding battle, 25-21 and scored 15 points in the paint to Ole Miss’s 8. Frizzell lead all scorers with 12, with Kentucky’s Jen O’Neill not far behind with 10. Makayla Epps left midway through the first half with pain in her Achilles, something which has been bothering her most of the season.
In the second half, Tia Faleru quickly jumped the Rebels out to a two point lead only fifty seconds in with a pair of foul shots after an Azia Bishop foul. After Bria Goss drove to the basket to tie the game, Danielle McCray layed it up for Ole Miss to once again bring their lead to two. Kentucky went on a 0 for 4 drought for a minute and a half, giving the Rebs the opportunity to take the five point lead, before Harper put on her three goggles to bring their lead back down to two. Makayla Epps did return to the game, however, she remained scoreless until 2:11 left in the game when she knocked down a shot from the charity stripe (her only point in the game). After a little back and forth scoring, Ole Miss managed to extend their lead to four after Frizzell knocked down a 3 pointer. A layup by Azia Bishop tied the game, only for Tia Faleru to give the two point lead back to the Rebels on the next play at 7:55, 52-50. Ole Miss’s Erika Sisk fouled out at the 4:23 mark after scoring ten points and tallying eight assists. Kentucky almost went without point from the field for the last seven minutes of the game until Harper layed it up at the 50 second mark. McCray extended the Rebs lead to six with under three minutes left in the game, but Faleru fouled out at the 1:45 mark giving Harper the chance to knock Mississippi’s lead to six. A pair of free throws from Amber Singletary sealed the deal for the Rebels to give former Kentucky assistant coach Matt Insell’s Ole Miss squad the win, 67-59. Ole Miss shot 37% from the field (shooting 45% in the second half vs. UK’s 31%) while holding the Cats to 32% for the game. The Rebels also out-rebounded the Cats, 49-46.
Kentucky will now look to pick up the pieces in Thursday’s game against Arkansas in Fayetteville. After defeating LSU yesterday 63-41, the Razorbacks are currently sitting 16-10 on the season and 6-8 in the conference. Sophomore guard Kelsey Brooks leads the Razorbacks in scoring with 15 ppg. In their last meeting, a little over a year ago in Lexington, UK beat Arkansas by ten, 68-58. Tip for Thursday’s game is set for 8 pm est, and will be streamed on the SEC Network+. If you, like myself, don’t get that stream from your cable provider, you can always tune into the UK Sports Network to hear Neil Price call the action. The Cats will be back in Memorial for Senior Day to honor Jen O’Neill, Jelleah Sidney, Bria Goss, and Azia Bishop on March 1st in a rematch against South Carolina at 5 pm. According to UK Athletics, tickets are still available, head over here to find out how to get ‘em. Come out and give your seniors a proper send-off and show your appreciation for all that they have done for the program over the last four years.
Go Cats, Go Seniors.
UK Hoops lost a third consecutive game tonight, this time at Ole Miss, coached by former UK assistant Matt Insell. Matthew Mitchell’s squad shot 32 percent from the field in the 67-59 loss in Oxford. Makayla Epps, the team’s leading scorer, went 0-for-5 from the field.
Kentucky is now 8-6 in SEC play and dropped to sixth in the conference standings. They travel to Arkansas on Thursday, hopefully to break out of this losing skid.