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UK Hoops and other sports coverage
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 28th, 2015 @ 11:00am
Got plans tonight? Former UK tennis players Eric Quigley and Tom Jomby are both playing in the Kentucky Bank Challenge at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex on UK’s campus. Starting at 7 p.m. ET, Quigley will play France’s Enzo Couacaud, and after that, Jomby will play Brazil’s Guilherme Clezar. Both matches are on court one.
If you just can’t wait until tonight, Jomby and Mark Ein will play doubles against Russian duo Dean O’Brien and Ruan Roelofse around 11:30 p.m. this morning. Not only is Jomby an excellent tennis player and former Wildcat, he’s also a former KSR student intern, so put on your KSR gear and go out and support him. Yes, yelling “BTI sucks” is appropriate.
By Miss J.C. Ausmus on ©July 19th, 2015 @ 9:30pm
Linnae Harper to the rescue. The UK Hoops junior guard propelled the US into the gold medal game of the Pan Am games this afternoon after knocking down a pair of free throws and stealing the ball in the closing seconds of their one point victory over Cuba.
— CBC Sports (@cbcsports) July 19, 2015
After trailing at halftime, 37-26, Harper and Maryland’s Shatori Walker-Kimbrough led the way to a hard fought USA victory with a combined 31 points. Along with her 16 points, UK’s Linnae Harper also contributed four steals, an assist, and a rebound this afternoon.
After Ineidis Casanova put Cuba in front 64-63, with only 13 seconds remaining, Harper drew a foul and saved the game with a pair of clutch free throws and a steal in the final possession.
Team USA will now go for the gold against either Canada or Brazil on Monday at 8:45 pm.
‘Murica for the win.
Memorial Coliseum has to be a tough place to play. The UK Hoops program came in at #7 in average attendance for the 2015 season, with an average of 6,379 fans coming out per game this season. The Cats received their highest attendance ranking since the 1983 season and their 12th straight appearance in the top 25 national attendance average, including two back-to-back seasons in the top ten.
The SEC led the nation in women’s basketball attendance for the first time since 1984, the second time in history a league has gotten over one million fans in the door. It’s the fourth best record by any conference with only the BIG 12 having more in a single season. Nine SEC schools placed in the top 50 for average attendance with four in the top twenty five. South Carolina ranked number one in the nation with an average of 12,293 fans, snapping Tennessee’s eleven straight seasons in the top spot. The Vols came in second at 10,375.
SEC Attendance Rankings:
1. South Carolina
17. Texas A&M
27. Mississippi State
After being selected 73rd overall by the Minnesota Twins, Kyle Cody has declined the option to sign and return to Kentucky for the 2016 season. Cody’s slot was valued at $839, 700 with the Twins.
Cody was the Cats’ Sunday starter and the top MLB Prospect on the 2015 team. With Cody returning, Kentucky will have an excellent rotation with Zack Brown and Dustin Beggs as the other weekend starters. With Kentucky losing Ka’ai Tom and Kyle Barrett in the Draft, along with top recruit Nick Plummer, Cody returning is a huge get for the Cats. Kentucky will have one of the top rotations in the SEC and should compete in the East Division.
— Zack Brown (@ZBrown__33) July 17, 2015
Well it's has been a tough journey, but after its all over I'm headed back to UK next year! BBN be ready for a great season in the bluegrass
— Kyle Cody (@kylecody10) July 17, 2015
Cats in the Majors
Collin Cowgill, Los Angeles Angels- A wrist injury has sidelined Cowgill for over a month, and he will be out a lot longer. The Angels transferred Cowgill to the 60-Day DL from the 15-Day after he began hitting again last week. He can be activated in late July.
Trevor Gott, Los Angeles Angels- Labeled as a “Baby Faced Assassin” by the LA Daily News, Gott allowed his first run last night after nine consecutive scoreless innings to begin his major league career. Gott set the record for consecutive scoreless outings to begin an Angels’ career and is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA this season.
Alex Meyer, Minnesota Twins- The Twins called top prospect Alex Meyer up after being in the minors since 2011. Meyer was moved to the bullpen in his two games with the big league club where he allowed five runs in 2.2 innings. He was sent down to Triple-A yesterday, meaning that the stay was meant to get his feet wet and he will return to the bigs.
Cats in the Minors
Austin Cousino, Clinton Lumberkings– Cousino was rehabbing and playing his first games of the season for the Seattle Mariners’ AZL Team. Through six games, Cousino is batting .429 with four RBIs and six runs. The assignment to the AZL Team was temporary as Cousino is playing in his first games of the season after returning from the disabled list. Cousino was promoted to Clinton yesterday from the Arizona League.
A.J Reed, Lancaster Jethawks– With 21 home runs, Reed is now in second place for the MiLB home run crown. The 2014 Golden Spikes Award Winner put his talent on display when he was the runner up in the California League Home Run Derby last month. Reed is hitting .334 with 75 RBIs and an OBP of .440. He was named to the MLB.com Prospect Team of the Week in June, and is deserving of a promotion to Double-A in the second half of the season.
Corey Littrell, Palm Beach Cardinals- Littrell has been used in different roles for Palm Beach this year, but his current role as ace has been nice. Littrell hasn’t allowed a run in his last two starts and did not walk a batter. In the 11.2 innings he has pitched in his last two games, Littrell has 11 strikeouts and only eight hits allowed.
Logan Darnell, Rochester Red Wings- Similar to Littrell, Darnell has not allowed a run in some time. The last time Darnell allowed a run was June 8th, a string of six consecutive scoreless outings has followed. Last weekend, Darnell struck out six in four innings of relief as he picked up his second win of the season.
Ka’ai Tom, Mahoning Valley Scrappers- Selected by the Indians in the fifth round of last month’s Draft, Tom was assigned to Cleveland’s short season team. Tom reached base in eight of his first nine games and boasts an OBP of .383. On the fourth of July, Tom went 3/4 with an RBI and a stolen base.
Cats in Summer Leagues
JaVon Shelby, Hyannis Harbor Hawks- The Kentucky second baseman is spending his summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League. Shelby is batting .268 with one home run and seven runs batted in. He received praise from Baseball Prospectus’ Al Skorupa earlier this week.
Hyannis/Kentucky sophomore JaVon Shelby one of the most impressive players today. +Athlete. +bat speed
— Al Skorupa (@alskor) June 30, 2015
Riley Mahan, Zach Logue, Brad Schaenzer, Amsterdam Mohawks- All three current Cats are playing for Amsterdam this summer. Schaenzer is filling in nicely at the starter position with a 2.90 ERA in six starts and 31 innings. Logue has seen immense improvement for the Mohawks. He has 29 strikeouts in 33 innings with an ERA of 2.72. Mahan is batting .300 with 11 RBIs and nine stolen bases.
5 Wildcats competed in Eugene, Oregon over the weekend for a shot to make the PanAm Games Team.
Dezerea Bryant was the first to do so, finishing 5th in the 200m dash. Joining her, Kendra Harrison won the silver medal in the 100m hurdles. Continuing the Kentucky success, Sha’keela Saunders finished 5th in the long jump, Jacklyn Howell earned the silver medal in the 100m hurdles, and Andrew Evans finished 3rd in the discus throw. They will compete next month in Edmonton, Canada.
In our past interviews with former Cats in the minor leagues, the players tell us of their long bus rides and quick meals. The story of former Kentucky Pitcher Logan Darnell’s career is not much different but for one much more difficult part. He has to be away for seven months from his mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Darnell is currently with the Rochester Red Wings, the Triple-A Affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Despite being so far from his hometown of Nashville, Darnell made a big impact on the disease that has influenced his family. Darnell organized a jersey auction with the Red Wings. Jerseys designed and paid for by Darnell were worn by the team for Alzheimer’s Awareness Night and auctioned off during the game to benefit awareness in the Rochester Area. “I feel like having the platform of playing in Rochester gave me a good chance to do that and be successful at it,” said Darnell. “It meant a lot that my teammates where able to help and wear the jerseys in honor of people who are affected by the disease and my mother.”
— Rochester Red Wings (@RocRedWings) June 19, 2015
The disease has taken its toll on Darnell and his family since his mother, Caye, was diagnosed in 2012. “The biggest impact is definitely on my dad and brother with them always being home and having to keep tabs on her,” said Darnell. “For me, it’s being gone for seven months and coming back to see the changes she has had since the last time I saw her.” His mother is no longer able to travel to see her son pitch, which is difficult with him making his pro debut last year and being promoted to Minnesota periodically. While he has been in Rochester this year, he grew a bond with the community that led him to connect with the Rochester Alzheimer’s Association and put his plan of raising money into action.
The impact that Alzheimer’s has had on his family led Darnell to put together Alzheimer’s Awareness Night in Rochester. The 26-year old paid for each jersey’s production and design before they were to be auctioned off during the Red Wings’ game against the Louisville Bats on June 19th. Caye was not able to make the trip to Rochester for the special night, but Darnell’s father was on hand to see the event. Rob Darnell threw out the first pitch, with his son as catcher to begin the night.
The jersey auction was a huge success. Darnell had a goal of 5,000 dollars in donations in mind, but that goal was surpassed when the team helped to raise over 7,000 dollars. Darnell’s jersey was bought for 650 dollars, but was donated back to Darnell and his family. Former Kentucky star Alex Meyer’s father donated 500 dollars, along with former Chicago Cubs’ Manager and current Red Wings’ coach Mike Quade donating $500. “I was proud and humbled by how much we were able to raise and help the local chapter in the Finger Lakes, the whole night was a success,” said Darnell.
Following the Red Wings’ 7-3 win, Darnell addressed the fans in attendance and thanked them for their contribution while declaring Rochester as his “second home”. The night was special for Darnell and for the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
— AlzRochesterNY (@AlzRochesterNY) June 20, 2015
Darnell is optimistic about the donations and finding a cure for the disease. ” It’s a tough disease because the mind slips away while the body is perfectly healthy and it’s very expensive to treat and house patients, so helping and funding is critical,” said Darnell. “It is a disease that is very close to being cured and within the next 20 years they are thought to have a cure, so of course donations are great.” Darnell and his family have persevered through this difficult time and have been proactive about his mother’s diagnosis. “Through prayers and learning about the disease we have used our faith to know that God is in control and it will be OK in the end,” said Darnell. “We just try and control what we can and try and make the best of every situation.”
Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Darnell family as Caye fights her battle. Want to help the Rochester Alzheimer’s Association? Join or donate here.
Following his first promotion to the major leagues, Trevor Gott has been phenomenal for the Los Angeles Angels. In five games, Gott has not allowed a run in five innings with no walks and three strikeouts. Gott has worked his way into a spot in the Angels’ bullpen as their 7th inning man. The Angels have been looking throughout the season for someone to fill this void, and Gott’s recent success has led some to believe he may stick in the majors at that spot. He has pitched in the seventh inning in four of his five appearances, and allowed more than one hit only once.
Want to read more on what the Angels have to say about Gott? Click here.
By Drew Franklin on ©June 19th, 2015 @ 7:30pm
Coach Cal surrendered to UK Track & Field coach Edrick Floreal on Twitter tonight, admitting Kentucky is a track school. Cal told Floreal when he arrived in Lexington that UK could be a track school, and tonight he said, “It’s official.”
UK Track has been outstanding under Floreal’s watch. The women recently finished as the NCAA runner-up in a school best finish and Floreal was named Southeast Region Coach of the Year.
Still, “track school” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
By Trey Huntsman on ©June 19th, 2015 @ 11:18am
With all the news facilities for football being unraveled this fall, Mitch Barnhart has announced the next step in UK’s plan to improve athletic facilities. The University is looking to build new facilities for the baseball and tennis programs. Here is the tweet with Barnhart’s quote from today’s University Athletics Committee meeting:
.@UKMitchBarnhart announces UK is pursuing approval to move forward with design of a new baseball stadium and tennis facility.
— Kentucky Athletics (@UKAthletics) June 19, 2015
It is about time that Cliff Hagan Stadium got a few renovations or the program got a new stadium. Looking around the SEC, Kentucky’s baseball facilities fall way short of the rest of the league. Even lowly Tennessee has upgraded their field in the last few years to be a quality place to play. This would be a huge boost to the program if they can gain approval. The K Fund webpage has a digital outline of the proposed baseball stadium that will be adjacent from the soccer complex and softball field.
A.J Reed needs no introduction at this point, so let’s just say what he did this time. Reed hit for the cycle (collecting a single, double, triple and a home run in one game) for High-A Lancaster on Tuesday night. He was the eighth player in Jethawks history to hit for the cycle and the second this year. The home run was his 16th of the year, four more than he had last year in five fewer games. He has a crazy high .424 on-base percentage and has driven in 59 runs. He leads the Jethawks in seven categories, and is second in all of minor league baseball in home runs. A.J has three or more hits in three of the last four games. A promotion to Double-A shouldn’t be that far off for Reed.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 17, 2015
Nice cycle dude! Is there anything that you can't do? Lol @ajreed18UK
— Ka'ai Tom (@Just_Blaze25) June 17, 2015
Kentucky is notorious for producing top pitching prospects. Corey Littrell was a phenomenal starter in his time at UK, and has continued to impress during his time as a professional. Littrell pitched for the Cats from 2011 to 2013. He was a Preseason All-American in 2013 and won the Gold Glove for the Nation’s Top Defensive Pitcher in 2012. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2013 and has since been traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. We caught up with Corey following his game Monday night.
Trey Huntsman: First thing, how has life been after leaving UK and what have been the high points of being in the minors?
Corey Littrell: Its been good, getting a chance to play baseball at the professional level is something I’ve always wanted to do since I was kid and now that I am getting the chance to do that is awesome! Being in the minor leagues is definitely a grind. A lot of bus rides and delivery pizzas for sure. But I cannot complain one bit because I am getting paid to play the game that I love. Some high points from the minor leagues for me personally are, one, getting traded. It was something that I had no idea it would happen but I think for my path to the big leagues it’s a step in the right direction. Not too many people get to say they were the only minor leaguer in a trade with 3 big leaguers. I’ve for sure had my ups and downs in pro ball but overall I am doing pretty well. Just trying to learn as much as I can and keep putting up good numbers so I can get to the big leagues.
Here is an awesome video on Corey living with former teammate J.T Riddle, who plays for the Jupiter Hammerheads of the Marlins’ organization. http://www.milb.com/multimedia/vpp.jsp?content_id=135258083&sid=t279
TH: To focus on the trade, how were you told and how was that process?
CL: I was on the way to the field and it was the trade deadline day. The farm director from the Red Sox was calling me and I thought it was kind of weird that he was calling me and I thought well there is only one reason he’s calling me (I’m getting traded), but I didn’t think that was a realistic possibility. I answered and he told me that I had been traded to the St. Louis Cardinals and my heart dropped because I was so surprised. He told me that I was in a trade with John Lackey for Joe Kelly and Allen Craig and that someone from St. Louis would be calling me soon. Then I called my dad and told him and he couldn’t believe it. The farm director from St. Louis called me and introduced himself and got some info and I was on a plane at 6:30 the next morning and I met the High-A team in Clearwater, FL.
TH: Since coming into the Cardinals’ organization, you have had some success and seen your ERA drop considerably. Are there any pitches you’ve been relying on or what has been crucial in this stretch?
CL: Yeah, I had some shaky starts at the beginning of the year. I had to look back at video from college and the Cape. I was able to make a few adjustments and it really helped me. I was moved to the bullpen a few weeks ago. It took me a couple of outings to get used to but I have since found a routine and things like that to help me. I really like my new role, I’m getting the chance to pitch more often and I don’t have to have the stress of starting. Plus, that is what they want me to do for them, so whatever gets me to the big leagues the fastest is fine by me.
T8 | yes, we're still playing and yes, Corey Littrell is on point. He's struck out 5 in his 3 IP, including the entire 8th inning.
— Palm Beach Cardinals (@GoPBCardinals) June 10, 2015
TH: With changes like that, how do you stay in a positive mindset?
CL: At first, I’m not going to lie, I was a little upset and kind of confused because yes, I wasn’t pitching that good but my previous start was one of my best starts of my life. But I talked to some guys like Scott Downs, Chris Rusin and then Jason Isringhausen and they all told me that it is going to be a great thing for me and I need to embrace it. That I need to become the best lefty out of the pen and thats what I have been challenging myself to do ever since. Hearing stuff from big league guys and plus my dad gave me a lot of confidence and knowing this is what the Cardinals want me to do was positive for me. There is no other choice than to be positive in this game that is filled with negatives.
TH: You’ve mentioned your dad a couple times. How has he helped you grow on and off the field?
CL: He has been very helpful both on and off the field. His experiences in pro ball helped me to understand what I was going to expect when I was drafted and just how minor league baseball is in general. His knowledge of the game also helped me from a very young age because he knew how to teach the game and teach it the right way. Not many player’s parents actually played the game so they had to go take lessons and go to camps and stuff to learn. Both him and my mom did an amazing job as parents and they continue to be.
TH: Changing the subject, what benefits did coming to UK have on you on and off the field?
CL: UK was amazing. Choosing to go to UK instead of signing out of high school (With the Washington Nationals) was one of the best choices of my life. I loved every second of it. Getting the college experience and being able to wear Kentucky on the front of my chest was so much fun. BBN is an honor to be apart of, I get fans all the time that come up to me and say go big blue or they went to UK and they are fans. I come back to UK and Lexington every offseason because I love it so much. Plus, I wear too much red during the season so I need my fix of blue haha.
TH: Top three moments in your time at Kentucky?
CL: Sophomore year being ranked the 1 team in the nation and starting off 22-0, winning a gold glove, and when we won the national championship in basketball, I had won the biggest game in UK baseball history the day before against LSU. That week was awesome
TH: Thanks a lot, Corey. Any parting words for the KSR readers and the BBN?
CL: Just want to thank everyone out there for all the support they give me! Go cats! And Go birds! (St. Louis that is, I’ll never say go cards!)
Want to follow Corey’s career game by game? Click here.
By Aaron Perkins on ©June 14th, 2015 @ 9:00am
Over the weekend, the Kentucky Women’s Track & Field competed at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, finishing with a school record runner-up finish. While seniors Kendra Harrison and Dezerea Bryant highlighted the championships for the Wildcats, as mentioned in posts here and here yesterday, I wanted to shed light on how other Wildcats finished to help lead Kentucky to their best finish in school history.
- Leah Nugent earned the bronze medal in the 400m hurdles with a time of 55.82.
- Keilah Tyson placed 7th in the 100m with a time of 11.21
- Sha’Keela Saunders captured the bronze medal in the long jump with a mark of 22 feet, 1.75in.
- Rebecca Famurewa finished 7th in the discus with a mark of 181’9’’
Again, congratulations to the women as well as the men in their historic seasons. With Coach Edric Floreal behind the helm of Kentucky Track, more great things are sure to come!
The UK Women at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon keep on making their school proud as another National Champion will be returning to Lexington. Dezerea Bryant won the 200m NCAA championship with a time of 22.18 seconds, that’s the third fastest time in the world this year! ESPN profiled Ms. Bryant earlier this year and her story is pretty remarkable. Here’s a bit for you to check out:
On the morning of Feb. 19, 2012, Dezerea Bryant was on her way to the T-Mobile store in Clemson, South Carolina, to replace her cell phone.
The college freshman from Milwaukee was just about to make her purchase when she looked down at her phone and noticed her dad was calling — again. Steve Jenkins Sr. had called multiple times that morning, but she didn’t feel like talking. She assumed he wanted to give her a hard time about how much money she planned to spend on her new phone.
Unfortunately, he was calling for a much more serious reason.
That suspicion crept over her in the store when the number of her mom, Zanetta, popped up a minute later. You don’t just ignore mom’s phone call.
“Antuan got in a car accident, and he … ” her mom started to say.
“Are you sure?” Bryant asked.
She hung up, put down the phone she planned to buy and immediately broke down.
She later found out that her brother Antuan Jenkins had participated in a botched robbery that ended with the getaway car being run off the road. He’d recently lost his job and could find work only as a temp now and then. His family believes he must have felt desperate for money and made a terrible decision.
Jenkins died almost instantly at the scene of the car accident from massive head trauma.
He was 22 years old.
Overall the ladies finished second in the competition which is good for the highest finish in school history.
Congrats to the Womens @KentuckyTrack team…2nd overall in NCAA Championship…highest finish in school history!
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) June 13, 2015
The track and field national championships are currently underway in Eugene, Oregon and Kendra Harrison is coming home with some gold. Last year Kendra ran second in the 400m Hurdles but this year she would not be denied. The talented hurdler just came in first place in the 100m hurdle to claim the national title. Way to go! Even the head man was impressed:
It won’t ever get old watching performances like that. Congrats to Kendra Harrison, a national champion once again! #WeAreUK
— Mitch Barnhart (@UKMitchBarnhart) June 13, 2015
Congrats to Kendra on her amazing achievement!