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SEC Tournament Live Diary: Kentucky vs LSU Under The Lights

UK Athletics

The BatCats and LSU will go tonight on the SEC Network. Sean Hjelle will take on Alex Lange in a battle of First Team All-SEC Pitchers. The game has huge implications nationally as both teams are fighting for a top eight seed. Game updates will be right here or on Twitter @TreyHuntsmanKSR. Go Cats.

11:50 Kentucky drops game two to LSU 10-0. Alex Lange throws a complete game shutout to push LSU into the semifinals. As for Kentucky, they will be back tomorrow afternoon against USC.

11:30 Barring the greatest comeback in the history of the world, UK will play tomorrow at approximately 4 ET against South Carolina.

11:25 Cats can’t bring in Cottam after a double and trail 10-0 in the sixth. UK will need a run in the 7th in order to prevent a mercy rule.

11:16 LSU dropped another five-spot in the fifth inning and now leads 10-0. Kramer Robertson hit a three-run home run with two outs to lead the way. All ten runs will be credited to Hjelle.

10:46 After a rough second inning, Hjelle has struck out five in the last two frames. His defense didn’t do much to help, but they shouldn’t shoulder all the blame. LSU is 4/9 with runners on base and only one runner that reached on an error has had any effect.

10:40 Lange has to work for it, but he retires the side in order. Still 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth.

10:30 Hjelle strikes out the side in the third. Very nice bounce back for the sophomore.

10:22 Heady and Pompey both hit singles, but more great outfield play by LSU helps Lange out of the third. I really think UK will get to him at some point.

10:15 The second inning is mercifully over. LSU leads 5-0 after seven straight batters reached against Hjelle. UK has two errors and six hits allowed. The scary thing will be Lange pitching with a 5-0 lead.

10:09 LSU now up 4-0 as the Tigers have gone full attack mode.

10:01 Two runs come home for LSU on some tough luck moments for Hjelle. After loading the bases, a ball squirts past Marshall at third to score two.

9:50 Lange works a 1-2-3 second. LSU fans are really loud tonight at the Met.

9:43 Antoine Duplantis doubles to right and Greg Deichmann reaches on an error with two outs but Hjelle strikes out Coomes to end the inning with no runs.

9:33 Cottam and Pompey nearly get home runs in the top of the first, but both are reeled in at the track. Zach Reks singles and is stranded. Sean Hjelle out for UK to pitch.

9:25 Underway in Hoover. Pretty good crowd as fans had to park at a nearby elementary school and bus over after the parking lot was filled.


Celebrate UK Baseball’s second round win with this video

Celebrate UK Baseball’s second round win with this video

The Wildcats are on to the third round of the SEC tournament with a win over No. 11 South Carolina on Wednesday.

The good people at Kentucky Wildcats TV were in Hoover for the big game and they put together a special package for us to watch and to enjoy and to celebrate the Cats’ advancing.

Take a look:

Kentucky will face either Missouri or LSU on Thursday in the second game of the late session. The time on that one is TBD.


UK Athletics

Kentucky Wins First SEC Tournament Game Since 2014

UK Athletics

Kentucky bounced back from an early deficit to beat South Carolina 7-2. Kole Cottam’s solo home run gave UK a 3-2 lead in the fifth and Evan White added a three-RBI double to help the BatCats pull away. Today’s win was the first win in Hoover for UK since the 2014 semifinals. 

Recap

Coach Mingione went with Brad Schaenzer to start the first game of the week. Schaenzer worked out of jams in the first and second as South Carolina pushed for an early lead. The Gamecocks broke through in the top of the third when they loaded the bases with one out. Alex Destino drove in the first run of the game with a sac fly to score TJ Hopkins. Jonah Bride followed with a RBI double to give USC a 2-0 lead. Schaenzer was able to work out of the third without any further damage.

UK’s offense began to pick up their starter in the bottom of the third. Connor Heady and Tristan Pompey led off with singles and moved up to second and third on Pompey’s knock. Evan White’s first of four RBIs came on a groundout to score Heady. The two things that got in USC’s way today were Evan White and themselves. The Gamecocks committed an error at second base that brought in Pompey to tie the game.

UK went with the committee approach today on the mound. Schaenzer exited after three innings, giving way to Zach Logue. In his first appearance out of the bullpen in 2017, Logue pitched three shutout innings, allowing two hits, and striking out four.

Logue gave UK the consistency they needed on the mound in the middle innings. The junior halted USC’s offense in his three innings as UK got their bats going. Kole Cottam gave UK their first lead of the day with a 415-foot bomb to dead center in the bottom of the fourth. Cottam’s solo homer gave UK all the runs they needed before White came back with some insurance.

With one out in the sixth, UK’s offense did what they do best; grind until a team caves. UK loaded the bases on a pair of singles by Cottam and Heady and a HBP from Marcus Carson. With two outs, White delivered. The All-SEC Defensive First Baseman delivered a RBI double to clear the bases and give UK a 6-2 lead thru six. The four RBIs today gave White 38 on the season alongside a .380 average.

After Logue was pulled to start the seventh, Chris Machamer came on as Kentucky’s final reliever of the day. Machamer dominated the final three frames just as he has over the last month. The freshman picked up his first career save after throwing three shutout innings today. All three pitchers threw three innings today as the starting rotation got the day off. The piggyback start worked out well as Kentucky allowed only two runs from a team that scored seven against Vanderbilt yesterday. After the two runs in the third, UK allowed only three hits the rest of the way and shut out the Gamecocks in the final six innings. 

Kentucky picked up a second unearned run of the day in the eighth when Heady laid down a bunt that the pitcher threw away. Marcus Carson came around to score from first to give UK a 7-2 lead. The errant throw was USC’s fourth error of the day.  

Machamer finished off the game with a 1-2-3 ninth as UK wrapped up a 7-2 win on Wednesday afternoon. Coach Mingione has to be happy that in his first year, his team is already in a prime spot to make it to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. The BatCats will take on the winner of Missouri and LSU tomorrow at a 9 ET. With a win over LSU or another top team, UK could lock up a national seed. 

Kentucky will also finish with a 3-1 record over South Carolina in 2017. The Gamecocks fell on hard times this year and are on the wrong side of the bubble at this moment.

The bullpen and starting rotation will be fully rested for the remainder of this tournament. UK did not use Zack Thompson, Logan Salow, Colton Cleary, or Zach Pop today. With Hjelle going tomorrow, the outlook is great for UK on the mound.

 

For more from Hoover, follow @TreyHuntsmanKSR.


SEC Tournament Live Diary: Kentucky Beats South Carolina 7-2

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

The BatCats are taking on USC in game one of the SEC Tournament. We will have updates all week from Hoover here and on Twitter. You can follow along here or @TreyHuntsmanKSR. All times Central.

3:30 CATS WIN!!!!!! Kentucky takes game one of the SEC Tournament with a 7-2 win over South Carolina. More coverage from Hoover, Alabama is on the way.

3:26 Cats are three outs away as Machamer jogs out for his third inning of work.

3:15 Connor Heady laid down a great bunt and the throw to first went wild. Marcus Carson scored from first to give UK a 7-2 lead in the eighth.

3:14 USC gets a runner to third but Machamer strands him thanks to a pair of flyouts. The Cats will be three outs away from their first SEC Tournament win since 2014.

3:06 Head to the eighth, UK leads 6-2. Rain hit in the middle of the inning, but it appears to be a popup shower. Cats are turning to Machamer for the final six outs.

2:52 Cats strand two in the sixth but extend their lead to four. Tyler Marshall in at third base and Chris Machamer in for Zach Logue. Big opportunity for the freshman.

2:45 Parke exits after hitting his second hitter of the inning. Kind of seemed on the nose if you ask me. Reks and Carson both were not pleased after getting hit.

2:43 Evan White doubles home three runs with two outs in the sixth. UK now leads 6-2 in the bottom half of the inning. White has driven in four runs today.

2:35 Logue works a 1-2-3 frame in the sixth. He is up to four strikeouts in three innings thanks to his changeup and slider. It looks like he will be done for the day as Chris Machamer is warming up.

2:26 Nothing going for UK in the bottom of the fifth. Logue back out in the sixth with a 3-2 lead.

2:20 Solid shutdown inning by Logue in the top of the fifth. He allowed a groundball single, but it went nowhere. Cats lead 3-2 halfway thru game one.

2:05 BOOM! Kole Cottam with a solo home run to dead center to give UK a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth. USC’s starter Cody Morris is done after 3.2 innings. John Parke on for the Cocks.

2:03 Worth noting that USC starter Cody Morris is at 52 pitches in the fourth. The Gamecocks used their bullpen heavily in yesterday’s eleven inning win.

1:50 Cats tie the game on a seeing-eyes single by Becker. The ball has been flying out of Hoover Met this week, but UK is using lap singles and line drives to score early. After three, UK and USC are tied at two. Zach Logue is in on the mound for UK.

 

1:45 Kentucky gets their first run of the day on a RBI groundout by Evan White. The All-SEC Second Team First Baseman now has 35 RBIs in 2017.

1:41

1:35 USC scored two runs on a sac fly and RBI double in the top of the third. Schaenzer has not looked sharp against South Carolina early in this game.

1:22 Cats go 1-2-3 in the second. Hoover Met’s wifi is abysmal this year so updates are coming slower than normal.

1:15 ‪Schaenzer works out of a two-on, no out jam. Nice way to wiggle out of the first big situation of the day. ‬

1:05 UK strands two runners after a single by Tristan Pompey and a fielding error. Schaenzer has since allowed a pair of singles to start the second.

 

12:53 A 6-4-3 double play extinguished early USC’s baserunner in the first. Schaenzer faces one over the minimum thanks to some nice glove work by Connor Heady and Luke Becker. Cats coming up in the first with this lineup.

12:45 We are underway in Hoover. Brad Schaenzer on the mound for UK taking on USC.


The KSR Baseball Podcast’s SEC Tournament Preview

Tomorrow the UK Baseball team will open SEC Tournament play in Hoover, Alabama against South Carolina. Before making the trip to Hoover, Trey Huntsman and Coach Keith Madison discuss everything you need to know about the tournament, what’s at stake and much more, including:

—  UK’s impressive postseason award-winners and who got snubbed.

—  The most critical game of the series and Nick Mingione’s important gamble.

—  What a potential Super Regional between UK and UofL would mean for the state.

—  How Rick Pitino and Billy Donavan almost got Scott Rolen to play baseball at UK.

—  The challenge of playing early games and a tactic Coach Madison used to wake up his players.

—  How to prepare pitchers ahead of a long weekend of tournament baseball.

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.


PROGRAMMING ALERT: The UK Baseball Game has been Postponed

The first day at the SEC Baseball Tournament got off to a slow start in Hoover.  The first game went 11 innings and the second game was interrupted by a lengthy rain delay.  The backlog has caused SEC officials to rearrange the tournament schedule.

Instead of playing at 10:30 ET, Kentucky will play South Carolina between 2:00-2:30, 30 minutes after the first game of the day ends between Mississippi State and Georgia.  The change in the schedule is good news for two reasons:

1. The team will not have to be ready to play at 9:30 a.m. local time, a rare start time baseball teams are not accustomed to.

2. The game will no longer interfere with KSR, which means you’ll get to hear Matt and Ryan as usual from 10:00-noon.

We’ll have coverage from Hoover on KSR, just a little later in the day.


Listen to Coach Mingione’s interview with KSR

UK head baseball coach Nick Mingione made a guest appearance on Tuesday’s edition of Kentucky Sports Radio radio to look back on the regular season and ahead to postseason play.

The 2017 SEC Coach of the Year opened up about his personality and about his program, which has reached new heights in only his first season as head coach. He also challenged us to get him to 10,000 Twitter followers, and that wasn’t a problem at all thanks to the power for our listeners.

Tune in to Mingione’s interview midway through the second hour of show below:

Follow him on Twitter at @Coach_Mingione, if you haven’t already.

Go Cats.


Breaking Down Kentucky’s All-SEC Awards

UK Athletics

The BatCats reeled in eleven awards in the SEC. Led by Nick Mingione winning Coach of the Year, UK had six guys named to All-SEC Teams as well as the Pitcher of the Year Sean Hjelle. Here is an overview of all the awards.

Coach of the Year, Nick Mingione- What else is there to be said about the man that leads the program? In my time around Coach Mingione, I have seen how great of a coach and person he really is. The staff he put together is reason enough to give him Coach of the Year. Mingione turned the program around and put Kentucky into the national spotlight. It has been less than a calendar year since Mingione was hired and UK was out of the NCAA Tournament. Flash forward to today, where UK is competing for a national seed a week from Selection Monday. Mingione’s 38 wins are the most in a first season for a UK Coach.

Pitcher of the Year, First Team All-SEC, Sean Hjelle- The former closer took over Friday nights for UK and was a force on the mound. Hjelle went 7-1 with a 1.90 ERA in SEC games. He set the tone in the first game of every conference series in 2017. In a league that is pitcher-heavy, Hjelle stood out as the best. Winning Pitcher of the Year is a huge honor for Hjelle and the program.

Scholar Athlete of the Year, Zach Logue- When he wasn’t starting on Saturdays for UK, Logue was busy posting a 3.96 in chemical engineering. That is no easy feat, especially for a student-athlete. Logue has been on the Academic Honor Roll twice in his time at Kentucky.

Community Service Team, Storm Wilson- In his time at UK, Wilson has been notarized for his work on and off the field several times. Wilson has done more than has been noticed since he has been at UK. Check out this story to see what Storm did to earn the award.

First Team All-SEC, Tristan Pompey- No player improved to the extent that Pompey did in 2017. He was rocketing balls all over the park during conference play. Pompey led the SEC in average and hits in conference play and finished with a .369 average for the 2017 season. Pompey also hit nine home runs, stole eight bases, and led the team in walks.

 

First Team All-SEC, Logan Salow- For awhile, it appeared that Salow would finish the year with an ERA below .50. The number rose a bit, but Salow was still the best reliever in the SEC. Salow struck out an obscene 63 batters in 45.1 innings this season. That is more than 12 K per nine innings. Salow’s season will go down as one of the best in UK history. In 26 appearances, Salow walked only eight batters. All of his impressive stats led to an All-SEC recognition.

UK Athletics

Second Team All-SEC, Defensive All-SEC, Evan White- The UK first baseman went 3/3 on All-Defensive honors in his time at UK. If not for Brent Rooker looking like Mike Trout in Starkville, he would have had first team honors as well. White missed 13 games but still managed to hit .385 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs. As for the defense, White finished the regular season with a perfect fielding percentage.

Second Team All-SEC, Riley Mahan- The prime power hitter for UK landed on the second team. Mahan hit 14 home runs and had a slugging percentage of .655 as a junior. A three-time SEC Player of the Week, Mahan led the league in home runs in SEC play. Mahan’s defense improved enough for him to land on the All-SEC list. His offense improved as well as he developed into a solid power hitting second baseman.

Second Team All-SEC, Troy Squires- This is my favorite award. Squires has been a leader for this team throughout 2017. He takes the bruises behind the plate and was often called upon for a sac bunt in big situations. But late in SEC play, Squires came on as a leader on offense. The junior catcher hit .333 at the plate and threw out 45 percent of runners behind it.

@TreyHuntsmanKSR


Mingione named SEC Coach of the Year, seven players earn All-SEC honors

Mingione named SEC Coach of the Year, seven players earn All-SEC honors

It took all of one season for first-time head coach Nick Mingione to win his first Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year award in the sport of baseball.

The SEC coaches named Mingione their best coach of the 2017 season today after he coached your University of Kentucky Wildcats to a 38-win regular season and a third-place finish in the league.

Seven of Mingione’s Wildcats joined him in earning SEC honors:

— Sean Hjelle – SEC Pitcher of the Year, First Team All-SEC

— Logan Salow – First Team All-SEC

— Tristan Pompey – First Team All-SEC

— Riley Mahan – Second-Team All-SEC

— Troy Squires – Second-Team All-SEC

— Evan White – Second-Team All-SEC, All-SEC Defensive Team

— Zach Logue – SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year

Congrats to all and Go Cats. Let’s get this SEC championship.


UK Softball to take on Oregon in Super Regional

UK Softball to take on Oregon in Super Regional

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the UK women’s softball team is making some late season noise. Earlier this afternoon, the Wildcats beat Illinois 4-2 to advance to the Super Regional round, which is the equivalent to the Sweet 16 round in college basketball.

The Cats have been given the #14 seed out of 16 teams and will be traveling out to the West Coast to take on the #3 seeded Oregon Ducks in Eugene. Oregon beat out Wisconsin in their Regional round with a 9-0 rout of the Badgers.

Check out what head coach Rachel Lawson had to say after today’s win.

 

 

Also, look at this SportsCenter Top 10 worthy play with shortstop Katie Reed going horizontal!

Keep it up ladies! Beat the Ducks!

@BrettBibbinsKSR


@UKsoftball

UK Softball advances to NCAA Super Regional

@UKsoftball

Kentucky Softball advances to the Super Regionals of the NCAA Tournament after defeating Illinois 4-2 on Sunday afternoon.

Kentucky went a perfect 3-0 this weekend, defeating DePaul and Illinois twice.

“I was really proud of my team today,” head coach Rachel Lawson said. “We did such a good job coming out on fire, being the visiting team. Coming out scoring those runs.”

“For the most part we were just awesome on defense again,” Lawson said. “I was just really proud of us for being able to play our game today in the championship game of a regional. Means a lot to the program.”

The Wildcats once again came out ready to play, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Brooklin Hinz got things started off the Cats with a deep shot to center field for a triple. Abbey Cheek scored, and the Cats took an immediate 1-0 lead.

Freshman Alex Martens followed Hinz’ triple with a homer to center field to take a 3-0 lead. This was Martens’ fourth home run of the season.

“I definitely think it was a big momentum for the game itself,” Martens said on her home run. “But I mean the inning started off with Brooklin’s hit. I mean that started huge momentum. And then Abbey scoring on that. I think it was like a peak for the energy level in that inning and then it kind of just carried through us for the rest of the game.”

Cheek and Hinz weren’t done quit yet. Cheek hit a lead-off triple in the top of the third and a sac fly by Hinz brought her home to take a 4-0 lead.

Junior Erin Rethlake started on the mound for the Cats today. After allowing a hit and and a walk with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Kentucky decided to make a change at the mound. Meagan Prince came in for the Cats. She pitched on both Friday and Saturday.

Despite not allowing any runs all weekend, Rethlake allowed a run in the sixth and Prince allowed a run seventh. However, Illinois’ comeback wasn’t enough for Kentucky’s strong start.

This was the first time Kentucky swept a home regional in program history.

Kentucky advances to its fifth Super Regional, all under head coach Lawson. The Cats’ only appearance at the Women’s College World Series was in 2014.

“This is something we do,” Lawson said. “This is Kentucky softball. Super regionals is not something that is foreign to us. It’s not our first time and we are a team that wants to not only to go to supers but a team that gets national seed and goes to world series.”

Kentucky will play the team that advances from the Eugene Regional. Oregon and Wisconsin are the two remaining teams. Oregon will look to eliminate Wisconsin at 7:00 p.m. ET.

P.S. Be on the look out for Katie Reed on #SCTop10 after this play.

 


The 2017 SEC Baseball Tournament Bracket

The 2017 SEC Baseball Tournament Bracket

Photo by R.D. Moore

After falling to Florida in the final game of the regular season, Kentucky dropped to the No. 3 seed in this week’s SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover, Alabama.

Kentucky’s first game will be Wednesday at 10:30 on the SEC Network.  They’ll take on the winner of Vanderbilt/South Carolina.  The BatCats were a combined 4-2 against the Commodores and the Gamecocks this season, winning each series.

Trey Huntsman will be there to cover every game for KSR.  Hopefully he’s forced to stay until Sunday to see Kentucky try to win their first ever SEC Baseball Tournament.

Click to Enlarge


UK Baseball falls at Florida, loses series and SEC crown

Kentucky needed to win two of three in the series at Florida this weekend to win the SEC title, but it fell short of that goal, dropping each of the last two games after taking the first on Thursday.

In today’s third and final game of the series, a must-win for the Cats, a blown lead and several missed opportunities with runners on base cost Kentucky its shot at the prize. Florida won the game, the series and a share of the SEC regular season crown with a 6-4 win.

Though the loss stings, the regular season as a whole far exceeded expectations. Kentucky finishes the season at 38-18 and 19-11 in conference play, and will be the No. 3 seed in the SEC tournament.

Trey Huntsman will have more in a bit…


@UKsoftball

UK Softball stays perfect, advances to regional final

@UKsoftball

The UK Softball team defeated Illinois 1-0 to advance to the regional final tomorrow.

Unlike yesterday’s five-run first inning, the Wildcats scored their only run in bottom of the fourth inning. Kentucky’s Bailey Vick Cats scored on sac fly to right field from Breanne Ray.

Meagan Prince was on the mound again for the Cats. In all seven innings pitched, she allowed only three hits and struck out three batters.

“I think it was one of my better performances,” Prince said. “I felt sharp. I felt lose on the mound and I felt confident in what I was throwing.

Prince did not allow a base runner after the third inning and retired the final 14 batters she faced.

“I think once the hitters went through the order, we kind of had a better idea of how to attack,” Prince said. “Me on the mound, I had a better idea of where I needed to place the ball. It’s a game of two inches, those first three innings if I could have moved the ball a little further to the left or to the right or down, maybe those hits wouldn’t have happened.”

Head coach Rachel Lawson said today’s matchup between Prince and Illinois’ Breanna Wonderly was a great pitcher’s duel.

“I thought both pitchers did outstanding,” Lawson said. “They did a great job of controlling the bottom of the zone.”

Lawson does not know who will be on the mound for the Cats tomorrow, but is very confident in all her pitchers.

“So depending who comes out of this and how many pitches they have to throw and all that will determine what I do tomorrow,” Lawson said. “As much as our pitching staff won’t know until tomorrow what’s gonna go on, I’m probably not gonna know until tomorrow at about 4 a.m. That’s about when I make that decision.”

Kentucky will face the winner of Game 5 (today at 5:30 p.m.) tomorrow at noon.

@UKsoftball

Saturday, May 20

Game 3 – Illinois vs. Kentucky: Noon

Game 4 – Marshall vs. DePaul: 2:30 p.m.

Game 5 – Illinois 3 vs. Winner Game 4: 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 21

Game 6 – Kentucky 3 vs. Winner Game 5: Noon

Game 7 – (If necessary): 2:30 p.m.


UK Athletics

WATCH: Nick Mingione’s First Career Ejection

UK Athletics

Nick Mingione didn’t make it through last night’s 11-run loss to Florida.

In the top of the fifth inning, Kentucky trailed Florida 7-0.  Kentucky’s Marcus Carson was hit by a pitch, but the umpire ruled he didn’t make an effort to get out of the ball’s path.  Carson didn’t get a base and the Kentucky head coach was not happy about it.

Another angle:

I applaud Mingione’s efforts.  Normally a laid back guy, he was elusive, evading umpires attempting to hold him back to make sure the home plate ump heard what he had to say.

Mingione is back in the dugout right now.  With a win over Florida and an LSU loss to Miss. State, the Cats can claim a share of the SEC Title.  Watch all of the action unfold in the final game of the regular season on Watch ESPN.