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Heading into today’s action, Kentucky was locked in a three-way tie with Alabama and South Carolina. One of the two scenarios Kentucky needed to avoid was an Alabama loss and a South Carolina win.
Unfortunately, that scenario has happened as both games have just gone final. South Carolina beats Mississippi State 10-8 and Alabama losses to Georiga 9-1.
Kentucky finishes the season with a record of 26-29 (7-23) which was good for next to last in the SEC.
Despite the rebuilding season, with 18 newcomers to this year’s roster, Nick Mingione has the most wins of any Kentucky coach through three seasons with 104 victories.
Kentucky will for sure lose four seniors from this year’s roster: Ryan Shinn, Ryan Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, and Marshall Gei. With the fantastic career Zack Thompson has had at UK, he will undoubtedly be out the door as well as he heads for the MLB Draft this offseason.
The game recap from the final regular season game against No. 2 Vanderbilt from Kentucky Proud Park will be up shortly.
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 18th, 2019 @ 3:00pm
It took some time for the Bats to heat up on a hot day at John Cropp Stadium as Kentucky beats Virginia Tech 8-1 in the Regional Semifinal with the help of new faces.
Last year it was Mallory Peyton who emerged as a freshman star in the regionals. This year, it’s been Kayla Kowalik.
Kowalik has made spectacular catch after spectacular catch in centerfield this weekend. On the offensive side, she’s gone 4-6, scoring four runs and getting an RBI through the first two games, including being the spark for some of UK’s big innings in this regional and brilliant plays on the basepath.
— Francesca Enea (@frangator10) May 18, 2019
Today was no different as she kicked started Kentucky’s stagnant offense in the fourth with a one-out single, which set up a two-out triple that scored Kowalik from first.
After Johnson’s triple, former McCracken County teammates Kelsee Henson and Bailey Vick reached base to load the bases for Jenny Schaper. Jenny Schaper came through as she got an RBI single, then the cut off tried to catch Vick slipping at second, but she got back, and the ball squirted away from the Hokie second baseman allowing for every runner to move up which allowed Henson to score for UK to take a 3-0 lead after four.
Kentucky would add more in the fifth on two errors from the Hokies which allowed pinch runners, Jaci Babbs, and Tatum Spangler, to score to give Kentucky a 5-0 lead. Then with two outs, Vick laid down a picture perfect bunt for a single, but the third baseman flipped the ball over the catcher’s mitt which allowed Kowalik to score from third and allowed Kennedy Cowen to score from second.
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 18, 2019
Virginia Tech would get one back on a home run from Emma Strouth to make it a 7-1 lead for the Cats. Kentucky would get that run back in the bottom of the sixth on an Alex Martens RBI fly that scored Katie Reed and with that RBI Alex Martens tied the school record for most RBIs in a single season with 61.
Grace Baalman would shut down the Hokies in the bottom half to finish off her one run performance in seven innings of work as the Cats advance to the Regional Final with an 8-1 victory.
Kentucky will look to sweep their region for the THIRD straight year when they take on the emerging team out of the losers bracket. Illinois and Toledo will face off in just a few minutes.
First pitch will be at noon tomorrow from John Cropp Stadium.
Check out the highlights from today’s victory:
— Kentucky Softball (@UKsoftball) May 18, 2019
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 17th, 2019 @ 10:30pm
In front of the fourth-largest crowd in school history, Kentucky drops game two to No. 2 Vanderbilt 12-4.
Another game and another big inning kills the Cats this season, which has seemingly been the case for the fresh-faced Kentucky squad. Heading into the third Kentucky was tied with Vanderbilt 1-1 after a Vandy home run in the second, then a Dalton Reed sac-fly tied it up in the bottom half, but then Vandy had a six-run inning that put the Cats in a big hole early.
The inning started with a leadoff walk, which has also been kryptonite to the Cats this season. Austin Martin, who reached on the walk advanced to third when he stole second, but a throwing error by Coltyn Kessler allowed him to move into third with no outs. After the error JJ Bleady hit a home run which was followed by another walk, this time to Ethan Paul then Philip Clarke knocked him in with an RBI double. After a single, a double, and a walk, Julian Infante brought everyone home on a two-out double to put Vandy up 7-1.
The Commodores got one more in the fifth on a fielders choice to take a commanding 8-1 lead.
Kentucky would get back within striking distance in the bottom of the fifth when Zeke Lewis scored on a wild pitch, then Eliott Curtis doubled to bring home Ryan Shinn and Ryan Johnson to cut the Vanderbilt lead to just four.
However, Vanderbilt would come back for in the sixth with one more run on a sac-fly, then they would put the nail in the coffin on a three-run home run in the eighth from Ethan Paul to make it 12-4 while the Kentucky offense stayed silent as the Cats drop the second game to Vanderbilt.
However, South Carolina and Alabama are both trailing big late in their ball games, so the tie once again doesn’t move. The situation Kentucky will need to avoid tomorrow is a loss and an Alabama win or a South Carolina win without an Alabama win.
Kentucky will try to finish this season with a MUCH needed win on Senior Day tomorrow from Kentucky Proud Park with Zack Thompson on the mound. First pitch will be at 2:00 pm ET on the SEC Network.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 17th, 2019 @ 5:00pm
Kentucky’s path to their second appearance in the Women’s College World Series is off to a great start as they beat Toledo 7-2 in the first round of the Lexington softball regional.
It was a bumpy start to the day for Autumn Humes and Kentucky when Toledo jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a two-out rally that saw the Rockets get five base hits and load the bases, but Humes limited the damage holding the Rockets to just two runs.
After the bumpy start for Humes, she settled in nicely as she only allowed two more hits the rest of the afternoon in five innings of work while familiar faces on the offensive side led the way for Kentucky.
The Cats quickly Responded with four runs of their own in the bottom half of the first, two of them coming from the best hitter in UK history when Abbey Cheek blasted a two-run double. Cheek advanced to third on the play, but if you ask me, I believe the play should’ve been ruled a triple for Cheek.
Kayal Kowalik followed Cheek with a single. Then she got brilliant on the basepath when she pulled a Bennie and the Jets pickle play, where she intentionally got caught in a rundown between first and second to allow Cheek to score. Not only did Kowalik allow Cheek to score, but she even beat the pickle and made it into second safely which allowed Lauren Johnson to knock her in with an RBI single to put the Cats up 4-2 after one.
After four innings of stagnant offense from both teams, Kentucky got back on the board in the bottom of the fifth when Alex Martens launched the ball off the scoreboard for a two-run home run to put Kentucky up 6-2.
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 17, 2019
After the home run, the Cats would load the bases, and senior Kelsee Henson flew out to left field to score a tagging Kayla Kowalik to put Kentucky up 7-2.
Freshman Meghan Schorman shut down the Rockets in the final two innings to give Kentucky their seventh straight victory in the NCAA Regionals.
With the victory, Kentucky advances to the winner’s bracket where they will face Virginia Tech at noon tomorrow at John Cropp Stadium.
Go Cats @BrentW_KSR
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 17th, 2019 @ 11:00am
Got plans this afternoon? Cancel them. The UK Softball team starts its run to the Women’s College World Series at 2:30 p.m. when they host Toledo at John Cropp Stadium. At noon, Virginia Tech plays Illinois. The winners of each game will square off Saturday at noon.
To advance to the NCAA Super Regionals, UK must get at least three wins over the next three days (each regional follows a double-elimination format). Here’s the schedule:
Friday, May 17
Game 1 – Illinois vs. Virginia Tech – Noon ET – ESPN3
Game 2 – Toledo vs. Kentucky – 2:30 p.m. ET – ESPN3
Saturday, May 18
Game 3 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 – Noon ET
Game 4 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 – 2:30 p.m. ET
Game 5 – Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 – 5 p.m. ET
Sunday, May 19
Game 6 – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5 – Noon ET
Game 7 – (If necessary) – 2:30 p.m. ET
*** Times subject to change for TV
Both all-session and single-session tickets are available through UKathletics.com/NCAATickets. If you can’t make it in person, all games will be available on ESPN3 and the ESPN app with Dave Baker and former Florida Gator All-American Francesca Enea on the call.
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 17th, 2019 @ 12:45am
It was a wild night at Kentucky Proud Park. In game one with No. 2 Vanderbilt and SEC tournament implications on the line, this game saw a nine-run comeback, a two-hour rain delay, and Keith Madison bobblehead rolling away. Absolute Madness. Despite the madness, Kentucky can’t complete the impressive comeback as they drop game one to No. 2 Vanderbilt 16-10.
Finding a lead with all the madness that occurred in this game is near impossible, so this recap will just go in the sequence of the events that played out before 3,000+ fans at Kentucky Proud Park because it is a rollercoaster.
Vandy jumped out to a big lead early on Trip Lockhart. The Commodores jumped out to a 2-0 lead on two RBI singles, but the big three-run blast by Stephen Scott gave Vanderbilt a commanding 5-0 lead before the Cats even got to swing a pitch.
Vandy put another run across on a great attempt at a double play, but the ball from Zeke bounced to second base, and the Cats only get one out on the play. They got one more on an RBI single to go up 7-0 in the second and that would signal the end of the day for Trip Lockhart.
Mingione turned to Grant Macciocchi. Macciocchi gave up a solo home run to lead off the inning, then gave up an RBI single from Ty Duvall. But after the two-run spat, he was phenomenal.
Macciocchi left the game after five and a third innings of work, and he held Vandy at bay in the middle innings to allow the Cats to chip away and take the lead.
The Cats finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Jaren Shelby clobbered a double with two on that scored Ryan Shinn and allowed Dalton Reed to move into third. Reed would score on a picture perfect bunt by Zeke Lewis to put Kentucky down 9-2.
Kentucky got it rolling in the sixth starting with a Coltyn Kessler home run when he launched a ball over the visiting bullpen to draw the Cats within six.
Then with two outs and two runners on Alex Rodriguez hit a fly ball to center field, but as we have learned this season at KPP, there is no routine play with the way the lights are set up. Outfielders have lost balls left and right during night games this season, and luckily for the Cats, another got lost at the right time as the ball dropped in for a two-run double to put the Cats down four.
Kentucky was able to get the tying run to the plate when they loaded the bases to start the seventh inning, but a Dalton Reed strikeout followed it, then Shelby flew out to center to score Elliott Curtis to cut the Vanderbilt lead to three. Zeke Lewis would reload the bases for Alex Rodriguez who was hit by a pitch to bring another run across to make it 9-7 with two outs for Ryan Johnson.
Johnson came through.
He lofted a ball into left-center field that allowed both Shinn and Lewis to score to tie the game, but Johnson took the wide turn for second and got caught a rundown. While Vanderbilt was trying to catch Johnson in the pickle, A-Rod brilliantly broke for home and scored before Vandy picked up the final out to come all the way back from a nine-run deficit.
Headed into the eighth, Kentucky led 10-9.
At this point, to complete what seemed to be a successful comeback, we knew every little play mattered in a game like this and no one indirectly kept Kentucky in this game more than Cam Hill with these two amazing plays in center field.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) May 16, 2019
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) May 16, 2019
While we were admiring the plays Cam Hill made earlier in the game that helped keep Kentucky in the game to pull off such an amazing comeback, the rain hit. Causing a two-hour rain delay and a runaway Keith Madison Bobblehead.
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) May 17, 2019
Once play resumed in the top of the eighth Vandy had two runners in scoring position with one out. Daniel Harper came in out of the pen and induced a pop out to third base in the first batter he faced, then Philip Clarke stepped to the plate with two outs.
Clarke drilled a ball to deep center field, and Cam Hill had a chance to make one more amazing play to keep the Kentucky lead, but he and the ball went crashing into the center field wall as Philip Clarke trotted into third with a two-run double giving Vanderbilt an 11-10 lead.
The Commodores would sit the Cats down in order in the next half inning, then score five in the top of the ninth to make it 16-10. The ‘Doores would close it out in the bottom of the ninth take a wild game one.
Luckily, for Kentucky, both South Carolina and Alabama lost today so the tie doesn’t budge, which means if the SEC tournamnet started today Kentucky would be in Hoover.
Unfortunately for the Cats, the season doesn’t end today as two more games stand between them and a postseason. The next of those two games will be Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET from KPP on the SEC Network.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
It’s a big weekend for UK Athletics, especially for the women’s softball team. The Wildcats will begin their tournament run this Friday at 2:30 against Toledo, and Lexington’s mayor, Linda Gorton, has officially declared it “Wildcat Softball Weekend.”
Mayor Gorton’s declaration reiterates that Coach Rachel Lawson and the Cats have established themselves as “a national power, with the program qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in 11 of Lawson’s 12 years leading the program.” It also includes a few of this season’s most-impressive accomplishments, such as “garnering a No. 14 national seed in the 2019 NCAA Tournament after sweeping ranked SEC foes in South Carolina and Auburn.”
The declaration also encourages fans to head toward John Cropp Stadium to root on the Cats, as the first round of action will take place right here in Lexington.
You can get your tickets for Wildcat Softball Weekend’s games by clicking here.
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 15th, 2019 @ 12:45pm
On the diamond, this is a HUGE weekend for Kentucky. The softball Cats begin their path to the Women’s College World Series when they host the Regionals at John Cropp Stadium and just a few feet away, the baseball team will play in a massive weekend series against No. 2 Vanderbilt with the postseason on the line. Here’s what the baseball team has to do to get into the SEC Tournament.
Heading into the last weekend of the year, the Cats are currently in a three-way tie for the last spot in the SEC Tournament with Alabama and South Carolina. Despite Kentucky dropping two of three to South Carolina just last week, most scenarios do favor the Cats getting into the SEC Tournament. This weekend, Kentucky will face No. 2 Vanderbilt, South Carolina will see No. 5 Mississippi State, and Alabama will take on No. 7 Georgia. This can get confusing, so just stay with me here.
Kentucky gets in the tournament IF…
They win more games than South Carolina and Alabama this weekend
Despite South Carolina beating Kentucky two out of three this weekend, if Kentucky takes more games this weekend than the other teams, they will outright have the better record than both Alabama and South Carolina. In my opinion, it is most likely that Bama and USC get swept this weekend, and Kentucky can steal one with their ace Zack Thompson on the mound.
This is the clearest path to Hoover. Just win, and you’re in essentially, but the Cats will need to be fans of both Georgia and Mississippi State this weekend.
They get in a two-way tie with Alabama
Because Kentucky and Alabama did not play each other this season, there is no head-to-head record. So how can Kentucky get in if they tie with Alabama since Alabama has a better non-conference record? Well, it’s simple, kind of. In the SEC Tournament, when two teams are tied who haven’t played each other, the tiebreaker is their record against common opponents against the highest seed. So, in this case, Vanderbilt is the highest seed in the SEC Tournament, and luckily for the Cats, Alabama got swept by Vandy nearly a month ago. Therefore, if South Carolina gets swept and Kentucky can match what Alabama does this weekend, Kentucky will get in.
They get into a three-way tie
Now for many obvious reasons, you want to avoid the scenario of getting swept because no one wants to lose, and you would then have to bank on South Carolina and Alabama getting swept as well. However, in the case that all three teams get swept this weekend, that bodes well for Kentucky. By the end of this weekend, all three teams would have played Vanderbilt (the top seed in the SEC Tournament) this season. So, if Kentucky DOES get swept this weekend, they can still survive because the next common opponent for all three teams will be Georgia, who swept South Carolina earlier this season. In the scenario that Georgia sweeps Alabama and South Carolina gets swept to force this three-way tie, Kentucky will own the tiebreaker on South Carolina and Alabama with their victory against Georgia back in March when Zack Thompson went the distance.
However, if things go well and Kentucky wins one this weekend, they are in great shape as long as South Carolina doesn’t win one. If South Carolina does win one along with Kentucky this weekend, Kentucky will really need Alabama to win one too because Kentucky needs to avoid a two-way tie with South Carolina.
Kentucky will NOT get into the tournament IF…
They get into a two-way tie with South Carolina
This is why Kentucky needs to cheer hard for Mississippi State this weekend. Kentucky MUST avoid a two-way tie with South Carolina. Last weekend hurt Kentucky with this scenario, so now South Carolina owns the tiebreaker over the Cats. If South Carolina gets swept this weekend, the path becomes a lot easier for Kentucky to get to Hoover. Kentucky really needs to outplay or match South Carolina and hope Alabama can do the same to get in this weekend.
They don’t win as many as South Carolina or Alabama
This scenario is just as clear cut as winning more than the other two teams. If Kentucky can’t win as many or more games than both teams, they will be out of the tournament because they will have a worse record which will knock them out of the tiebreaker.
In short, be HUGE Mississippi State fans this weekend, hope Alabama doesn’t win more than Kentucky, and just beat Vanderbilt.
This massive weekend against Vandy kicks off Thursday at 6:30 p.m. ET at Kentucky Proud Park.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
In a rebuilding season, it has seemed like the Bat Cats have given up a four+ run inning in every loss this season, but tonight it was Kentucky’s turn to have the big inning as a four-run fifth inning lifts the Cats over the Wolverines 7-4 at Kentucky Proud Park.
Despite having one run on the board, Kentucky didn’t get their first hit until the bottom of the fifth when Alex Rodriguez hit a ball down the left field line for a leadoff double out of the nine-hole. Kentucky batters getting hit eight times in tonight’s game aided the early lead as well.
Kentucky got on the board in the first for the fifth straight game when Ryan Johnson walked to start the game, then came all the way around to score to put the Cats up 1-0 after one.
Elliott Curtis would pick him up when he slapped an opposite-field single to draw the Cats within one, with Coltyn Kessler stepping to the plate who drilled one to the center field fence for a double that scored Ryan Shinn and Elliot Curtis to give Kentucky a 4-3 lead. The Cats would tack on one more after an Austin Schultz sac-fly scored Coltyn Kessler to make it 5-3 after the four-run fifth inning.
In the top of the seventh Michigan drew within one on a solo home run by Jordan Nwogu.
But, the Cats got two more insurance runs when Jaren Shelby scored on a bases-loaded walk, then Alex Rodriguez reached on a fielder’s choice that allowed Cam Hill to score to give Kentucky a 7-4 lead, that they would hold into the night as the Cats finish off their nonconference schedule with a victory.
In the nonconference, Kentucky finished the season 19-6, but tough SEC play has the Cats sitting at 26-26 on the season. Five of Kentucky’s six nonconference losses came to teams inside the top 10 in the RPI.
Kentucky will try to pull out all the stops this weekend against one of the nation’s best teams in the Vanderbilt Commodores to get into Hoover. All hands will be on deck this weekend if the Cats want to make the trip to the SEC tournament, their odds will improve GREATLY if they take one this weekend.
I will have a post tomorrow (Wednesday) on the SEC postseason scenarios for this weekend and what Kentucky needs to do to get into the SEC Tournament, so be on the lookout for that.
First pitch on Thursday will be at 6:30 pm ET on SEC Network+.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
By Maggie Davis on ©May 12th, 2019 @ 9:46pm
The UK Softball team is staying home this weekend. Kentucky has earned a No. 14 national seed for this year’s NCAA Tournament, and they’ll have the home field advantage. For the fourth-consecutive season, the Wildcats have been selected as a host site for the tournament’s regional games.
The Cats have earned the No. 1 seed in the region, and they’ll face No. 4 Toledo in the first round of action inside Kentucky’s own John Cropp Stadium. The game is scheduled to begin this Friday at 2:30 p.m.
Illinois and Virginia Tech are also in the Cats’ region – they’ll have the first game of the weekend, which is set to begin Friday at noon. The games will be shown on ESPN3.
The Cats are just coming off a Friday night, semi-final loss to conference-favorite Alabama in the SEC Tournament. Kentucky currently owns a 33-22 record on the season, including a 14-10 mark against SEC competition. That record was good enough to earn the Wildcats one of 16 national seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Oh, and by the way, all 13 SEC teams qualified for the NCAA Tournament… for the third consecutive season. Vandy does not have a softball team.
The news comes following Sunday night’s selection show. The Cats found out their fate during a watch party at their own John Cropp Stadium.
Nobody knows how to throw a party like we do. ? pic.twitter.com/ebDgote7La
— Kentucky Softball (@UKsoftball) May 13, 2019
All-session tickets will go on sale Monday morning at 9 a.m. ET, exclusively online here. Single-session tickets will go on sale Wednesday, May 15 at 9 a.m. ET, based on availability.
Thank God for Zack Thomspon. Of the seven SEC wins Kentucky has this season, Zack Thomspon owns five of them, including today’s 6-2 victory over South Carolina as the Cats avoid the sweep in Columbia.
Thomspon was stellar once again working six innings and only allowing two runs on three hits while striking out eight. It is Thompson’s tenth straight quality start.
After this season wraps up, Thompson will enter the MLB draft where is projected to be the 14th pick to the Philadelphia Phillies. It’s been a rough season for the Cats, but it would be much worse without their stellar ace.
On the offensive side of things for Kentucky, they once again scored in the first inning-something they’ve done in every game this series-when Coltyn Kessler hit a full count, two out double that scored Elliot Curtis to put the Cats up early.
After the Gamecocks tied it up in the third, Kentucky made sure to get two more runs in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice groundout that scored Austin Schultz; then Cam Hill laid down a perfect sac bunt to score Dalton Reed.
The Cats struck for three more starting with an RBI double by Ryan Shinn in the fifth, then an RBI groundout scored Ryan Johnson, and a TJ Collett RBI single allowed Kentucky to take a commanding 6-1 lead.
South Carolina got one back in the sixth on an RBI double, but Daniel Harper shut down the Gamecocks for the rest of the game as the Cats salvage game three to keep their postseason hopes hanging by a thread.
In order to get into the SEC tournament, Kentucky will more than likely have to sweep N0.2 Vanderbilt and get some help from Georgia and Texas A&M.
Kentucky now sits at 25-26 (7-20). They will be back in action Tuesday night when they take on Michigan at Kentucky Proud Park. First pitch is for 7:00 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
Kentucky’s postseason dreams are all but over as they dropped game two and the series to South Carolina 11-3 in Columbia. It was South Carolina’s first series victory this season.
South Carolina turned this game on its head in the sixth when Coach Minge turned to Jimmy Ramsey, who leads the team in home runs given up, to face one of the best home run hitting teams in the SEC in South Carolina. The Cats went into the inning with a one-run lead and Ramsey was well on his way to a shutdown inning, but with two outs in the inning, Brady Allen took Ramsey deep to left field for South Carolina to take the lead. A single later, Wes Clarke clobbered a ball into left field, and the Gamecocks would take a two-run lead in the sixth.
South Carolina’s lead would balloon to seven runs on another back-breaking big inning given up by the Cats with two outs. It started with an RBI single by Jacob Olson, then Elliot Curtis lost a ball on what should’ve been a routine pop out to end the inning that allowed two more Gamecocks to score.
This pretty much sums up Kentucky baseball in 2019. pic.twitter.com/s8FHpBlkDx
— B££ZY (@Burke_F_Garner) May 11, 2019
South Carolina would get two more on back to back RBI singles.
The inability to finish innings has killed the Cats this year, and it all cumulated in today’s loss as 10 of South Carolina’s 11 runs came with two outs, and it may have just broken the back on the Kentucky season.
Kentucky once again jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-out single that scored the red hot Ryan Johnson. Kentucky would get two more on a bases-loaded single by Elliot Curtis in the fifth, but three runs obviously won’t get the job done against an 11 run barrage by South Carolina as Kentucky drops the series and their 2019 postseason dreams are all but over.
Kentucky will be back on the diamond tomorrow at 11:00 am ET in the finale against South Carolina on SEC Network+.
Kentucky is now 24-26 (6-20) on the year.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
For the first time in conference play this season, South Carolina has taken the first game in the series, and it comes at an inconvenient time for your Bat Cats. The road to Hoover for Kentucky just got a lot tougher as they lose in Columbia tonight 5-4.
Kentucky came in tied with Alabama for the final spot in the SEC Tournament with South Carolina one game back, so this series will determine if the Cats make it to Hoover this season.
However, Kentucky looked to be up for the challenge as they jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first after Ryan Johnson worked a 10-pitch double and would later score on a sac fly by Elliot Curtis.
But, the Gamecocks were game as they came back to take a 3-1 lead in the fourth.
It started in the third, Noah Cambell hit his sixth home run of the year to tie it at one apiece. Then, self-inflicted errors killed the Cats. After a two-base throwing error to kick off the fourth, South Carolina took advantage of the Kentucky mistake with an RBI triple to take the lead. But, another mistake allowed another Gamecock to score on a wild pitch for South Carolina to take a 3-1 lead.
Kentucky wasn’t done just yet though.
Kentucky rallied for three runs in the fifth to retake the lead at 4-3 on a two-RBI single and risky send by coach Fanning as Coltyn Kessler tied the game and TJ Collett put the Cats back on top with a single that scored Shinn.
But, more leadoff mistakes led to more runs for the Gamecocks, this time it was a leadoff walk that came all the way around to score on a squeeze bunt to tie the game at four in the sixth, then a leadoff home run in the seventh by Andrew Eyster allowed the Gamecocks to take a 5-4 lead.
Kentucky would get shutdown Dylan Harley and Brett Kerry as South Carolina took the pivotal game one in a series that will decide who will go to Hoover.
With Kentucky, South Carolina, and Alamaba all fighting for the last spot in Hoover, the Cats MUST win tomorrow to keep any dreams of a postseason alive. If not, South Carolina will take their first conference series of the year and Kentucky’s season will end next week against Vanderbilt.
Kentucky will try to even things up with the Gamecocks and their backs against the wall tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Go Cats @BrentW_KSR
By Maggie Davis on ©May 10th, 2019 @ 10:45pm
They put up a good fight, but the top-rated Alabama team proved to be too much for the No. 4 Wildcats in Friday night’s conference matchup. The softball team was eliminated in the SEC semifinals after falling 6-3 to the Crimson Tide. Kentucky is now 33-22 on the season, while Alabama moves to an impressive 52-6.
Kentucky matched Alabama in the game with seven hits, and there were no errors in the game. Catcher Jenny Schaper, Mallory Peyton and Lauren Johnson all had RBI hits in the game, driving in the three Kentucky runs (one each in the third, fourth and sixth innings). But a six-run second inning was the difference for Alabama, and the Cats simply could not catch up.
While Alabama advances to the championship game against No. 6 Florida – set for Saturday night – the Wildcats will make their way back to Lexington.
Now, it’s a waiting game until the NCAA Tournament brackets are announced. Kentucky is expected to earn one of the 30 at-large bids for the field of 64. The selection show will air live this Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
The UK softball team started the SEC Tournament on the right foot.
Playing a day later than expected thanks to inclement weather, the Wildcats rained all over Ole Miss’ parade in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals. The Cats clobbered the Rebels 8-0 to win in only five innings.
Rachel Lawson’s squad made their money in the third inning. Kentucky scored six runs on seven hits, all of which had runners in scoring position, to give UK the eight-run advantage. It all got started with a Big Blue Bomb in the first inning from SEC Player of the Year, Abbey Cheek.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) May 10, 2019
Kentucky advances to tonight’s semifinals at 7:00 p.m. ET where they will take on the Alabama Crimson Tide. Two weeks ago UK won the series in Tuscaloosa after a 13-inning rubber match. Tonight will likely produce similar fireworks.
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 08th, 2019 @ 7:30pm
The well-deserved recognition for UK Softball’s Abbey Cheek keeps piling up.
After being the first Wildcat ever named SEC player of the year on Tuesday, it was announced earlier today that Abbey Cheek has made the top 10 list for National player of the year by USA softball.
The senior third baseman leads the SEC in batting average and on-base percentage this season while also being top-10 in doubles, home runs, RBIs, hits, and slugging percentage.
Cheek also holds the school record for career home runs with 60home runs and counting.
Cheek and the Wildcats will start SEC tournament play Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET when they take on the winner of Mississippi State and Ole Miss on the SEC Network.
The Softball Cats are sitting at 23rd in the nation, so they will have to have an exceptional week at the SEC tournament to be one of the 16 national seeds which will allow them to host the first round of the NCAA tournament at John Cropp Stadium. If they sneak back in the top 16 before then, it will be the third straight season Kentucky will host as a national seed.
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
By Brent Wainscott on ©May 07th, 2019 @ 11:00pm
Kentucky was looking to get back to .500 against border rival, Indiana, in front of local teachers for Teacher Appreciation Day at Kentucky Proud Park, and they did just that as they beat the Hoosiers 5-2.
Jimmy Ramsey was much better on the mound today after a dreadful start on Friday that saw him give up five earned runs in just 1.2 innings of work. Today, Ramsey went four solid innings, striking out seven batters and only allowing a run on three hits.
Daniel Harper came in relief and didn’t give up a single base runner in his two innings while sitting down half the batters he faced on strikes.
The rest of the bullpen only allowed two hits and a run the rest of the way.
The Cats got on the board early as two came around on a past ball of all things. Indiana’s pitcher walked Ryan Johnson then hit Ryan Shinn to lead off the game. After a sac bunt moved the two into scoring position, the ball squirted away from Wyatt Cross, and instead of finding it immediately, he took time to argue with the home plate umpire allowing two Cats to score for Kentucky to take a 2-0 lead after one without even having a hit on the board.
Then in the fifth Kentucky struck for two more. One run came when Elliot Curtis executed a PERFECT hit and run to bring home Ryan Johnson from second base. Then, the Cats once again took advantage of another caching error by the Hoosiers when Ryan Shinn scored on a pickoff move from the catcher. The catcher’s throw to third bounced into the outfield which allowed Shinn to waltz home. Kentucky scored on three runs on errors from both of Indiana’s catchers.
Coltyn Kessler would give Kentucky one more run in the seventh on an RBI single that scored Ryan Johnson to make it a 5-2 Kentucky lead. The Cats would hold on to that lead to give them their 24th victory of the year to put them right at .500.
Kentucky will be back in action this weekend when they travel to Columbia, South Carolina in a series that will likely determine who will be in the SEC tournament between the two.
First pitch in Columbia is set for 7:00 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Check out the highlights from tonight’s win:
Go Cats. @BrentW_KSR
By Maggie Davis on ©May 07th, 2019 @ 2:00pm
Kentucky’s star freshman continued to dominate – this time, on a national stage. Rhyne Howard led her team to the 3×3 National Championship game in Las Vegas, scoring 11 of the team’s 20 points. Ultimately, her efforts couldn’t quite get it done – her team lost by one point to the team representing the University of Oregon.
Howard was one of eight athletes that participated in a minicamp after submitting applications and being accepted by USA Basketball. Howard was joined by North Carolina’s Janelle Bailey (center), Drake’s Rebecca Hittner (guard) and Oregon State’s Destiny Slocum (guard). Howard was the only freshman on her team and one of just 21 freshmen competing in the tournament, out of 72 total participants.
Howard led her team to a 3-1 record in pool play before a 17-9 win over Michigan in the quarterfinal play-in game and 14-12 overtime win vs. Yee’go in the quarterfinals. They defeated NC State in the semifinals before falling to defending national champion Oregon, led by Sabrina Ionescu who earned MVP honors.
The two-day event also served as the 2019 USA Basketball Women’s 3×3 National Team trials. The selected roster will be announced later in May.
Until then, Howard will focus on the 2019 USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team Trials, which will be held later this month at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The 12-member team will be selected at the end of trials with training camp to follow July 5-19 and U19 World Cup competition taking place July 20-28 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Maci Morris served as an integral part of Kentucky’s women’s basketball team during each of her four seasons on campus, but today is all about her. It’s the Bell County native’s birthday today.
While she’s now considered a former Wildcat, the name Maci Morris will remain etched in the Cats’ record books. She’s No. 6 on Kentucky’s all-time scoring list, and she holds the record for highest career three-point percentage at 40.9 percent. She’s ranked No. 2 all-time for career free-throw percentage at 85.1 percent.
? TOGETHER ? pic.twitter.com/t9Ll5hmM76
— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) May 7, 2019
A lingering injury affected Morris’ performances down the stretch during her senior season, but she – along with fellow senior Taylor Murray and freshman Rhyne Howard – led Matthew Mitchell and the Wildcats to an NCAA berth and a first-round win over No. 11 Princeton.
Morris is celebrating far away from her eastern Kentucky home, as she’s still participating in the WNBA’s Washington Mystic’s training camp. Happy birthday, Maci! Now go earn yourself a spot on the roster.
By Maggie Davis on ©May 07th, 2019 @ 11:00am
Abbey Cheek already owns Kentucky softball’s all-time home run record, and now she’s etching her name in the NCAA books, too. She finished the regular season with a .631 on-base percentage – good for No. 1 in the NCAA among all players.
Kentucky head coach Rachel Lawson responded to the news via Twitter, saying “So happy for abbey – she has worked so hard at this part of her game.
#DreamBig then #Commit”
Cheek has been a huge part of the Cats’ success this season – Kentucky is currently 32-21 on the season and 14-10 in the SEC. That record earned them a bye for the first round of the conference tournament, so the Cats won’t see action again until Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. Then, the No. 4 seeded Wildcats will take on the winner of Game 5, which will pit No. 5 Ole Miss against the winner of game 1 between (13) Texas A&M and (12) Mississippi State. The game will be shown live on the SEC Network.
Cheek may be a senior, but the South Carolina native isn’t giving up the game just yet. She was selected as the No. 14 overall pick in the MLS Draft (third round) to the Chicago Bandits. She’ll be joined by fellow teammate Katie Reed (No. 19 overall pick).