Yep, tomorrow’s Caturday. The Cats take on South Carolina tomorrow at 7:30 in what will be the second biggest game of the weekend on the campus of the University of Kentucky. Eight and a half hours before the Cats kick off, the BatCats will host the Xavier Musketeers in a fall scrimmage. The exhibition will be the first game played at UK Baseball’s new stadium. There will plenty of buzz around campus tomorrow, and the opening of the BatCats’ new stadium should only add to the excitement. Here are five things you need to know before you head to tomorrow’s scrimmage.
This is the First of Two Fall Scrimmages
The NCAA blessed baseball fans across the country when it was announced earlier this year that teams would be allowed to scrimmage two opponents each fall. UK took advantage of this new rule and scheduled games against Xavier and Michigan. The Wolverines will travel to Lexington on October 14th for the second scrimmage of the fall. There is always a level of excitement when the team begins intrasquad scrimmages, but the concept of playing competition outside of your team is fantastic. Nick Mingione and his staff will get an early look at how their new group handles live competition with these scrimmages.
Fans Will Get Their First Look at the New Stadium
It feels like just yesterday that UK Baseball broke ground on their new home. Flash forward a year and a half and the stadium is ready to roll for Saturday’s scrimmage. The game will be free and seating is on a first come, first served basis. Check out the video of Kentucky’s players seeing their new home for the first time in August.
How is it possible a $50 million stadium can be even more amazing than you dreamed? Take a walk with our guys as they saw it for the first time last night and you’ll see! #WeAreUK pic.twitter.com/DgBSxVUr48
— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) August 26, 2018
We Will Get a Look at UK’s 2018 Recruiting Class
Nick Mingione put together an impressive recruiting class in his second year in Lexington. The 2018 class was ranked 24th by Baseball America thanks to Cole Ayers and Will Gambino coming to campus and turning down pro contracts. Unfortunately for UK fans, they will have to wait to see Jaren Shelby and Dalton Reed. Derek Terry announced that the two JUCO transfers will miss Saturday’s scrimmage against Xavier. It will be interesting to get an early peek at the guys at the newcomers that will fill the spots left by the 13 players that signed pro contracts this summer.
The Return of UK’s Fireballers
Last season ended with plenty of questions. The biggest question was “If Kentucky’s pitching staff were healthy, how far could the team have gone?” UK had several prominent arms go down late in 2018 as the Cats’ season crumbled down the stretch. Saturday’s scrimmage will allow fans to see a couple of those pitchers return to the mound for the Cats. Zack Thompson and Carson Coleman should see time on the mound tomorrow after missing parts of last season with arm injuries. Saturday could be the first time that we see some of the talented freshmen from the 2017 class that missed last season due to Tommy John Surgery. Ben Jordan and Brad Dobzanski will be ready for the 2018 regular season and we could see them this weekend against Xavier.
It’s Coltyn Kessler Time
I have been a huge Coltyn Kessler fan since his first start last spring. The sophomore catcher/first baseman started nine games as a freshman and collected five hits. The ball jumps off Kessler’s bat and he has the ability to hit for power. The Missouri-native drove in 21 runs and hit .292 this summer in the Texas Collegiate League. Kessler will take over for Kole Cottam and Troy Squires as a sophomore. If Kessler gets a consistent number of at-bats, I think he will be a special player at the plate.
The scrimmage will start tomorrow at 11 ET at the new home of Kentucky Baseball. Before you start tailgating, take an early look at this year’s UK Baseball team.