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"BBN showed out": Kentucky players thank fans for "incredible" home-field advantage

On3 imageby:Tyler Thompson06/10/24


When the game times for Kentucky’s Super Regional were announced last week, there was some grumbling in Big Blue Nation about Sunday’s 9 p.m. ET start. Not only was that very late on a school night, it hardly seemed fair for the nation’s No. 2 seed.

In the end, it didn’t matter. A record 7,558 fans packed Kentucky Proud Park on Sunday night to see the Bat Cats beat Oregon State to advance to their first College World Series. The game ended around 12:30 a.m., but the celebrations continued long after, leading to a sleepy, yet happy Monday across the state. (I saw you yawning. It’s okay. Same)

After the victory dogpile, Nick Mingione asked his players to turn and take their caps off to salute the crowd for their support.

In the postgame press conference, the players gave more shoutouts to BBN. Redshirt junior outfielder Nolan McCarthy, who made the game-winning run, admitted that he wasn’t sure fans would show up because of the late start. He was happy to be proved wrong, calling the atmosphere at Kentucky Proud Park even better than the one at LSU’s Alex Box Stadium last year during the Super Regional.

“We could totally feel them all week,” McCarthy said of the fans. “I was sitting on my couch with my roommates this morning. ‘Like, it’s a 9:00 p.m. game. Do you think they’ll show out?’ And man, this is the craziest atmosphere I’ve been a part of and we played in the Super Regional at The Box [at LSU] last year.

“Just absolute support from those guys and it’s just amazing. It’s amazing that BBN showed out and it was absolutely a home-field advantage.”

“That was the coolest thing ever,” junior pitcher Robert Hogan added. “It’s 9:00 p.m., you’re looking, seeing if people are showing up. 7:25, you see people running to their seats. It’s like, holy cow. It’s kind of surreal. They’re coming to see us play.

“I mean, it’s something — it makes us want to play for them and play for this state even more because having them there, it means a lot. It shows that they’re here for us. And that just makes us want to do better.”

“It’s awesome,” Cameron O’Brien, who struck out five in three scoreless innings, said. “Nothing like BBN getting loud when you get two strikes or get a big out. It’s really special and really helps us out on the field.”

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Redshirt junior catcher Devin Burkes recalled one moment when O’Brien was on the mound that the crowd was so loud all he could do was laugh.

“Just sometimes you have to look around in the game — I’m fortunate enough to be behind the plate so I get a decent amount of time to look around and enjoy the environment,” Burkes said. “And I’ll never forget, after [O’Brien] threw that ball, the slider behind the dude’s head, I looked back at Mr. Brian behind the plate. And he just looked at me and started to laugh. I was, like, ‘It’s loud, isn’t it?’ ‘Yeah, it’s loud.’

“BBN, they did the most for us, and we appreciate them.”

“Big Blue Nation was unbelievable these last three weeks,” Mingione added. “Even dating back to the last regular season series of the year, just absolutely incredible. Our fans really showed out. This is my plea to get them to come to Omaha and create that same environment.”

You heard the man, BBN. Let’s take this party to Omaha.

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