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Heroic Big Blue Bombs help Kentucky claim first College World Series win

Adam Luckettby:Adam Luckett06/15/24


Nick Mingione Talks Kentucky's NCAA Tournament Draw

Never a doubt, Big Blue Nation. Never a doubt. Nick Mingione’s Kentucky ballclub refuses to lose and that played out in Saturday’s game against No. 10 seed NC State at the College World Series.

Despite holding a lead for most of the game, Kentucky entered the ninth inning trailing NC State 4-3 and needing the bats to come alive. Boy, did they ever.

It’s a bad day to be a beer (or jello shot) in Omaha.

Ryan Nicholson and Mitchell Daly go up in the clutch

With Kentucky trailing 4-3, Louisville (Ky.) St. Xavier product and Cincinnati transfer led off the ninth inning after a wild pitch allowed NC State to take the lead in the top of the ninth. Kentucky’s big bopper only needed two pitches to evaporate that lead.

Nicholson’s oppo taco tied the game at 4-4 as the veteran increased his big fly total to 22 this season. The in-state native has provided this Kentucky lineup some much-needed pop and delivered when the Bat Cats had to have it.

After getting a runner to third, Kentucky was unable to score another run. Johnny Hummel then worked a three-up and three-down 10th inning with two strikeouts to set the clutch stage again. After Devin Burkes walked and was caught stealing second, third baseman Mitchell Daly decided it was time to end the game.

NC State pitch Derrick Smith hung a breaking ball on a 1-2 count with two outs and the Texas transfer made the Wolfpack pay.

Daly’s seventh big fly of the year was a no-doubter, and the clutch extra-base knock gave Kentucky its first-ever win in the College World Series. Kentucky’s No. 5 and 6 hitters delivered when they had to have it.

Kentucky gets another good outing from Trey Pooser

Kentucky ace Trey Pooser took the mound for Kentucky in Omaha and did what he’s done all postseason. The Charleston transfer put the Bat Cats in a position to win.

Pooser gave Kentucky 6.2 innings before one mistake with two strikes allowed NC State to tie the game with a two-run big blast from third baseman Alec Makarewicz tied the game at 3-3 in the ninth inning. Nick Mingione decided to pull Pooser after a walk, but Cameron O’Brien ended the threat with a strikeout to get the Wildcats to the seventh-inning stretch.

In four postseason starts, Pooser has given Kentucky 25.2 innings and allowed only four hits. NC State’s nine hits was the most the right-handed starting pitcher had allowed all season, but the SEC Friday night starter worked around jams generating nine groundouts and seven flyball outs.

Pooser keeps delivering for Kentucky.

Nolan McCarthy continues to come up big

Kentucky centerfielder Nolan McCarthy got to play hero in Kentucky’s super regional win over Oregon State thanks to his aggressive baserunning and Pete Rose slide. For a stretch on Saturday, it looked like the Michigan native would be the hero again.

After NC State tied the game in the third inning, McCarthy drilled a line drive home run into the Kentucky bullpen in left field to put the Cats up 3-1. In the ninth, McCarty reached first on a single to put the winning run on with no outs following Ryan Nicholson’s home run.

McCarthy continues to give this baseball team a spark.

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