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Kentucky's Mingione named Coach of the Year, Lopez named Second Team All-American

IMG_8756by:Daniel Hager06/12/24

DanielHagerKSR

Kentucky head coach Nick Mingione was named Perfect Game’s Head Coach of the Year and DH Nick Lopez was named a Second Team All-American by NCBWA on Wednesday.

Nick Lopez: Second Team All-American

Brought in over the offseason from USC as a utility piece, Lopez blossomed into one of the best players in the SEC. Along with his stellar play, he also emerged into a fan-favorite due to his larger than life personality and Big L-esque mustache.

In 217 at-bats, Lopez hit for a .350 average with 22 doubles, six home runs, and 50 RBI. His 22 doubles tied for 24th most in the country.

Lopez is yet another example of a player near the end of his college career to come to Kentucky and thrive. Just in the past two seasons, Hunter Gilliam (Longwood), Jackson Gray (Western Kentucky), Mitch Daly (Texas), Ryan Nicholson (Cincinnati), and Lopez are impact players who made the jump to Kentucky for their final season of college baseball and thrived.

It’s even more amazing that Lopez, who is a skilled switch-hitter, was not allowed to bat right handed during his time at USC. He talked about that back in March.

“I haven’t hit right handed all last year, and to come back and bring it back to myself feels awesome,” Lopez said.

Nick Mingione: Coach of the Year

After being named Coach of the Year on Wednesday, Nick Mingione has officially won the Award for the second time (2017).

The Cats are 45-14 (which ties the program record for most wins in a season) and are headed to the College World Series for the first time ever. Kentucky clinched a share of the SEC Co-Regular Season Championship for the second time in program history and won 22 conference games, its most ever.

Photo by UK Athletics

“I fell in love with this place in the summer of 2005,” Mingione said Sunday night. “John Cohen gave me the opportunity to come here. And I came from Embry-Riddle. We had been in the College World Series three years in a row. We had come from a program where you just won. That’s what you did. That first year, we won the SEC. And it was an amazing experience. We hosted our first-ever Regional. I saw how the people rallied. Didn’t have big crowds originally, started winning, and people started coming to the games. That’s when I fell in love with Kentucky. And this is the place — you’ve heard me say this over and over — this is the only place I wanted to coach.”

Kentucky is heading to Omaha Wednesday afternoon, but won’t play its first game until Saturday at 1:00 p.m. CT/2:00 p.m. ET. First up for the Cats? The NC State Wolfpack, who took down Georgia in the Athens Super Regional to clinch its fourth ever College World Series appearance.

Follow KSR at the College World Series

KSR the show may not be headed to Omaha this weekend, but the website will be well-represented. KSR baseball beat writer Daniel Hager and videographer Steven Peake hit the road on Friday to capture all the action and excitement for Kentucky’s first College World Series appearance. They’ll be sharing all of their adventures on the site, social media, and special editions of “Bat Cat Beat” and Rapid Reactions on the KSR YouTube Channel, so make sure you’re following and subscribed to keep up with the Cats.

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2024-07-13