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Kentucky opens Super Regional with 10-0 win over Oregon State

IMG_8756by:Daniel Hager06/09/24

DanielHagerKSR

Kentucky opened its first ever Lexington Super Regional with a dominant 10-0 win over Oregon State Saturday night.

Right-hander Trey Pooser continued his dominant final stretch of the season against the Beavers. Pooser pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with eight strikeouts. He’s now allowed just one earned run in 19 postseason innings against Arkansas (SEC Tournament), Illinois (Lexington Regional), and Oregon State (Lexington Super Regional).

“I feel like I’ve been trying to do the same thing, it’s just worked out better for me,” Pooser said postgame. “I’ve just been trying to do the same things I’ve been doing all season and it’s worked out a lot better for me this postseason.”

Oregon State was shutout for the first time this season. It is the second game in a row (Indiana State) where Kentucky shut out a team that had not been shut out this season.

Lexington Regional Most Outstanding Player Ryan Nicholson drove in three of Kentucky’s runs via an RBI-double and a two-run home run in the seventh, marking the third consecutive game with a homer for Ron. He’s up to 21 Big Blue Bombs on the season, the second most in a season in Kentucky program history.

Jeff Abbott (1994), John Wilson (1999), and AJ Reed (2014) own the record with 23.

Kentucky Proud Park broke its attendance record once again Saturday, as 7,441 fans filed into the park for Kentucky’s historic win, the first Super Regional victory in program history.

The Cats are now just one game away from their first EVER College World Series appearance.

Photo via Aaron Perkins | Kentucky Sports Radio

Players of the Game:

  • RHP Trey Pooser: Pooser pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out eight batters.
  • 1B Ryan Nicholson: Nicholson went 3-4 at the plate with an RBI-double and a two-run home run, marking his third consecutive with a Big Blue Bomb.
  • DH Nick Lopez: Lopez went 2-5 with a double.

Nicholson hands Kentucky early lead

Kentucky’s Trey Pooser and Oregon State’s Aiden May made starts for their respective teams Saturday night, meaning that two of the hottest pitchers in the country would be opening the Super Regional against each other.

Entering the weekend, May had allowed just six runs in his previous 37 innings pitched (1.46 ERA) and Pooser allowed just one earned run in his last two starts against Arkansas and Illinois (0.75 ERA). Both guys got off to great starts, as both teams were held scoreless midway through two.

Looking to scratch across the first run of the game, Kentucky’s Nick Lopez opened the bottom of the second with a leadoff double down the third base line for his 22nd of the season, which is tied for 24th most in the country.

Lopez moved over to third on a Mitch Daly sac-bunt, bringing up Ryan Nicholson. Nicholson, who broke the single-season home run record for Kentucky in the Nick Mingione era (20), belted what he thought was his 21st of the season. He’d however wait until later in the game to hit that mark.

It bounced off the center field fence, allowing Lopez to score from second. Nicholson’s 10th double of the season gave the Cats a 1-0 lead, their first Super Regional lead in program history.

Pooser dances out of fifth inning jam

Pooser continued to cruise until the fifth inning, where he ran into his first jam of the day.

The right-hander plunked Oregon State’s Mason Guerra to open the inning, then allowed Jabin Trosky to reach safely after a throwing error to second on a chopper back to the mound. Two self inflicted errors for Pooser put two on with no outs.

After getting a strikeout, up came superstar Travis Bazzana. The Cats took no chances with him, walking the projected top-three MLB Draft pick to load the bases with one out.

Pooser responded with a clutch strike out of .403 hitter Micah McDowell, bringing up power-hitter Gavin Turley. Turley, who had hit five grand slams this season, had a prime chance to blow this game open for the Beavers.

Kentucky’s ace however had different plans, as he forced an inning-ending groundout to get out of the jam and keep Oregon State scoreless through five.

Photo via Aaron Perkins | Kentucky Sports Radio

“I was trying to get a groundball to get a double play,” Pooser said. “I don’t really remember how that inning ended, but whatever I did, I was just focused on throwing strikes and getting in the zone.”

Pitre’s double pads Wildcat lead in fifth

The scoreless streak for both teams reached two and a half innings until the Cats extended their lead in the bottom of the fifth.

James McCoy continued his postseason resurgence with a leadoff single, starting the frame hot for Kentucky. Grant Smith was then plunked in the head by childhood friend and fellow Albuquerque native Aiden May, putting two on with no outs.

A Ryan Waldschmidt walk loaded the bases for Émilien Pitre, who entered the game with 18 doubles. He extended that number to 19 with a two-run double to center field, which brought in McCoy and Smith to give the Cats a 3-0 lead.

“I think it was huge,” Pitre said postgame. “Having Ryan and Devin in between me is huge. [Ryan] is arguably one of the best hitters in the country in front of me and Devo just grinds at-bats. It makes my at-bats a lot easier and I got a curveball and didn’t miss it.”

Kentucky takes Super Regional opener

Kentucky headed into the bottom of the seventh clinging onto a 3-0 lead, but held a comfortable 10-run lead by the end of the near 30 minute half inning.

Émilien Pitre and Devin Burkes opened the inning with a walk and a bloop single to left field, bringing up Mitch Daly after a Nick Lopez strikeout.

Daly layed down a bunt back to the Oregon State pitcher, which Pitre was able to beat out for the fourth run of the game. This set off a chain reaction for the Wildcat offense, which built on that score for six more.

After Burkes scored from third on a failed pickoff attempt to third base by Oregon State replacement catcher Will Weber, Ryan Nicholson belted a two-run home run which turned Kentucky Proud Park into a frenzy.

Photo via Aaron Perkins | Kentucky Sports Radio

Nicholson’s Big Blue Bomb was his 21st of the season, which claims sole possession of second most in a season in Kentucky Baseball history.

The Cats scored three more runs on another throwing error by Oregon State’s Weber to first on a Grant Smith dropped third strike and two wild pitches. Suddenly, Kentucky was in the driver’s seat to a 1-0 Super Regional lead.

Left-hander Jackson Nove pitched the final two innings for the Cats, where he struck out four of his six batters faced. Nove forced a Mason Guerra flyout to cement the win.

Victory, CAYTS.

What’s next for Kentucky?

Kentucky will play Oregon State in Game Two of the Lexington Super Regional Sunday at 9:00 p.m. EST. With a Wildcat win, the Cats would head to the College World Series for the first time in school history.

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2024-06-14