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Kentucky's winning mentality never wavered in comeback win

IMG_8756by:Daniel Hager06/15/24

DanielHagerKSR

Although Kentucky fell behind 4-3 in the top of the ninth inning in Saturday’s College World Series game, it never crossed their minds that they wouldn’t win the game.

Ryan Nicholson tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with a solo home run, and then Mitch Daly belted a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th to clinch Kentucky’s first ever College World Series game victory.

There’s something about those Cardiac Cats.

“[Coach Ammirati] brought us together and he said, this is what we play for,” Mitch Daly said postgame. “Let’s have some fun. Let’s do this. The whole message through the entire day, from Coach Minge and the rest of the coaching staff was don’t try to do more. Just keep being us. And like Ryan [Nicholson] said, we have so much confidence in each other. And when he hit that home run, nobody was surprised.”

Jun 15, 2024; Omaha, NE, USA; Kentucky Wildcats third baseman Mitchell Daly (2) and teammate celebrate after hitting a walk off home run against the NC State Wolfpack during the tenth inning at Charles Schwab Filed Omaha. (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)
Jun 15, 2024; Omaha, NE, USA; Kentucky Wildcats third baseman Mitchell Daly (2) and teammate celebrate after hitting a walk off home run against the NC State Wolfpack during the tenth inning at Charles Schwab Filed Omaha. (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)

Even though Saturday’s walk-off win was Kentucky’s first of the season, the Cats are no strangers to playing in close games. In games decided by three or less runs this season, Kentucky is now 17-6.

“We bunted, we stole bases, we hit homers,” Mingione said. “And you’ve heard me say it over and over, we are whatever-it-takes type of offense and I thought today showed that. Bunts, homers, two-strike hitting, walks, you name it. And when the park plays like this, you’ve got to be able to do all that. I was proud of them for that effort.”

Ryan Nicholson admitted postgame that maybe the players were a bit nervous, but it wasn’t anything they haven’t faced before.

“I think it was a little nervy,” Nicholson said. I felt maybe I was a little more nervous for the first Super Regional game than this. But I just tried to feel like — I’ve played a lot of college baseball. There’s a lot of college games. There just happen to be a lot of people there today. I just try to look at it like that, really.”

It seems like Nick Mingione’s team yearns for the big moments and close games. If anything, it certainly makes for some exciting baseball.

The Cats will now have to wait to see who wins the Saturday nightcap between Texas A&M and Florida, as they’ll play the winner Monday night at 6:00 p.m. CT/7:00 p.m. ET.

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.

KSR’s trip to Omaha for the College World Series is presented by Summit Insurance Group, a veteran-owned, family-operated business. We want to introduce you to Steve Terrell, who is here to help and give you a tip.

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2024-07-24