After a slow week of news in the world of UK Athletics, things are starting to ramp up going into the weekend, specifically on the softball and baseball diamonds. The NBA Playoffs are also moving along, with two former Wildcats advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.
We’ll break it all down and more this morning on KSR.
Kentucky softball falls to Florida in the SEC Tournament
The UK softball team is one and done in the SEC Tournament, falling to the Florida Gators in the opening round by a final score of 9-3.
Falling behind 3-0 in the first inning, then 6-3 in the second, the four-seed Wildcats were forced to play from behind throughout the game, never able to close that gap against the five-seed Gators. Kentucky’s conference title hopes officially vanished in the sixth inning, giving up a three-run homer to push Florida’s lead to 9-3, the game’s final score.
With that, the No. 15 Wildcats fall to 35-17 on the year and 13-11 in conference play, with the NCAA Tournament up next. The NCAA Softball Selection Show is Sunday night at 7 p.m. ET. You can watch live on ESPN2.
UK baseball makes final SEC road trip at South Carolina
As the softball team learns its seed and location in the NCAA Tournament, the baseball team is on the bubble fighting to get in. Currently listed among the first four out in Baseball America’s new projections for the field of 64, the Wildcats have a massive series coming up this weekend at South Carolina.
Baseball America’s Teddy Cahill says UK’s series in Columbia could make or break its postseason hopes.
“Kentucky’s upset of Tennessee and North Carolina’s series win at North Carolina State gave the Wildcats and Tar Heels clearer paths to the tournament,” he wrote. “So, what series will impact the bubble race this weekend? Kentucky travels to South Carolina in a series both need and North Carolina hosts Wake Forest in another bubbly showdown.”
Kentucky’s first game of the series will take place at 7 p.m. ET, live on SECN+ and the UK Sports Network.
Here is the remainder of the Wildcats’ schedule this spring:
- Fri., May 13 (7:00 PM): at South Carolina – SEC Network+
- Sat., May 14 (Noon): at South Carolina – SEC Network
- Sun., May 15 (1:30 PM): at South Carolina – SEC Network+
- Tue., May 17 (6:30 PM): Tennessee Tech – SEC Network+
- Thur., May 19 (6:30 PM): Auburn – SEC Network+
- Fri., May 20 (6:30 PM): Auburn – SEC Network +
- Sat., May 21 (2:00 PM): Auburn – SEC Network +
The top 12 teams in the league make the SEC Baseball Tournament, which runs May 24-29 in Hoover, Alabama. Currently, Kentucky’s nine SEC wins are tied with Mississippi State for second-fewest in the league. NCAA Tournament selections are announced on Monday, May 30, and regional rounds begin on Friday, June 3.
The Wildcats need some wins during the final stretch of the season. Can they get them in Columbia?
Miami advances to Eastern Conference Finals, Dallas forces Game 7
Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro have secured a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals, defeating the Philadelphia 76ers in six games (4-2) to advance to the next round.
Adebayo finished with 10 points (5-5 FG), eight rebounds, two steals and one block in the 99-90 win. Herro added 10 points (5-12 FG) to go with three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Tyrese Maxey led the 76ers in the elimination game with 20 points (9-22 FG, 1-7 3PT), four assists and three rebounds. He finishes the year averaging 17.5 points, 4.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds per contest, including 20.8 points per game in the playoffs.
The Heat will advance to take on the winner of No. 2 Boston vs. No. 3 Milwaukee, with the Bucks up 3-2 in the series. Game six will tip off at 7:30 p.m. ET tonight on ESPN.
On the other side of the bracket, Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns were unable to close out their series vs. Dallas on Thursday, with the Mavericks forcing a Game 7 with a 113-86 win. Booker finished with 19 points (6-17 FG), eight rebounds and eight turnovers in the loss.
Elsewhere, No. 2 Memphis will take on No. 3 Golden State at 10 p.m. ET tonight on ESPN. The Warriors lead the Grizzlies 3-2 in the series.
There will not be a Triple Crown winner in 2022
Following its historic upset victory in the Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike will not run in the Preakness Stakes, instead opting to prepare for the Belmont Stakes in June.
Trainer Eric Reed previously told WDRB’s Eric Crawford that he doesn’t like pushing his horses back into action too quickly, opening the door for a potential exit. That exit was made official Thursday, making it the second time in the last four years the Kentucky Derby winner did not run in the Preakness Stakes, joining Country House in 2019.
“Our original plan for Rich Strike was contingent on the Kentucky Derby; should we not run in the Derby we would point toward the Preakness, should we run in the Derby, subject to the race outcome and the condition of our horse, we would give him more recovery time and rest and run in the Belmont, or another race and stay on course to run with 5 or 6 weeks’ rest between races,” Rich Strike’s owner, Rick Dawson, announced.
“Obviously, with our tremendous effort and win in the Derby it’s very, very tempting to alter our course and run in the Preakness at Pimlico, which would be a great honor for all our group. However, after much discussion and consideration with my trainer, Eric Reed, and a few others, we are going to stay with our plan of what’s best for Ritchie is what’s best for our group, and pass on running in the Preakness, and point toward the Belmont in approximately 5 weeks.”
The Preakness Stakes will run on Saturday, May 21.
Happy Friday, Big Blue Nation.