Nick Mingione Praises Big Blue Nation, Ball State Pitching Following Friday's Win

On3 imageby:Daniel Hager06/02/23


Photo by Eddie Justice | UK Athletics

Kentucky Baseball earned its first NCAA Tournament win in six years with a 4-0 shutout victory over Ball State on Friday. Head coach Nick Mingione spoke to the media after the win.

Mingione kicked off his presser praising the Big Blue Nation, Ball State starting pitcher Trennor O’Donnell, and head coach Rich Maloney. The 6’7 O’Donnell gave it all he could on Friday, throwing 119 pitches over 7.1 innings while allowing just three hits and one earned run. The KPP crowd was one of the largest in stadium history.

“I’m so thankful for the fans. I want to thank them first and foremost for coming out. I also want to say how amazing their starter O’Donnell was,” Mingione said. “We have a really good lineup and I thought he did a great job. A lot of credit also goes to coach Maloney, who’s one of the premier coaches in all of college baseball. He had his team ready to go.”

Mingione pivoted from one starter to another, as he began to praise Travis Smith’s outing. Smith lasted just four innings for the Wildcats due to a high pitch count but was extremely efficient. Smith gave up just three hits and no earned runs while striking out four in his time on the mound.

“Travis Smith, what an outing from him,” Mingione added. “He got us going. They had some traffic in the first, but his ability to work his way through that was big moving forward. The job that Mason (Moore) did after that was just incredible.”

The job that Mason did after Travis’ outing was incredible. Moore faced 14 batters and forced 15 consecutive outs, cleaning up a fifth-inning jam. The sophomore was instrumental in cementing Kentucky’s third NCAA Tournament shutout victory in program history.

Minge continued the shoutouts with catcher Devin Burkes up next. Burkes’ solo home run in the fourth inning propelled the ‘Cats to a lead that they would never lose.

“I thought [Devin’s] home run was a huge play in the ballgame,” Mingione said. “I think our guys kind of took a deep breath and got after it after that. Obviously we were able to push some runs across in the eighth. Overall, great game by both teams. I loved the way we defended. We talk about pitching and defense all the time and we got that all around with our infielders and outfielders. Overall, it was a well-played game from the ‘Cats.”

Kentucky will face the winner of Friday night’s Indiana/West Virginia first-round matchup in the Winners Bracket on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. EST.

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