Recapping An Historic Day At Cliff Hagan Stadium

Trey Huntsmanover 4 years


Aritcle written by:Trey HuntsmanTrey Huntsman
[caption id="attachment_222760" align="aligncenter" width="774"] UK Athletics[/caption] The BatCats battled for 18 long innings on Sunday and came away with two wins in elimination games. Kentucky and NC State will meet for the third time tonight at 7 ET to determine who plays Louisville next weekend in the Super Regional. Before we get set for tonight's game, here is a look back at the yesterday's doubleheader sweep for the Cats. Kentucky's Offense Woke Up Against Indiana UK poured it on Indiana to move out of the loser's bracket. The Cats reached base 25 times and scored 14 runs against a tired Indiana team. Marcus Carson, Kole Cottam, and Riley Mahan all hit home runs as UK's offense began to capitalize in big time moments. Mahan's home run was a grand slam that was effectively the dagger in the Sunday afternoon game. Kentucky went 8/14 with runners in scoring position and 12/21 with runners on base against Indiana after leaving a combined 24 men on base in the first two regional games. The offense really needed a game like this to start a streak as it gave them some confidence moving into the night game. Kentucky Fought Off Elimination Twice  After the win over Indiana, UK had to come back and play less than two hours later against NC State. The Pack jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but the Cats' offense woke up once again. After tying the game in the third, Marcus Carson gave UK their first lead of the night with a solo home run. Mahan added a RBI single in the fifth before UK scored four in the sixth to take an 8-2 lead. The big sixth inning was evidence of how hard UK had fought to stay in this tournament. Zach Reks and Mahan both drove in runs with singles to start the onslaught. Luke Becker dug out an infield single with two outs and Kole Cottam came around to score on a wild pitch as UK added four runs in a hurry. The gritty performance in the sixth inning helped UK to pull away in an 8-6 win. Mingione Handles The Bullpen Well On Sunday Sean Hjelle and Justin Lewis both had high pitch counts in the first two games, so the bullpen needed to step up if the Cats were going to have a chance to win three games in two days. Zack Thompson went seven innings against Indiana to save as much of the bullpen as possible for Sunday night. Thompson was electric as always against the Hoosiers. The freshman struck out seven in his postseason debut. After Thompson, Colton Cleary and Alec Maley managed to record the final six outs of the game despite Cleary allowing five runs in the ninth. In the second game, Brad Schaenzer went the first four innings before handing the ball to Chris Machamer. Schaenzer didn't have his best stuff, but he saved UK a few innings out of their bullpen. Machamer went 2.1 innings but a Joe Dunand home run chased the freshman in the seventh. Logan Salow was brilliant in the final 2.2 innings. The senior closer struck out four and did not allow a hit as he slammed the door on the Pack. "Get ready for chaos. Get ready for the most messed up bullpen situation you can possibly think of," Mingione said about tonight's game.  Mingione will have a full, semi-rested bullpen on Monday night. He noted in the press conference that everyone will be available except Zack Thompson. If I had to make an educated guess on how the pitching situation will go tomorrow, I would say Logue for three innings, Machamer for two, and then Salow for as long as he can go. If things get interesting, Hjelle should be available for an inning or two. Mingione Gets Emotional In the Postgame Press Conference After the media asked the players questions, Coach Mingione asked for a moment to speak on Carson. He got choked up talking about the student, the person, and the player that Carson has developed into this year. (Top video by Joe Mussatto on Twitter) Riley Mahan Is Playing Outside Of His Head The junior second baseman has stepped up in a big way in the regional. Mahan has driven in 11 runs and hit two home runs in only four games. His defense has been pretty solid and he has made some nice throws on the run. "Our offense all year has been relentless, I'm just so proud of these guys, the way they battled," Mahan said. Kole Cottam Is Kentucky's Hottest Hitter After a great showing in Hoover, Cottam has carried over his hot hitting to the regional. Cottam is now 15 of his last 30 at the plate and has collected a hit in nine straight games. The BBN Was Heard Tonight  As Mingione said in the press conference, over 18,000 people have come to see this team play in the regional. The fans at the Cliff were loud and proud last night.

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