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Ryan Nicholson continues to come up big for Kentucky

IMG_8756by:Daniel Hager06/15/24

DanielHagerKSR

Ryan Nicholson once again came up big for Kentucky on Saturday, belting a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the game to extra-innings.

Kentucky pulled out the 5-4 win in 10 innings, earning its first College World Series win in program history to advance to the winner’s bracket.

“What a response,” Nick Mingione said postgame. “What a response. I mean, when I tell you guys in the ninth, this team has true belief. They really thought we were going to win the game.”

Since the beginning of the NCAA Tournament, Nicholson has been on another level. He’s 10-23 (.435 BA) at the plate with four home runs and eight RBI.

Jun 15, 2024; Omaha, NE, USA; Kentucky Wildcats first baseman Ryan Nicholson (25) hits a home run against the NC State Wolfpack during the ninth inning at Charles Schwab Filed Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

“I’ve made this comment multiple times,” Mingione started. “But when our offense really got going is when, back in March, we got Waldy in there full time, and when Ryan started hitting the ball over the fence. I think he hit maybe one home run preseason. When you look at the amount of home runs he hit in our league, I think he has the third most amount of home runs out of everybody in the SEC in SEC games.”

Nicholson’s 22 are tied for ninth most among SEC batters, but it’s even more impressive when you take into account he hit just one home run in the first 16 games.

“Not a lot of people are talking about him but there’s a lot of really good offensive players, a lot of good home runs hitters. And he’s certainly one of them.”

Along with Nicholson’s success at the plate, he has truly reached another level as a fielder. Near the beginning of the season, it seemed like a move to DH was possible for the Cincinnati transfer. After making four errors in the span of nine games from April 11-April 27, Nicholson has made just one error in the last 19 games.

“But think about our defensive plays today,” Mingione said. “Ryan Nicholson made two plays where we need every bit — this game, you know this, the margin of victory is so small. What about the high chopper down first base that Nicholson jumps up and keeps fair? What about the pick that Nicholson jumps up and catches? We need every bit of his 6’4”. What about that first-and-second and nobody out and the double play we turned. That’s us at our best.

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