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The SEC prepared Kentucky for playoff baseball; "Every game was a grind."

Drew Franklinby:Drew Franklin06/15/24


Before Kentucky‘s first-ever appearance in Omaha, the Wildcats won a share of the Southeastern Conference’s regular season championship for only the second time in school history, splitting the 2024 trophy with the Tennessee Vols. Kentucky opened conference play winning 14 of 15 games, the best start in school history, and finished the year at 22-8 in the league, a school record for wins in the toughest conference in college baseball.

UK’s run through the SEC prepared the Wildcats for the postseason. Kentucky went unbeaten in the NCAA Regional and Super Regional weekends in Lexington, setting up the College World Series appearance. Three other SEC teams join Kentucky in Omaha, with Tennessee, Florida, and Texas A&M advancing from their respective Supers.

“The SEC is the best conference in Division I baseball, so competing against these other teams that we’re going to play on our side of the bracket has really helped us,” said Johnny Hummel, who threw the third strike for the final out that punched UK’s ticket to the College World Series.

When asked if he was disappointed to see SEC foes in Omaha, Hummel replied, “No, we’re not disappointed at all. We’re just happy to be here. We’re going to stay with us and play our game and go out there and compete how we know how to compete.”

Third baseman Mitchell Daly added, “I would say in the SEC, it feels like almost every game is a playoff atmosphere, playoff mentality going into it,” he said. “Every game is a grind. I don’t think we’re expecting anything less than that in this journey throughout playoffs and now into Omaha.

“We know that every team here is good. They’re going to give us their A-game. We’re prepared for that, and we’re excited.”

Kentucky against the SEC in Omaha

#3 Kentucky vs. #2 Tennessee – Lexington, KY – April 19-21
Kentucky 5, Tennessee 3
Tennessee 9, Kentucky 4
Tennessee 13, Kentucky 11

#4 Kentucky at Florida – Gainesville, FL – May 10-12
Kentucky 12, Florida 11 (10)
Florida 10, Kentucky 1
Kentucky 7, Florida 5 (10)

Kentucky and Texas A&M did not play in 2024

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