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Posts from February 2014

UK Baseball’s Reed is National Player of the Week

UK baseball’s A.J. Reed was named National Player of the Week by Louisville Slugger for the second time in his career. In UK’s first three game span over the weekend he hit five homers and 11 runs. Reed made school history over the weekend becoming the first UK player to hit two homers in one inning for UK since 2007 when he hit two homers, including one grand slam on Friday’s win. Saturday, he gave UK the lead over Old Dominion with a two-out, two-run single and tied he game later in the seventh inning with a solo homer. On Sunday, he hit another two homers against St. John’s. Reed is up for several national awards this season as well.

Kentucky remains #25 with wins this weekend over St. Joseph’s (13-2), Old Dominion (7-5) and St. John’s (13-0) and is now 5-2 for the season. Kentucky has it’s home opener Tuesday against Wright State at 4:00. 

Lyndsey is an intern and contributing writer at ESPN 1300, you can follow her on twitter for more of her work and personal sports opinions. 
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Freshman Phenom Heady has Big Opening Day

As the headline yesterday read Kentucky defeats No. 1 ranked Virginia, today’s headline reads a little differently.
 
A rising narrative surrounding the University of Kentucky baseball season this year will be the emergence of freshman second baseman Connor Heady. The refined talent that the Prospect native brings to the Wildcats will serve this season as a reminder that the basketball team in Lexington isn’t the only one that yields diaper dandies.
 
Heady, a 6-0 170-pound utility infielder from North Oldham High School, recorded a game of firsts; his first game in a UK uniform, his first win against a top ranked team and his first statistics logged as a Cat.
 
As UK handily defeated Virginia 8-3 yesterday in their season opener, Heady began his tenure as the starting second baseman under six-year head coach Gary Henderson.
 
Batting ninth in the lineup, Heady struck out swinging during his first at bat in the third inning. Kentucky was able to take advantage of a shaky pitching performance by Virginia’s Branden Waddell as they batted through the order, sending Heady to the plate once again in the fourth inning.
 
Digging in with teammate JaVon Shelby on first base, Heady roped a double to left field that would send Shelby around the bases to extend the UK lead to 4-1. For the former USA Baseball U-18 National Teamer, it was his first hit and RBI as a Wildcat.
 
Reaching first base in the sixth inning due to a walk, Heady’s first stolen base would come a few pitches later when he turned his secondary lead into a 60-yard dash. As a well-known draft prospect, many scouts are quick to commend Heady on his base path quickness: he runs a 6.5.
 
His final plate appearance came in the eighth inning as he laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Shelby to second base. A strategic move that would later set up the Shelby run scored, Heady was done for the day having batted 1-2 with an RBI and stolen base.
 
The former No. 3 prospect in the state and five-year varsity letterman, Heady was named preseason as the 12th best freshman in SEC and 38th best freshman in NCAA by Baseball America.
 
Look for the freshman slugger to make a splash this year and become one of the premiere players that Kentucky fields in seasons to follow.
 
Ben Tompkins is an intern and contributing writer for WLXG ESPN Sports Radio 1300. Follow him on Twitter @bennytomp18, on Instagram @bennythekid01, and like his page on Facebook, Benny & The Jets.
 
*Photo courtesy of Twitter.com*
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Louisville Opens Season with Walk-Off Valentine’s Victory

CHARLESTON, SC. — It’s hard to believe with snow on the ground and ice covering the trees that it’s already time for college baseball, but for the Louisville Cardinals, a walk-off Valentine’s Day victory was a sweet start to their 2014 campaign.
 
Friday, February 14th, the defending College World Series participants rallied from a 5-1 deficit to defeat the West Virginia Mountaineers in 10 innings, 7-6.
 
The Mountaineers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Taylor Munden was driven in by a single from teammate Jacob Rice.
 
Louisville went quietly in the bottom of the first inning, a trend that would emerge throughout the rest of the game; The Cards sent three batters up and sat three down in four innings. They managed to light the scoreboard in the second inning when first baseman Danny Rosenbaum slugged a solo shot over the left field wall. A sophomore, Rosenbaum batted .258 and added one homer last season playing in 39 games.
 
Runs scored in the second, third and fourth innings extended the West Virginia lead to 5-1, but the Cardinals’ comeback was sparked in the bottom of the fifth inning when senior catcher Kyle Gibson drove in second baseman Zach Lucas to pull the lead within three runs.
 
As the Cards stepped to the plate in the sixth inning, a Cole Sturgeon single was capitalized when designated hitter Grant Kay blasted a screamer to left center field, narrowing the lead to 5-4.
 
West Virginia added another run in the seventh, but both teams would struggle to find offensive fortitude until U of L knocked two runs in during the bottom of the eighth inning.
 
After a Sutton Whiting strikeout, Sturgeon singled to left field and stole second before rounding third and scoring as Jeff Gardner doubled deep down the right field line. Rosenbaum added an RBI after he rocked a double down the same right field line, scoring Gardner and tying the game at six.
 
Into extras the game went as neither team could touch home plate during the ninth inning. Coach Dan McDonnell sent 2013 First Team All-Big East pitcher Nick Burdi to the mound to handle the heart of the Mountaineers’ lineup. Able to fend off a walk and fielding error by Whiting, Burdi was successful in holding the ‘Eers to scoreless inning.
 
In the bottom of the 10th, Gardner provided the kill shot that sealed the game when he detonated a walk-off bomb that sailed over the right field wall and highlighted the 7-6 win.
 
Off to a 1-0 start to the year, the Cardinals resume play on February 15th when they take on The Citadel at 2:30 pm.
 
Ben Tompkins is an intern and contributing writer for WLXG ESPN Sports Radio 1300. Follow him on Twitter @bennytomp18 and like his page on Facebook, Benny & The Jets.
*Photo courtesy of Fansided.com*
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Kentucky Women's Tennis Tops EKU, ETSU

#38 Kentucky women’s tennis went 2-0 today, defeating in-state opponent EKU 4-0 and East Tennessee State 4-0.

The Cats began the day by dominating doubles. Seniors Caitlin McGraw and CeCe Witten won their first match 8-2, and Junior Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff and sophomore Kirsten Lewis paired up to win 8-3.

In singles, Morin-Kougoucheff has yet to drop a match this season, winning 6-1 and 6-3 to put Kentucky up 2-0. #56 ranked Nadia Ravita gave the team a win over the Colonels top returner, Amandine Faouzi winning both sets, 6-4. Kirsten Lewis clenched winning 6-2 and 6-3 respectively against EKU.

ETSU forfeited the #6 singles position putting Kentucky up 1-0. ETSU’s Giuloa Andreazza retired at the number 1 position after Kentucky’s Kelsey Dieters won the first set 6-1. Kentucky led 2-0 going into the fourth match, which McGraw won 6-1 and 6-2. The match was clenched by Moin-Kougoucheff’s win, the third time this season she has clenched a match for her team.

"I worked very hard last season to improve my game," Morin-Kougoucheff said. "I'm more fit this year so when I get on the court I know I am prepared physically to handle anything on the court."

Kentucky is now 8-1 this season. Kentucky will finish off their 5-match home streak against Ohio State on Friday at 1:00 at the Boone Tennis Center.

Lyndsey is a contributing writer and intern for ESPN 1300. For more of her articles and sports opinions/predictions follow her on twitter @lyndseygough 
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UK Shocks the State on National Signing Day

Wednesday Kentucky football brought in one of its most talented recruiting classes to date. At one point the Cats were all the way to #1 atop the Rivals rankings, but this class finished at #17 and #9 in the SEC (both school records). With 28 signees, including 7 early enrolling, Mark Stoops had what can be considered a very successful first full year of recruiting. With 13 offensive players and 15 defensive recruits Kentucky had a well-balanced class as well.

OFFENSE

Dorian Baker
Wide Receiver
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
6-3, 205
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Drew Barker
Quarterback
Burlington, Kentucky
6-3, 217
Early Enrolled
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 4*
 
Blake Bone
Wide Receiver
Woodruff, South Carolina
6-5, 200
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Mikel Horton
Running Back
Early Enrolled
West Chester, Ohio
6-1, 223
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Garrett Johnson
 Wide Receiver
Winter Garden, Florida
5-11, 175
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Josh Krok
 Offensive Lineman
Niles, Ohio
6-8, 325
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Jarrett LaRubbio
 Offensive Lineman
Middletown, Ohio
6-6, 280
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN:  3*
Scout: 3*
 
Darryl Long
 Tight End
Westerville, Ohio
6-4, 225
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Nick Richardson
Offensive Lineman
Westerville, Ohio
6-4, 270
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Thaddeus Snodgrass
 Wide Receiver
Early Enrolled
Springfield, Ohio
6-1, 180
Rivals: 4*
247: 4*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 4*
 
Jervontius “Bunchy” Stallings
 Offensive Lineman
Hoover, Alabama
6-3, 320
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Stanley “Boom” Williams
 Running Back
Monroe, Georgia
5-9, 190
Rivals: 4*
247: 4*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 4*
 
T.V. Williams
 Wide Receiver
Early Enrolled
McKinney, Texas
5-10, 165
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
The Cats are very young and inexperienced on the line, and in the receiving core. Stoops and staff recruited to fill these obvious gaps. Losing two running backs and one offensive lineman gives this class a chance to come in and compete for positions. I expect Drew Barker to be in the running for the starting QB spot, and Thaddeus Snodgrass and Blake Bone to compete for WR spots. Barker was a huge get for the Cats as far as statements go, choosing Kentucky over South Carolina. Barker also played a significant role in recruiting many of his fellow signees. Snodgrass has an advantage on the rest of his class since he is already in Lexington working out- his hands and route-running ability make him an SEC threat. Bone’s size and quickness give him the ability to compete at an SEC-caliber right away.  Darryl Long looks to compete for a starting spot as Kentucky graduated three tight ends as well. These freshmen also have a good chance to make an immediate impact on special teams as well.
 
DEFENSE
 
Tymere Dubose
 Defensive End
Youngstown, Ohio
6-5, 280
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Mike Edwards
 Defensive Back
Cincinnati, Ohio
5-11, 185
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 4*
 
Matt Elam
 Defensive Tackle
Elizabethtown, Kentucky
6-7, 375
Rivals: 4*
247: 5*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 4*
 
Nico Firios
 Linebacker
Longwood, Florida
6-2, 220
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 3*
 
Ryan Flannigan
 Linebacker
Junior College Transfer (JR)
Missouri City, Texas
6-3, 230
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Dorian Hendrix
 Linebacker
Early Enrolled
Huber Heights, Ohio
6-0, 230
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Cory “CJ” Johnson
 Defensive Tackle
JUCO Transfer (JR)
Early Enrolled
Columbia, South Carolina
6-3, 275
Rivals: 4*
247: 4*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Adrian Middleton
 Defensive Tackle
Bowling Green, Kentucky
6-3, 275
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Kendall Randolph
 Defensive Back
Tallahassee, Florida
6-0, 175
Rivals: 4*
247: 3*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 3*
 
AJ Stamps
 Cornerback
JUCO Tranfer (JR)
Early Enrolled
Vicksburg, Mississippi
6-0, 190
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Lloyd Tubman
 Defensive End
Louisville, Kentucky
6-5, 225
Rivals: 3*
247: 4*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Jared Tucker
 Defensive Back
Stone Mountain, Georgia
65-11, 170
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Kobie Walker
 Linebacker
Olney, Maryland
6-3, 200
Rivals: 3*
247: 3*
ESPN: 3*
Scout: 3*
 
Denzel Ware
 Defensive End
Crestview, Florida
6-2, 240
Rivals: 3*
247: 4*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 4*
 
Darius West
 Safety
Lima, Ohio
6-0, 200
Rivals: 4*
247: 4*
ESPN: 4*
Scout: 4*
 
 
Last season UK was incredibly weak in the secondary, which the coaches recruited to fill that void. Getting Matt Elam and Lloyd Tubman on signing day were two huge statements for Kentucky, beating Alabama and Louisville for recruits. Elam and the linebackers should benefit from UK’s multiple defense. Hendrix and Flannigan could be immediate impact players at the linebacker position. In the secondary I expect to see Stamps and West (granting he is healthy) to take starting spots. We should expect to see all three JUCO players to see immediate field time next season.

Stoops landed four of the top five players in the state with the fifth heading to Western (without Petrino). 16 members of this class received a 4* ranking at at least one of the four major services and 10 were listed in either the Rivals top 250 or the ESPN, Scout or 247 top 300. With Stoops having two recruiting classes under his belt and new facilities and a new stadium on the way, can we expect to see the culture change and a bowl game that the BBN has been hoping for? Let me know what you think on twitter @lyndseygough
 
 
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