Bats stall for Kentucky, fall to Ball State in rubber match


Kentucky Wildcat Ryan Hagenow (24) pitches during the University of Kentucky vs. Eastern Kentucky University baseball game on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 6-3 Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Eric Decker

Kentucky baseball has won 13 of their last 15 games dating back to last season, averaging over seven  runs per game over the past calendar year.

Is it reasonable to still be worried about their offense in the future?

Losing the weekend series against Ball State exposed some of the issues that are a reason for concern once conference ball comes around.  After blanking the Cardinals on Saturday to tie up the series, Kentucky dropped the rubber match 4-2, showing real weaknesses when it comes to clutch run production.

“We didn’t execute as well.” Coach Mingione said. “When they scored the big inning it came back to our execution. We did not execute enough and therefore when you play a good team, and they got good arms, that’s what happens

Over the weekend, Kentucky went 6 for 35 With runners in scoring position, leaving over 21 men on base during the span of three days.

“Give them a lot of credit, they made some really good pitches in some really tight spots.” Mingione said. “We just didn’t come through and I really believe we will move forward.

It’s also reasonable to admit that Kentucky hasn’t necessarily faced the best competition over the past couple years. The only Power 5 school that they’ve faced since 2019 was TCU, who swept them to begin the 2020 season. 

A significant portion of this roster has yet to play in an SEC game as well, nearly half of their starters and pitching rotation haven’t suited up for a conference baseball game in college yet. The same can be said for all teams in the SEC nearly given how everyone lasted the chance last season, but it’s easy to see why it could impact Kentucky even more given the depletion of the program after the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

Still with a couple weeks to refine their approaches at the plate when it comes down to close game situations, Kentucky still has the opportunity to piece it all together before having Missouri come to Lexington on March 19.

Next though for the Cats is an in-state foe. Kentucky sees Western Kentucky come in on Tuesday for a one game matchup at Kentucky Proud Park. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. and will be broadcasted on the SEC Network.