Record crowd comes to Cliff Hagan Stadium despite windy conditions


University of Kentucky junior Ryan Johnson runs to first base during the game against Louisville on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

UK baseball moved the start time of its home game against Louisville up two and-a-half hours to avoid and inclement weather, which ended up being a good decision.

A new Cliff Hagan Stadium record crowd of 4,798 fans showed up to UK’s final game in Cliff Hagan Stadium against the Cardinals on Tuesday, which was an 8-5 victory for the Cats.

The attendance figure is the second most in Cliff Hagan Stadium history, only behind NCAA Regional Final game last season, when 5,005 fans showed up to watch the Cats make their first Super Regional in program history. 

“I’m thanking the Big Blue Nation, this is the fourth time we’ve set an attendance record,” head coach Nick Mingione said after the game. “I guess if the temperature gets above 75, I expect to break the attendance record every time.”

Watch: Nick Mingione talks about the record crowd and win over Louisville

The temperature during the game did hover around the low 70s or high 60s throughout the game, making it a near perfect setting for a baseball game. However, there was one thing that was holding it back from being truly perfect, and that was the wind.

“It was definitely a windy game, at first people were kind of saying that maybe not everyone would show up, but BBN showed up,” said Carson Coleman, who recorded the first win of his career in the game.

The wind steadily blew around 25 miles per hour with gusts around 40 to 45 miles per hour. The wind played a big factor in the game, as the Cats committed five errors in the game.

That’s the most errors they committed in a game since giving up six errors in a game in 2010.

“Prior to tonight, if you had asked me what’s been the best part of our team, it’s been our defense,” Mingione said.

However, after the errors were committed, the Cats would respond with good plays that prevented Louisville from retaking the lead. Mingione was pleased to see the Cats respond positively after allowing so many errors to take place.

“That’s a life lesson for out guys, things aren’t going to go your way all the time, but how do you act when things don’t go your way and we obviously made some good changes,” Mingione said.

Even with all the errors, 14 walks and six batters hit by pitches, the crowd’s excitement never dulled.

Fans still belted at the top of their lungs when “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond played in the eighth inning, and students packed “The Cliff” in right field for Louisville’s final trip to Cliff Hagan Stadium.

“I thought this was the best crowd we ever had,” Coleman said. “I thought this was the most the crowd has ever been into the game which was pretty sweet.”