UK baseball swept in Fayetteville


UK head coach Nick Mingione argues with the umpire during the game against WKU on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won the game 4-3. Photo by Hunter Mitchell.

Charlee Schaefer

The No. 5 Arkansas Razorbacks completed the sweep of the No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats in a doubleheader on Saturday at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas. 

The Razorbacks outscored the Cats 39-15 on the weekend.

UK’s pitching was poor, a problem that the Cats aren’t known for. This year’s club is known for strong pitching, but this weekend was an exception. 

Pitching struggles and an offense that could not seem to produce contributed to the big loss in Fayetteville.

In the afternoon matchup, UK’s usual Sunday pitcher veteran Justin Lewis took the mound. The right-handed junior could not command the ball and the Hogs quickly chased him after a little more than four innings.

In the nightcap, the Cats put their hopes on freshman right-handed pitcher Daniel Harper, but his day ended in the first inning after the Arkansas offense showed no signs of slowing down. UK then turned to junior right-hander Zach Haake, who pitched the most innings that game.

UK used almost all its available pitchers this weekend, and it came back to haunt them. The Razorbacks went to double-digits in their home runs and relentlessly assaulted the Cats.

“They would bend but they wouldn’t break,” head coach Nick Mingione said.

There are still evident defensive issues that are occurring, causing many extra base hits and runs to be scored.

Overall, it was a very emotional weekend for the Cats. Losing the first series of conference play is never easy.

Specific comments were made from the fans about Ben Aklinksi, Sean Hjelle and Mingione, to name a few.

As many fans know, there has been speculation about whether Mingione will leave UK for Mississippi State. He coached there for several years and his name has been thrown in many conversations regarding the open position for head coach.

This is the opposite start that the Cats had in SEC play last year, where they swept the Texas A&M Aggies in College Station. If this series is any indication of how SEC play will pan out, the Cats have a long season ahead as they are now last in the SEC East.

The Cats knew this would be a tough weekend, but they likely didn’t imagine it would end like this. They head back to Lexington and will make the trip to Cincinnati on Tuesday, when they will face Xavier for the second time this season.