Kentucky baseball eyes upcoming spring season


Kentucky Wildcats pitcher Tyler Guilfoil (14) pitches during the UK vs. Morehead State baseball game on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 7-5. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Isaiah Pinto, Reporter

Kentucky baseball is less than two weeks out from that beginning of its 2023 season opener on the road against Elon.

Kentucky is under head coach Nick Mingione as he enters his eighth year at the helm. Last season, the Wildcats finished 33-26, going 12-18 in SEC play, which was the second lowest record in the SEC East.

Despite the slow start, Kentucky was one of four teams to finish 9-6 in their final 15 SEC games, but this year’s schedule is highlighted by facing ten SEC opponents, eight of which have a preseason ranking.

“We quite frankly need to build off that (finishing 9-6 in SEC play), so that momentum is carried over (into this season)” Mingione said.

Kentucky won’t face its first SEC opponent until March 17, against Mississippi State at Kentucky Proud Park.

This offseason, the Wildcats added 12 players via the transfer portal, ranking sixth nationally for this year’s transfer class, in response to several departures from the 2022 season.

Pitcher Tyler Bosma is returning for his second consecutive season on the mound for Kentucky and reflects on jelling new teammates into the club house.

“It feels like summer ball at first, because you have so many new guys from different schools… joining together and you realize we all have the same goal,” Bosma said. “We’re all on the same team, let’s have fun and win for Kentucky.”

Even though this is a fresh-faced Kentucky team, Mingione looks to build off newly acquired talent and embrace a universal team mentality.

“We had a conversation amongst our team that winners act like winners before they win,” Mingione said. “No team has won, the scoreboard is 0-0. Everyone has a 0-0 record, but are we acting like winners first?”

Aside from new faces, Kentucky looks to bank on their seasoned players to help mesh the scheme.

Mingione expressed his confidence in his bullpen entering this year, mentioning seniors Darren Williams, Ryder Giles and Seth Chavez to put the team in winning positions.

“We’re going to be super aggressive and we’re going to force our opponents to make plays.” Mingione said. “Less strikeouts, ball in play.”.

One plus side for Kentucky is its entire coaching staff will be returning from the previous season, in addition to Richie Wells becoming their new head athletic trainer with former experience with the Los Angeles Angels.

With that being said, the 2023 season marks new beginnings for Kentucky in more than one area.

The Wildcats will make their season debut on Friday, Feb. 17 when they travel to Elon, North Carolina, to take on the Elon Phoenix.