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Kentucky Opens SEC Play At No. 11 LSU

Posted: 4:57 PM, Mar 14, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-14 16:57:15-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky baseball team begins Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a trip to Alex Box Stadium, where the Cats will meet the 11th-ranked LSU Tigers. And while facing the Tigers in Baton Rouge is always a tough task, the Cats hope that an early-season trip to Texas Tech might help them prepare for what they will see this weekend.

Kentucky has posted a 13-4 record so far this season. Included in those four losses are three setbacks at then-No. 3 Texas Tech in February. UK head coach Nick Mingione hopes that his team can draw on that experience as they visit Baton Rouge this weekend.

“That was one of the things, I wanted to take this team in the fact that we could have a team go play a really quality opponent like Texas Tech,” Mingione said. “So here we go, playing another top five opponent on the road. For our guys to see what a home field advantage looks like, to see what an opposing talented team looks like, that will definitely be key. In a lot of ways, I would hope they would say hey, we’ve been there and done that. And that should definitely help us this weekend.”

While the Cats were swept in Lubbock by the Red Raiders, the first two games of the series were very close, something the UK slugger T.J. Collett was quick to recall.

“We definitely learned a lot at Texas Tech,” Collett said. “In the box score, you might see that we got swept. But in the first game, we were one out away from winning that ballgame. In the second game, we were one out away from winning that ballgame. After playing those games, we know that we are really good and we can compete against those guys.”

And while the experience at Texas Tech will help his team, Mingione knows the history and tradition of LSU baseball.

“A storied program, Alex Box Stadium, all the national championships that they have, all of the great coaches, the players, the big leaguers,” Mingione said. “I know our team is looking forward to the challenge.”

Collett also knows a challenge lies ahead, but he thinks his team will respond in a positive manner.

“I think that, more than anything, our team is excited,” Collett said. “There’s going to be a big crowd, big everything. The team is pumped up about going down there and competing as hard as we can.”

Kentucky has won five straight games after topping Western Kentucky 15-0 on Wednesday at Kentucky Proud Park. Collett homered and tripled in the game, driving in four runs, while Dalton Reed also knocked in four for the Cats.

This weekend’s three-game set against LSU begins on Friday with an 8 p.m. ET first pitch. The Cats will send ace Zack Thompson to the mound after the lefty earned his first win of the season last Friday against Middle Tennessee. On Saturday, Grant Macciocchi will start for UK in a 7:30 p.m. ET game. Sunday’s starter for the 3 p.m. ET start has not yet been determined.

The challenge that lies ahead of the Cats this weekend is a tough one, but Mingione and Collett hope that the experience of facing Texas Tech on the road earlier this season will help Kentucky during the weekend set in Baton Rouge.

WEEKEND DETAILS

Friday, March 15 at #11 LSU

     8 p.m. ET; Alex Box Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)

     TV: SECN+; Radio: UK Sports Network (98.5 FM in Lexington)

     UK – Zack Thompson (LHP, 2.78); LSU – Zack Hess (RHP, 4.91)

Saturday, March16 at #11 LSU

     7:30 p.m.; Alex Box Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)

     TV: SECN+; Radio: UK Sports Network (98.5 FM or 630 AM in Lexington)

     UK – Grant Macciocchi (RHP, 1.32); LSU – Cole Henry (RHP, 2.84)

Sunday, March 17 at #11 LSU

     3 p.m.; Alex Box Stadium (Baton Rouge, La.)

     TV: SECN+; Radio: UK Sports Network (98.5 FM or 630 AM in Lexington)

     UK – TBA; LSU – Eric Walker (RHP, 6.92)

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