You know spring can’t be far away when Media Day arrives for Kentucky Softball and Kentucky Baseball. On Tuesday, the media got to meet with Rachel Lawson and Nick Mingione along with a few players from each of their teams. The coaches and players of both programs are eager to get their seasons started.
Coach Lawson is beginning her 12th season at Kentucky and noted how far softball has come during her time in Lexington:
Softball has continued to become a bigger and bigger deal on the national stage. Last year, there were over 1.5 million people that watched the Women’s College World Series, which was the highest-viewed
out of baseball/softball since Opening Day. We’ve been a big part of this, as well. In 2016 – Kentucky was part of the most-watched regular season game in the country, and then in 2017, when we were in
Super Regionals against Oregon – it was the most-watched game in the country over Memorial Day weekend. So, we’ve been a big part of the national rise of the sport of softball. I feel very good about where the sport of softball is and that has to do with the media and the support that ESPN has given us.
I feel very grateful to be a part of this great university and we’ve been given all the resources and the staff and what we need to do to compete at the national level. “
Armed with a strong senior class, Lawson and her team is aiming for the College World Series. Each year, they have gotten one game closer and the players noted that they reailzed how close they were and it fuels them to work even harder to get over that last little hurdle.
Kentucky Softball’s season begins this weekend as they play in the Houston Invitational and will face some strong competition (Illinois, Houston, Sam Houston State, and Oklahoma State) over the 3-day event. The Cats will open at home on March 12th when they face Miami (OH). You can listen to all of Lawson’s comments here:
Next up was Kentucky Baseball Coach Nick Migione. In contrast to the Softball program, Mingione is tasked with replacing a ton of talent. As he noted in his opening remarks, the Cats lost their 2 starting catchers, 1st baseman, 2nd baseman, 3rd baseman, shortstop, left fielder, Friday starting pitcher, Sunday starting pitcher, and their best closing pitcher. “Other than that, everyone’s back,” he quipped.
With 22 new players and a brand new ballpark, Mingione said it feels like he’s completely starting over. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There is much to love about the new stadium, Kentucky Proud Park. The new players have been working hard to improve and get ready for the upcoming season. And the Cats still have some strong players returning including, but not limited to LHP Zach Thompson and 1st baseman T.J. Collett who were on hand to talk with the media.
Kentucky’s season begins February 15th as they travel to Clarksville, TN to play Austin Peay. The Cats’ home opener will be February 26th as they face off against Eastern Kentucky University in the first regular season game to be played in Kentucky Proud Park. As in years past, there will be many special events throughout the season (Kids Run the Bases, Kids Have a Catch, Bark in the Park, and many giveaway events).
You can listen to all of Coach Mingione’s comments here:
To see both Kentucky Softball and Kentucky Baseball schedules, you can visit UK Athletics. Follow links on the site for ticket information.
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