Sports - True Blue Site Sports - True Blue Site en-us Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:04:49 GMT Synapse CMS 10 144 25 State Senate Fails To Approve Funding For Rupp Project Sports - True Blue Site Wed, 16 Apr 2014 5:06:48 AM State Senate Fails To Approve Funding For Rupp Project

Legislators worked into the night Tuesday on the final day of the regular session, but the Kentucky State Senate failed to approve $80 million in funding for Rupp Arena renovations and a new convention center in downtown Lexington.

In a last-ditch effort to secure state money for the project, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray presented a new plan to lawmakers Monday, upping state funding form $65 million to $80 million, but dropping a request to raise a hotel room tax. That bill never came up for a vote.

Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) told the Associated Press that Republicans support the project, but didn't feel "the groundwork had not been laid" to proceed.

"We are still firmly supportive of capital construction projects, including Rupp Arena, when it can be brought to us with a financial project that can move it forward," Stivers said.

Gray called it a setback, but put a positive spin on the legislative inaction.

"Sure it's a setback. But a setback can be a setup for the next round. I've had projects that took years to develop, so I'm patient. A complex, transformational project like this takes time and requires overcoming big obstacles. We'll just keep working. Rupp is a great brand that inspires pride and tradition and through new jobs will bring new life to our city," he said.

Gov. Steve Beshear expressed disappointment in the failure to approve funding for Rupp.

"Rupp Arena, the convention center, Lexington and the surrounding region need this overdue renovation and improvement to attract the conventions and investment that modern facilities bring to city centers," he said. "Delaying this project needlessly delays positive economic development for the central Kentucky region, but I am confident that we will forge a path forward."

The state pitched in $75 million for the Yum! Center in Louisville. That facility opened in 2010. Chair of the Lexington Center Board Brent Rice said the state should step up and do the same for Rupp, calling it a matter of fairness.

"It's hard for me to understand how it's fair for Lexington and UK to be shut out when Louisville has been given $75 million for the Yum! Center and $56 million for their convention center. But we'll work to find a way forward because this project is too important to give up on," he said.

Rice said outdated Rupp can't compete with modern facilities for events.

"Rupp is nearly a 40-year-old facility and we can't attract the concerts, conventions, meetings and other NCAA athletic events that our competitor facilities do today. We just can't compete with a 1970s era facility. This outcome is sad for UK basketball fans and those people who would have had good jobs in the Rupp District," he said.

The Senate did approve a $4.1 billion transportation budget for maintenance and improvement along Kentucky highways.

"I thank the General Assembly for passing the Transportation budget and six-year road plan on time, without requiring a costly and unnecessary special session," Beshear said. "These bills are a critical part of state government operations, as they provide direction and funding for hundreds of road and bridge maintenance and construction projects in every corner of the Commonwealth."


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Bat Cats Sweep Season Series Versus Louisville Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 15 Apr 2014 10:38:46 PM Bat Cats Sweep Season Series Versus Louisville

Freshmen Zack Brown and Logan Salow combined to work six shutout innings in relief and Kyle Cody came on to earn his third save of the year with a shutout ninth, as No. 19 Kentucky posted a 4-2 win at No. 9 Louisville to sweep the two-game series, on a bitterly cold Tuesday night in front of 2,597 at Jim Patterson Stadium.


Kentucky (24-13) and Louisville battled in the finale of the two-game, home-and-home midweek series, after UK won the opener on April 1, 8-3 at Cliff Hagan Stadium. The win for the Wildcats marks the first UK sweep of Louisville since the 2011 season, with the Cardinals entering the game on a five-game winning streak that included a sweep at No. 7 Houston last weekend.


"Well it's good to win," UK head coach Gary Henderson said. "It's a game we want to win every year, just like they do. It's a rivalry game. It's not more important than a league game. I get that every year, twice a year. But we're very glad to win, just like we are every other midweek or in-state team. But Louisville's a good club, Dan (McDonnell) does a great job and it's a good win for us. It's always good win a tight game on the road because it gives your kids confidence going forward."


The Wildcats jumped out to a one-run lead after getting a tally in the second inning. The Cardinals bounced back to chase UK starter Ryne Combs from the game in the bottom of the third inning after loading the bases with no outs, taking a 2-1 lead. UK then plated two runs in the top of the fourth inning, spearheaded by a leadoff walk from All-American A.J. Reed. UK got valuable innings in the middle of the game from Salow (2-1) who worked 3.2 shutout innings, striking out three.


UK added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning, with Brown coming out to start the ninth having worked 2.1 shutout innings in relief of Combs and Salow. Brown walked the leadoff hitter on four pitches, with UK turning to Cody to try and lock down the save. Cody got a key strikeout of the No. 1 hitter Sutton Whiting, before allowing a hard-hit single down the rightfield line, with Kyle Barrett making a nice play, to put runners on the corners and one out for a pinch hitter. Cody got Danny Rosenbaum to hit into a game-ending double play up the middle, with UK senior shortstop Matt Reida stepping on the bag and firing to first to end the game. It marked the second UK win in Louisville that ended on a double play, as the Wildcats posted a win in 2011 that concluded on a strikeout, caught stealing double play.


"That's six innings of freshman pitching," Henderson said about his bullpen effort. "That's significant on the road, there's question about that. So those kids are getting better. Zack Brown is getting better, I've mentioned that a couple of times. But great job by Salow, outstanding by Zack Brown and then obviously bring Kyle Cody in there, the matchup was good for us at that point but he's still got to come through and he's still got to do it and he did."


A sophomore southpaw, Combs worked over two innings, with his outing ending after loading the bases with no outs in the third and walking in a run. Combs finished with one hit and two runs allowed in his two innings, walking three and striking out two.


A native of Ashland, Ky., Salow came on a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the third, allowing an RBI fielder's choice before getting out of the jam with a strikeout-throw-out double play.


"It's the same as it always is," Salow said about his mindset entering the game. "Just come in, throw strikes and keep the ball low. Make sure we get ground balls and keep getting guys out and keep runs off the board."


Salow worked 3.2 shutout innings, allowing five singles and striking out three.


"All Logan did was throw strikes and that was it and that's all we needed to do," Henderson said. "We needed to throw strikes and if we did that we were going to play enough defense behind him to make it work."


Brown came on with two on and two outs in the sixth, escaping the jam. Brown finished with 2.1 shutout innings, allowing just one hit and two walks, striking out a career-high three.


"It was big," Brown said. "It's a big rivalry for the state kids and coming from Indiana you always know the rivalry exists but you really don't know how it feels. Definitely being on the mound I got that feeling. (It's) Pretty significant. Definitely with Louisville coming off that sweep of Houston and coming over here and winning 4-2, it was a good team win. We didn't really swing the bats well but we found four runs and our ‘pen came in and shut them down."


"I thought they both did a pretty good job," Thomas said after catching the strong relief performance from the freshmen. "They didn't let the pressure of who we are playing or what the game was, or the situation get after them too much. Zack Brown had a little rough patch with his fastball where he couldn't keep it off the ground but he fought through it which was the big thing. It's progress for us and for him to go as many innings as he did was even bigger."


The Wildcats were limited to five hits in the game against a stingy Louisville pitching staff, with Austin Cousino, Max Kuhn, Thomas Bernal, Kyle Barrett and JaVon Shelby each notching singles. UK got a run from Reed, Micheal Thomas and Ka'ai Tom, with Tom and Shelby each driving in runs.


Louisville (27-9) starter Josh Rogers (0-2) worked 3.1 innings, allowing two hits and three runs, walking two and striking out a career-high six. Jake Sparger came on in a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth, escaping the jam. Sparger worked 2.1 strong innings, allowing two singles and one walk, striking out one. UL then used lefty Drew Harrington and Jonah Philley to get out of the sixth inning, with Philley getting a huge out to escape the jam. Kyle McGrath started the seventh, getting an out before leaving with an injury. Cole Sturgeon took over to get out of the frame, working 1.2 hitless innings, walking one and striking out three. Robert Strader and Zack Brudi worked the ninth inning for the Cards.


UK will return to action with a three-game series at Texas A&M, starting on Friday in College Station at 7:35 p.m. ET.


The Wildcats got on the board in the top of the second inning, as Thomas was plunked by a pitch to lead off the frame. After a fly out, Bernal lofted a single into shallow centerfield, to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Louisville centerfielder Logan Thomas trapped the ball on the turf with a diving attempt, before throwing the ball into the first base dugout to allow Thomas to score and Bernal to take second.


Louisville answered in the bottom of the third inning, as Alex Chittenden drew a full-count walk to start the inning. Taylor then laid down a bunt on the third-base line for a single and Sutton Whiting loaded the bases after getting hit by a pitch. Combs then walked Sturgeon on four pitches to force in the first UL run of the game. Nick Solak then blooped a would-be single into shallow centerfield, with Cousino fielded the one hop and fired to third base to get Whiting for the first out, with Chittenden scoring from third on the fielder's choice. Thomas and Salow combined to get out of the jam, as Salow struck out Jeff Gardner on a 3-2 pitch and Thomas threw to get the trail runner trying to steal on a double steal out at second.


UK took a lead in the top of the fourth inning, as Reed drew a 3-1 walk to lead off the game, taking second on a passed ball and moving to third on a well-placed grounder from Thomas. Tom then chopped a grounder to the right side, with Reed scoring and Tom just beating the throw after it was bobbled for an error on Zach Lucas. Barrett then loaded the bases with a full-count single to leftfield, with Shelby forcing in the go-ahead run with a walk on a 3-1 count.


Louisville had a great chance in the bottom of the fifth inning, as the Cards got runners on first and second with two outs, with Brown getting a strikeout of UL slugger Jeff Gardner to end the inning.


"It was key in my inning, I know, because he came up with a guy on third and one out and I threw him a breaker and got him to strike out," Brown said about facing Gardner in the fifth. "Keeping him out of the hit column, that was definitely big."


Louisville rallied in the bottom of the seventh as Sturgeon doubled down the rightfield line to lead off the inning, his ninth double of the year. After Colin Lyman's sacrifice bunt moved Sturgeon to third base with one out, Jeff Gardner went down swinging for the fourth time in the game. Brown then got a deep fly out to the track in leftfield from Zach Lucas to end the threat unscathed.


UK got an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning as Reed lofted a fly ball into the infield, taking second on an error after the ball dropped on the infield turf without hitting the glove of the third baseman. Micheal Thomas then drew a walk to bring up Tom. With Tom at the plate, pinch runner Marcus Carson and Thomas took a pair of bases on two passed balls, with Carson scoring the fourth UK run of the game on a passed ball.


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Council Approves Meals, Other Student-Athlete Well-Being Rules Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 15 Apr 2014 8:09:33 PM Council Approves Meals, Other Student-Athlete Well-Being Rules

Division I student-athletes can receive unlimited meals and snacks in conjunction with their athletics participation, the Legislative Council decided Tuesday. The rule, which applies to walk-ons as well as scholarship student-athletes, is an effort to meet the nutritional needs of all student-athletes.

The provision of meals approved today is in addition to the meal plan provided as part of a full scholarship. Prior to this change, scholarship student-athletes received three meals a day or a food stipend.

Council chair Mary Mulvenna, associate commissioner of the America East Conference, said Tuesday's decisions underscored the commitment to student-athletes.

"Today we took action to provide meals to student-athletes incidental to participation," Mulvenna said. "I think the end result is right where it needs to be."

No action is considered final until the Division I Board of Directors meets April 24.

The adoption of the meals legislation finished a conversation that began in the Awards, Benefits, Expenses and Financial Aid Cabinet. Members have worked to find appropriate ways to ensure student-athletes get the nutrition they need without jeopardizing Pell Grants or other federal aid received by the neediest student-athletes. With their vote, members of the council said they believe that loosening NCAA rules on what and when food can be provided from athletics departments is the best way to address the issue.

Members also voted to:

Require strength and conditioning coaches to be certified from a nationally accredited certification body;
Require a school staff member certified in CPR, first aid and arterial external defibrillation to be present at all physical, countable athletic activities;
Reduce the penalty for a first positive test for street drugs during championships; and
Require football players to rest for at least three hours between practices during the preseason. Film review and team meetings will be allowed during this period.

The penalty for testing positive for street drugs, including marijuana, will be reduced to half a season from a full season. Street drugs are not performance-enhancing in nature, and this change will encourage schools to provide student-athletes the necessary rehabilitation.

All of the adopted proposals are effective August 1, with the exception of the strength and conditioning coach certification requirement. The council members voted to delay until August 1, 2015 to allow coaches time to achieve their certification without their jeopardizing their employment.


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UK-UT Softball Time Change on Saturday Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 15 Apr 2014 6:04:15 PM UK-UT Softball Time Change on Saturday

The University of Kentucky softball game against No. 4 Tennessee on Saturday, April 26 at John Cropp Stadium has been moved up to a 5 p.m. ET first pitch. The three-game series with the Volunteers starts Friday, April 25 with a 6 p.m. first pitch and concludes Sunday, April 27 with a 2 p.m. series finale.


The Southeastern Conference softball series between Kentucky and Tennessee is part of Big Blue Weekend at UK as the baseball team will host a three-game series with Ole Miss and the football team will hold its annual Blue/White Spring Football Game on Saturday, April 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET.


Gates for Saturday's softball game will open two hours prior to first pitch at 3 p.m. ET with the UK team taking batting practice on the field for fans. The first 100 fans into John Cropp Stadium for the game will receive a set of 2014 softball trading cards, while the entire UK team will sign autographs after the game. Additionally, fans that enter John Cropp Stadium between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. will be eligible to receive a Nike prize package and will get a $1 coupon to use at the concession stand. Fans who present their ticket to the Blue/White Spring Game will receive free admission into Saturday's softball game.


Due to the multi-event day on campus, softball fans are encouraged to arrive early and should expect heavy traffic congestion. Parking for the day is on a first-come, first-served basis with football and softball parking using shared lots.


Single-game tickets into John Cropp Stadium are $5 for adults, $2 for seniors (65+) and youth (6-18). Children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge. Tickets are all general admission, and can be purchased by calling the ticket office at 1-800-928-2287. Tickets are also sold at John Cropp Stadium prior to each game, and all sales are cash only.


Big Blue Weekend Schedule

Friday, April 25

Softball vs. Tennessee - 6 p.m. ET

Baseball vs. Ole Miss - 6:30 p.m. ET


Saturday, April 26

Baseball vs. Ole Miss - 1 p.m. ET

Blue/White Spring Football Game - 3:30 p.m. ET

Softball vs. Tennessee - 5 p.m. ET


Sunday, April 27

Baseball vs. Ole Miss - 1 p.m. ET

Softball vs. Tennessee - 2 p.m. ET


Softball Moves Back Into Top 10 at No. 8/10 in National Rankings: For the sixth time this season, the University of Kentucky softball team has found itself inside the top 10 in both the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 and Softball Top 25, sitting No. 8 and No. 10 respectively, it was announced Tuesday.


Kentucky (36-8) was ranked 11th in both polls last week, moving up three spots in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and one spot in the Softball Top 25. The jump came after Kentucky went 5-0 last week, defeating Wright State and Mississippi Valley State in non-conference games before a series sweep at Ole Miss over the weekend.


The rankings mark the 26th consecutive week UK has landed inside the top 25 in both polls, which is the longest stretch of consecutive rankings in school history. Kentucky was ranked in 17 consecutive polls from Feb. 2011 to Feb. 2012. The Wildcats started this 26-week stretch Feb. 12, 2013. UK earned its highest ever ranking during this stretch, peaking at No. 5/6 earlier this season.


Kentucky has earned the top-10 ranking after defeating some of the best teams in the nation this season. The Wildcats have 10 wins over teams either currently ranked or receiving votes in either poll, while it is scheduled to play seven more games this season against currently ranked teams with three-game sets against No. 4/4 Tennessee and No. 15/18 Georgia. UK also has a single game left with Louisville, who is receiving votes in both polls.


Softball Hosts Arkansas this Weekend at John Cropp Stadium: Currently riding a seven-game winning streak, the Kentucky softball team will look to continue its winning ways this weekend when it plays host to Arkansas for a three-game SEC series at John Cropp Stadium.


The series begins Friday with a 6 p.m. ET first pitch before a 6 p.m. start on Saturday and 1 p.m. first pitch in Sunday's series finale. Friday and Saturday night's games will be televised by the UK/IMG Sports Network on CWKYT in Central Kentucky and on the entire Fox Sports South footprint. Live stats and free radio for all three games will be available online at


Fans will have countless promotions to get involved with this weekend at John Cropp Stadium, including the entire UK team signing autographs on Saturday and Sunday following each game. The series will serve as Little League Weekend at JCS as all little leaguers will receive free admission to all three games, while a poster station will be set up on the main concourse for fans to make a poster to help cheer on the Wildcats. The first 100 fans into John Cropp Stadium on Sunday will receive a set of 2014 softball trading cards.


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Rupp Arena Financing Plan Still In Limbo Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 15 Apr 2014 4:22:10 PM Rupp Arena Financing Plan Still In Limbo

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A last-minute proposal to insert state-backed bonding into the financing package to renovate Rupp Arena remained in limbo Tuesday as supporters tried to win over reluctant Republican senators on the final day of the Kentucky legislative session.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, remained noncommittal as the hours ticked toward the end of this year's regular session. GOP senators met privately to review the financing plan to renovate the home court of the University of Kentucky men's basketball team.

"I cannot in any way guarantee success, nor failure, at this point in time," Stivers told reporters.

Rupp Arena appeared to be among a handful of issues that could come up in the waning hours of the legislative session.

Senators planned to vote on a state transportation plan in the early evening, and then turn their attention to the few remaining matters, Stivers said.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear was leading the push to authorize state-backed bonds to help pay for the renovations.

Beshear said he was pressing the issue in talks with senators.

"The House is ready to move forward on that project, and I'm working with the Senate to see if we can get some movement there," Beshear said.

Republican Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr of Lexington said she made the case for providing the state-backed bonding as Senate Republicans discussed the issue behind closed doors. Kerr said she didn't have "a good feel either way" on whether her Republican colleagues would back the proposal.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo said the project was supported by Democrats in charge of the House.

Beshear has said the new financing proposal calls for $80 million in state-backed bonding but does not include another long-sought element - a proposal allowing Lexington officials to raise the city's hotel tax to help pay for the project.

The hotel tax measure passed the House but stalled in the Senate.

Lawmakers already refused to include $65 million in Rupp Arena-related state bonding in the $20.3 billion, two-year state budget that passed the legislature. Leaders in the Republican-led Senate signaled they did not want to commit state money unless the city and the university have a long-term agreement for Rupp Arena to host the basketball games. The Kentucky men's team has played at Rupp since the 1970s.

Beshear has been among those trying to recruit lawmakers to support financing the project, which would include building a new convention center and updating Rupp Arena in downtown Lexington.

Lawmakers received a briefing from the university and Lexington officials Monday to discuss the proposed construction plan and how to pay for it.

The renewed effort comes just a week after the Kentucky basketball team came up just short of another national championship, losing to Connecticut in the title game.

Beshear has compared the Rupp project to one that resulted in a new home for the University of Louisville's basketball teams. The KFC Yum Center in downtown Louisville opened in 2010 with the help of $75 million in state-backed bonds.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


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Coach Calipari Announces Book Signing Dates Across State Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 15 Apr 2014 1:30:57 PM Coach Calipari Announces Book Signing Dates Across State

Beginning Thursday with a stop in Lexington, Coach Cal will make his way around the state to meet with fans and sign copies of the book.

Below is a schedule of the local book-signing tour.

April 17at 6 p.m. - LexingtonJoseph-Beth Booksellers - 161 Lexington Green Circle, Lexington, KY 40503
April 18 at 6 p.m. -LouisvilleBarnes & Noble - 4100 Summit Plaza Dr., Louisville, KY 40241
April 19at 2 p.m. - NicholasvilleSam's Club- 103 Bryant Dr., Nicholasville, KY 40356
April 21 at 6 p.m. - CincinnatiJoseph-Beth Booksellers- 2785 Dixie Hwy., Crestview, KY 41017
April 22 at 6 p.m. CT - Bowling GreenBarnes & Noble- 1680 Campbell Ln., Bowling Green, KY 42104
*April 24 at 7 p.m. - LouisvilleCarmichael's Bookstore- 2117 Payne St., Louisville, KY 40206
April 29at 6 p.m. - LexingtonBarnes & Noble1932 - Pavilion Way, Lexington, KY 405096 p.m.

All times are subject to change.

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Stallworth Selected In Third Round Of WNBA Draft Sports - True Blue Site Tue, 15 Apr 2014 12:11:21 AM Stallworth Selected In Third Round Of WNBA Draft

LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky women's basketball senior forward DeNesha Stallworth was the 25th overall selection in the 2014 Women's National Basketball Association Draft as she was chosen by the Connecticut Sun in the third round on Monday night in Montville, Conn.


Stallworth was one of five players from the Southeastern Conference selected on Monday night, joining Vanderbilt's Christina Foggie, Tennessee's Meighan Simmons, LSU's Theresa Plaisance and Missouri's Bri Kulas. With the selection, Stallworth becomes the fourth Wildcat to be drafted in the WNBA and third in the last four years. Former All-Americans A'dia Mathies (10th overall pick in 2013) and Victoria Dunlap (11th overall pick in 2011) join Shantia Owens (53rd overall pick in 2000) as the other UK Hoops draftees.


A native of Richmond, Calif., Stallworth led the team in field goal percentage (.524), field goals made (151) and steals (44), while ranking second in scoring (12.5), rebounding (6.9) and blocked shots (35). Stallworth scored in double-figures 21 times this season, including nine straight to end the season. Stallworth earned multiple honors throughout her senior campaign including, WBCA Region 3 All-America Team, SEC All-Tournament Team, All-SEC Second Team by the league's coaches and All-SEC honorable mention by the Associated Press.

Stallworth finished her career with 1,740 career points (812 at UK) and 871 rebounds (417 at UK). She ranks ninth on Kentucky's all-time double-doubles list with 15. The 6-foot-3 forward is part of a senior class that finished with a record of 109-31, which ranks second all-time in program history.

Follow UK Hoops on Twitter and Instagram at @UKHoopCats and on Facebook by liking University of Kentucky Women's Basketball.




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Cauley-Stein To Return for Junior Season Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 14 Apr 2014 6:36:49 PM Cauley-Stein To Return for Junior Season

Sophomore forward Willie Cauley-Stein will return to the Kentucky men's basketball program for the 2014-15 season, it was announced Monday.

"I want to come back and have a chance to win a national championship, while also getting closer to earning my degree," Cauley-Stein said. "Being at the Final Four this year was special, but not being able to help my teammates on the floor was tough. I look forward to helping us get back there next year, while playing in front of the best fans in the nation."

Cauley-Stein earned All-Southeastern Conference Defensive Team accolades during the 2013-14 season, the sixth UK player in the last five seasons to earn the distinction. With four rejections against Kansas State in Kentucky's opening round of the NCAA Tournament, Cauley-Stein moved into a tie for second place in the single-season standings for blocks with 106 on the year. Only Anthony Davis (186) had more in a single year. That total also ranked in the top 10 nationally for the year.

"I'm happy for Willie and also proud of him for making the best decision for him and his family," head coach John Calipari said. "Being in school for at least three years will get him closer to having a degree and will help him prepare for the next level and life afterwards."

The 7-foot sophomore has totaled 166 blocks in his career, which ranks sixth all-time in program history.

The Olathe, Kan., native had perhaps the most stunning defensive performance in Kentucky's regular-season win over Georgia. He posted six blocks and six steals in the same contest to become the first player in school history to achieve that feat.


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Louisville F Harrell To Return For Junior Season Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 14 Apr 2014 6:04:37 PM Louisville F Harrell To Return For Junior Season

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell has announced that he's returning for his junior season with the Cardinals.

Harrell had been projected as a possible late first-round NBA draft selection after becoming an imposing force on both ends for the Cardinals (31-6) last season. The 6-foot-8 power forward led Louisville with 8.4 rebounds per game, was second to Russ Smith in scoring at 14.0 points and just two behind blocks leader Mangok Mathiang with 49.

Cardinals coach Rick Pitino described Harrell's return as "obviously great news" in a release, adding that he believes his co-captain will benefit from playing another season.

A first-team all-American Athletic Conference selection, Harrell also set a Louisville season record with 97 dunks including several with enough force to leave basket supports shaking for several seconds after scoring.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


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Reds, MLB Honor Jackie Robinson On April 15 Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 14 Apr 2014 5:14:10 PM Reds, MLB Honor Jackie Robinson On April 15

CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati Reds and Major League Baseball will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day on Tuesday to honor the legacy of the legendary Hall of Famer and for the sixth consecutive year, all players and on-field personnel will wear Number 42.

The annual celebration to commemorate the 67th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier in 1947 will feature on-field, pre-game ceremonies at Great American Ball Park that include:
• Chuck Harmon, the first African-American to play for the Reds, will be presented with the 2014 Powel Crosley, Jr. Award and serve as the Honorary Captain of the Game.
• Clay Holland from Holland and Holland, Inc. will accept the 2014 Most Valuable Diverse Business Partner Award from Hall of Famer Joe Morgan and Sean Rugless, President and CEO of the African-American Chamber of Commerce. The award is presented annually by the Reds and Major League Baseball.
• Players and coaches from historically black Kentucky State University baseball team and Trevecca Nazarene University baseball team will be recognized. The two teams are playing the first collegiate game at new P&G Cincinnati MLB Urban Youth Academy on April 15 at 2 p.m. at Roselawn Sports Park.
• Jackie Robinson Day jeweled bases and lineup cards will be featured and the Number 42 will be stenciled on the field.
• The jerseys worn by the players and bases used during the game will be available to purchase from Reds Authentics with proceeds benefiting the Reds Community Fund.
• One Number 42 Reds jersey will be signed and auctioned-off on, with the proceeds benefitting the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

"We are proud to join Major League Baseball in celebrating Robinson's legacy and immeasurable contributions to the game," said Rick Walls, Executive Director of the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum. "The Number 42, worn proudly on the uniforms on April 15 and displayed continuously in ballparks across the nation, serves as a reminder and pays tribute to how one man transformed the game. The game of baseball continues to feel the influence of Jackie Robinson on the field and in the stands."

Chuck Harmon will sign autographs and meet with fans at the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The signing is free with Museum admission. The 60th anniversary of Harmon's debut with the Reds is April 17th and he will celebrate his 90th birthday on April 23rd.

Fans can visit the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum to see the following artifacts:
• Harmon's game used spikes
• Scott Rolen's game used Number 42 jersey from Jackie Robinson Day in 2011
• Eric Davis' road jersey from 1997 (He shortened the sleeves to pay tribute to Jackie Robinson)

On Tuesday morning at 9:42 a.m. ET, baseball fans worldwide will be encouraged to commemorate Jackie Robinson Day with a worldwide Twitter thank you using the hashtag #Jackie42. is a custom Instagram page where fans can share their thoughts and photos in support of Jackie Robinson Day, including using the hashtag #Jackie42.



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Lawmakers Reviewing Rupp Arena Financing Proposal Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 14 Apr 2014 3:58:40 PM Lawmakers Reviewing Rupp Arena Financing Proposal

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Supporters of a plan to help finance Rupp Arena's renovation are mounting one last effort to persuade Kentucky lawmakers to include state-backed bonding for the project. It's the legislative equivalent of a last-second shot at the buzzer.

Gov. Steve Beshear said Monday he's trying to win support for a plan that calls for $80 million in state-backed bonds to help renovate the home of the University of Kentucky men's basketball team. Officials from Lexington and UK are pressing their case with lawmakers.

Lawmakers refused to include $65 million in state-backed bonds in the two-year state budget that passed the General Assembly.

Beshear says the revised financing plan does not depend on letting Lexington officials increase their local hotel tax. That proposal passed the House but has stalled in the Senate.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. )


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Cal Reveals The Tweak Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 14 Apr 2014 9:03:41 AM Cal Reveals The Tweak

University of Kentucky coach John Calipari revealed the secret of the tweak Monday morning.

During an interview on CBS This Morning, Coach Cal said the tweak involved making the game easier for Andrew Harrison. Cal said he showed Harrison video of NBA point guard Deron Williams, focusing on when the NBA star passed and shot. Then during the next practice, he told Harrison not to shoot the ball. Cal said during the practice, Harrison had 26 assist attempts.

"It changed my team," Cal said.

Calipari said he actually apologized to the team for not realizing the need for that tweak earlier.


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UK Athletics Spring Scrimmage Video Sports - True Blue Site Mon, 14 Apr 2014 7:25:07 AM UK Athletics Spring Scrimmage Video

The University of Kentucky Athletics Department put together a pretty cool video montage from the spring scrimmage on Saturday.


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UK Softball Sweeps Ole Miss Sports - True Blue Site Sun, 13 Apr 2014 9:28:06 PM UK Softball Sweeps Ole Miss

University of Kentucky sophomore infielder Nikki Sagermann hit two solo home runs, including the game-winning shot in the 10th inning, while senior outfielder Emily Gaines had two hits and four RBI and fellow senior Lauren Cumbess launched a three-run home run, pacing No. 11 Kentucky to a 11-4 victory in 10 innings to complete a series sweep vs. Ole Miss on Sunday in Oxford, Miss.


Kentucky (36-8, 10-5 Southeastern Conference) trailed Ole Miss (20-22, 3-12 SEC) 4-2 heading into the sixth inning with the Rebels turning to senior pitcher Shelby Jo Fenter in the circle. After Fenter got the first out of the inning on a lineout to rightfield, Sagermann hit her seventh home run of the season to leftfield to cut the lead to 4-3 before fellow sophomore Christian Stokes belted her third homer of the season a few pitches later to tie the game 4-4.


The score stayed tied at 4-4 heading into the top of the 10th inning before Sagermann hammered a leadoff home run over the wall in centerfield to give UK a 5-4 lead it did not relinquish. The solo shot wasn't the end of the rally as UK posted seven runs in the inning, getting a RBI single from senior Ginny Carroll, a two-RBI single from Gaines and a three-run homer by Cumbess.


The seven-run 10th inning gave UK an 11-4 lead heading to the bottom of the frame, which was all the support sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley needed, keeping the Rebels scoreless in the 10th to earn her 17th win of the season.


Kentucky's 36 wins this season ties the second most of any team in program history in regular season action. The Wildcats had 36 regular-season wins in 2000 before the 2013 team posted 38 regular-season wins. Entering Rachel Lawson's tenure at Kentucky in 2008, the Wildcats had only won 10 or more conference games twice in program history, but have now accomplished that task in six straight years under Lawson's guidance after earning its 10th SEC win Sunday.


UK claimed the series against Ole Miss after a pair of 3-1 victories Friday and Saturday. The series win marked the seventh straight for the Wildcats over the Rebels with UK claiming series wins in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and now 2014. The stretch of seven consecutive series wins is the longest for UK over any league team in program history. Kentucky is now 13-4 against Ole Miss under Lawson's seven-year tenure.


The series win was the fourth of the season for Kentucky in five league sets. The Wildcats started league action by winning two of three games at Mississippi State, who was receiving votes at the time, before claiming two wins at then-No. 16 Missouri the following weekend. After dropping a series to then-No. 21 Auburn two weekends ago, UK has responded with series wins over then-No. 18 Texas A&M and Ole Miss. The four series wins this season in conference action ties the third most SEC series wins in school history. UK also won four league sets in 2000, 2009, 2010 and 2013. The Wildcats won five conference series in 2011 and a program-best six in 2012.


Cumbess paced the Kentucky offense in the game, going 3-for-6 with three RBI and a run scored, including a three-run home run. The senior extended her hitting streak to six games and now has nine multi-RBI games this season. Gaines had two hits in the game to extend her reach-base-safely streak to 18 games with a two-run homer and two-run single, while Sagermann had two hits - both solo home runs - to move her home run total to eight this season with a team-best 34 RBI.


Stokes was the only other Wildcat to post a multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and her third home run of the season, while sophomore outfielder Sylver Samuel went 1-for-4 with two runs scored, extending her hitting streak to a season-best seven games. Junior catcher Griffin Joiner went 1-for-5 in the game with a single and run scored, while Carroll had a RBI single and Jolly went 1-for-4 with a walk and a single.


Freshman pitcher Shannon Smith started in the circle for Kentucky, throwing 2.1 innings, allowing two runs - all earned - on three hits with two strikeouts. Nunley replaced Smith with two runners on in the third inning and allowed two runs before moving to first base for freshman Meagan Prince to throw a near perfect sixth and seventh innings. Nunley reentered the game in the bottom of the eighth inning and tossed three strong innings to pick up the win, moving to 17-4 this season in the circle. Nunley threw 5.2 innings on the day, allowing two earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts.


Ole Miss started Carly Hummel in the circle with the senior throwing 8.2 innings, allowing three runs - all earned - on seven hits with six strikeouts. Hummel threw the first five innings of the game before making way for Fenter, who recorded an out to start the sixth and then gave up back-to-back homers and was removed from the game. Hummel reentered in the sixth and pitched well until giving up the home run to Sagermann to start the 10th. Hummel received the loss, moving to 9-9 on the year. Madi Osias tossed the final inning, allowing six earned runs on four hits with two strikeouts.


Offensively, senior Londen Ladner paced Ole Miss, going 3-for-4 with two RBI, while Allison Brown and Courtney Syrett each record RBI as well.


The Wildcats will be back in action next weekend when it hosts Arkansas in SEC play. The series starts Friday with a 6 p.m. ET first pitch before a 6 p.m. ET start on Saturday and 1 p.m. ET series finale on Sunday.


For the latest on UK softball, follow "@UKSoftball" on Twitter and Instagram or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.



Kentucky - 36-8, 10-5 SEC

Ole Miss - 20-22, 3-12 SEC


Kentucky - No. 11 in Softball Top 25; No. 11 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25
Ole Miss - not ranked


Friday, April 11

Kentucky def. Ole Miss 3-1


Saturday, April 12

Kentucky def. Ole Miss 3-1


Sunday, April 13

Kentucky def. Ole Miss 11-4 (10)


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Towns, UK Playing in Spain? Sports - True Blue Site Sun, 13 Apr 2014 9:26:39 PM Towns, UK Playing in Spain?

Karl Towns Jr., at 17 years old, has more experience and exposure to the best competition than most college basketball players.

At age 16, Towns made the Dominican Republic national basketball team, which competes against the best talent in the world. In fact, the Dominican team will be competing in the 2014 World Cup this summer in Spain. 

On Sunday evening, Yahoo Sports reporter Marc Spears released an article about Towns and mentioned the possibility of UK playing in Spain this summer as well:

"Towns' father said it's still undecided as to whether his son will play for the Dominican Republic in the 2014 World Cup in Spain or for Kentucky in an exhibition summer slate in Spain. It appears to be Kentucky coach John Calipari's decision."

UK Spokesman John Hayden tells Lex18 Sports that nothing has been confirmed about the above comments.

If you want to read the entire article, click here. 


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No. 14 UK Tennis Earns 3-Seed in SEC Tournament Sports - True Blue Site Sun, 13 Apr 2014 8:31:20 PM No. 14 UK Tennis Earns 3-Seed in SEC Tournament

After dropping a tight doubles point to the No. 15 University of Florida Gators, the No. 14 University of Kentucky men's tennis team rallied to win on two singles courts, but was unable to complete the comeback in singles as the Wildcats fell to Florida, 4-2, on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon on Senior Day in Lexington.


The Wildcats will be the No. 3 seed in the 2014 Southeastern Conference Tournament to be held next week in Nashville, Tenn., and will be hosted by the Vanderbilt University Commodores. By securing a top-four seed, the Wildcats earned a double-bye and will not see action until Friday.


On Friday morning at 9 a.m. CT, 10 a.m. ET, the Wildcats will play in the quarterfinal round against the No. 6 seed Tennessee or No. 11 Ole Miss. Kentucky beat both Tennessee and Ole Miss in the regular season, with the win over Tennessee coming on the road in Knoxville.


Kentucky lost the doubles court via a tiebreak on court one, as the Wildcats won on court two, but lost on the other two courts to give UF the early 1-0 lead in the match. Tom Jomby and Kevin Lai faced off against Floret Diep and Gordon Watson on court one, and fell in thetiebreak after there were no breaks of serve after all 14 service games in the match.


In singles, Kentucky tied the match at 1-1 when No. 95 Alejandro Gomez was able to solidify a 6-2, 6-1 win on court two to square the match. The win for Gomez on Senior Day was relatively easy, as he broke five times in the match and only dropped serve one time in his win. The win for Gomez was his fifth-straight, as he continues to play well on court two for the Wildcats.


After Florida re-gained the lead at 2-1 with a win on court three, Kevin Lai squared the match at 2-2 with a 6-0, 7-5 win on court four. The sophomore from Taiwan had no problems in the opening set, winning 6-0 before getting ahead at 5-3 in the early part of the second set and had a chance to serve out the match leading 5-3. Lai was then broken, but held for 6-5, where he broke his opponent, No. 82 Elliott Orkin, to win 7-5 in the second set.


After a Florida win on court six, the match then came down to court one, where Florent Deip had a set and a break lead on No. 13 Tom Jomby, leading 6-4, 5-4 and serving for the match. After three deuces, Jomby broke for the first time all match and forced a second-set tiebreak on court one. Jomby then fell in th tiebreak after a back-and-forth affair, and fell, 9-7 after having a set point to force a third set.


Freshman Jerry Lopez dropped the first set, but rallied to force a third set in the only remaining match on court at the time of the clinch. Lopez was up a break at 4-3 in the final set at the time of the clinch and looked destined to win the match there for the Wildcats.


In the nightcap, the Wildcats defeated Murray State with singles wins from Gomez, Pennington, Lopez, Nils Ellefsen, Lai and Maks Gold.



No. 15 Florida 4, No. 14 Kentucky 2

Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center - Lexington, Ky.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Match Duration: 3:37


Doubles (Order of finish: 2, 3, 1*)

1- Florent Diep/Gordon Watson (UF) def. No. 20 Tom Jomby/Kevin Lai (UK) 8-7 (5)

2- Beck Pennington/Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. Maxx Lipman/Elliott Orkin (UF) 8-3

3- Michael Alford/Diego Hidalgo (UF) def. Maks Gold/Nils Ellefsen (UK0 8-3


Singles (Order of finish: 2, 3, 5, 6, 1*)

1- No. 120 Florent Diep (UF) def. No. 13 Tom Jomby (UK) 6-4, 7-6 (7)

2- No. 95 Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. No. 106 Gordon Watson (UF) 6-2, 6-1

3- Maxx Lipman (UF) def. No. 112 Beck Pennington (UK) 6-2, 6-4

4- Jerry Lopez (UK) led Diego Hidalgo (UF) 2-6, 6-3, 4-3 (DNF)

5- Kevin Lai (UK) def. No. 82 Elliott Orkin (UF) 6-0, 7-5

6- Michael Alford (UF) def. Grant Roberts (UK) 6-4, 6-2



No. 14 Kentucky 4, Murray State 0

Hilary J. Boone Varsity Tennis Center - Lexington, Ky.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Match Duration: 0:59


Singles (Order of finish: 5, 6, 1, 3*)

1- No. 95 Alejandro Gomez (UK) def. Adam Taylor (MSU) 6-1, 6-1

2- Max McLean (MSU) led Beck Pennington (UK) 6-3, 0-3 (DNF)

3- Jerry Lopez (UK) def. Nicholas Mitric (MSU) 6-1, 6-0

4- Nils Ellefsen (UK) def. Davis Hess (MSU) 6-0, 3-2 (DNF)

5- Kevin Lai (UK) def. No. Anjan Kashyab (MSU) 6-0, 6-0

6- Maks Gold (UK) def. Mateo Barroetavena (MSU) 6-1, 6-0


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Missouri Wins Rubber Match Versus Bat Cats Sports - True Blue Site Sun, 13 Apr 2014 5:06:56 PM Missouri Wins Rubber Match Versus Bat Cats

Missouri fifth-year senior Eric Anderson worked a strong start on the mound and drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning to post an 8-3 win over No. 12 Kentucky to claim the series, on a windy Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium.


Kentucky (23-13, 7-8 Southeastern Conference) and Missouri faced off the rubber match of the series on Sunday, after the Tigers won the opener, 8-7 with a three-run homer from Anderson in the eighth inning erasing UK's two-run lead. UK answered to even the series on Saturday with a 12-0 win, before the Tigers jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the third. UK got two runs back in the third, with the two teams trading single runs in the fourth for the Tigers and the fifth for UK. Missouri then took advantage of a pair of misplayed double play balls that went as errors in the ninth inning to stretch its lead to 8-3.


A former member of the USA Collegiate National Team, Anderson (2-2) gave the Tigers the lead with his third hit of the game, a two-out RBI single to centerfield in the top of the sixth inning. He finished working seven innings on the mound, allowing nine hits and three runs, walking one and striking out 10.


The Wildcats were paced at the plate by a three-hit game from Austin Cousino, with Micheal Thomas and Thomas Bernal also charting a multiple-hit game. Max Kuhn got UK on the board with a two-RBI double in the third inning, with UK also getting hits from A.J. Reed and Matt Reida.


UK starter Andrew Nelson (1-3) worked six innings, allowing 10 hits and four runs, walking three and striking out two. Sophomore Ryne Combs replaced Nelson to start the seventh, working an inning and allowing a hit with a strikeout. After an error led off the top of the eighth inning, UK turned to Kyle Cody in relief. Cody worked around a second error in the inning and an infield single in the eighth. Cody loaded the bases without an out in the ninth, getting an out, before allowing a RBI single with the infield in. Freshman Zack Brown came on in a bases-loaded jam with one out in the ninth, getting the final two outs.


Holding a one-run lead to start the eighth inning, Missouri turned to hard-throwing closer Keaton Steele, who worked the final two innings for his ninth save of the year. Over four saves in his four career outings vs. UK, Steele has worked a combined seven shutout innings.


Kentucky will return to action on Tuesday, traveling to facing No. 10 Louisville at 6 p.m. ET at Jim Patterson Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the UK IMG Radio Network, with the Voice of UK Baseball, Neil Price, calling the action. Fans in Central Kentucky can hear the game live on WLAP 630-AM, in Louisville on WKJK 1080-AM and online at


Missouri (17-17, 6-9 SEC) scored first in the top of the third inning, as Shane Segovia doubled down the rightfield line to lead off, taking third on a well-placed grounder and scoring on Jake Ring's RBI single. Anderson then executed a perfect hit-and-run, smacking a slow roller through the right side with UK covering the second base bag on the attempted steal, allowing Ring to take third. Nelson then got a tailor-made double play ball hit up the middle but it was bobbled for an error that allowed a run to score and keep the inning alive. After Thomas threw out the trail runner on a second attempted hit-and-run in the inning, Nelson got a strike out to end the threat.


The Wildcats immediately answered with two runs on four hits in the bottom of the third inning. Reida led off the inning with a single up the middle, taking second on Cousino's second hit of the game to leftfield. Kuhn then scored the duo with a line-drive double down the leftfield line, evening up the game at 2-2.


The Tigers regained the lead in the top of the fourth inning, as Kelly led off with a single, poked through the left side, with Ryan Howard following by hitting into a double play. Nelson then walked Logan Pearson and hit Segovia with a 2-0 pitch to bring up Everett. Everett singled over the leaping glove of Shelby at second base, allowing Pearson to score from second.


Kentucky evened up the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Cousino laid down a perfect bunt single with one out, stealing second base for his 13th steal in 2014. After a pop out for the second out, Reed got in a two-strike hole, before smashing an RBI single to leftfield to even up the game at 3-3.


In the top of the sixth inning, Missouri took the lead with a two-out RBI from Anderson, scoring Everett, who had reached on a fielder's choice.


The Tigers took advantage of a fourth UK error in the ninth inning, as Kelly reached on an infield single to lead off. Cody then got a tailor-made double play ball that went between the legs of a UK defender, putting two runners on and no outs. Logan Pearson followed with a five-pitch walk to load the bases for Segovia. After Cody got Segovia to pop up in the infield, Everett bounced a single up the middle, through the drawn-in infield, to score Kelly and re-load the bags. With the infield in and Brown on the mound, Ring chopped a grounder through the right side, scoring Howard. UK then got a double play ball hit in the infield, with the throw pulling Shelby off the bag and re-loading the bases after scoring another run.


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UK Softball Wins 7th Consecutive Series vs. Ole Miss Sports - True Blue Site Sat, 12 Apr 2014 7:12:15 PM UK Softball Wins 7th Consecutive Series vs. Ole Miss

Senior pitcher Lauren Cumbess delivered a game-winning, two-run triple in the first inning and followed the clutch hit with five impressive innings in the circle, before freshman pitcher Meagan Prince closed out the game to earn the first save of her career, leading No. 11 Kentucky to a 3-1 series-clinching win over Ole Miss on Saturday at the Ole Miss Softball Complex in Oxford, Miss.


Kentucky (35-8, 9-5 Southeastern Conference) claimed the series against Ole Miss (20-21, 3-11 SEC) after a pair of 3-1 victories Friday and Saturday. The series win marks the seventh straight for the Wildcats over the Rebels with UK claiming series wins in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and now 2014. The stretch of seven consecutive series wins is the longest for UK over any league team in program history. Kentucky is now 12-4 against Ole Miss under head coach Rachel Lawson's seven-year tenure.


The series win is the fourth of the season for Kentucky in five league sets. The Wildcats started league action by winning two of three games at Mississippi State, who was receiving votes at the time, before claiming two wins at then-No. 16 Missouri the following weekend. After dropping a series to then-No. 21 Auburn two weekends ago, UK has responded with series wins over then-No. 18 Texas A&M and Ole Miss. The four series wins this season in conference action ties the third most SEC series wins in school history. UK also won four league sets in 2000, 2009, 2010 and 2013. The Wildcats won five conference series in 2011 and a program-best six in 2012.


Entering Lawson's tenure at Kentucky in 2008, the Wildcats had only won nine or more conference games twice in program history, but have now accomplished that task in six straight years under Lawson's guidance.


The Wildcats will go for the series sweep over Ole Miss at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday in the series finale. Live stats and free radio from the game will be available online at


Kentucky scored all the runs it needed in the first getting, getting three runs on three hits. After a groundout to start the frame, speedy outfielder Sylver Samuel extended her hitting streak to a career-high tying six games with an infield single, moving to second on a throwing error by the Ole Miss second baseman. Junior catcher Griffin Joiner followed with a double to leftfield, scoring Samuel and giving Kentucky a 1-0 lead. After senior Emily Gaines walked and sophomore Nikki Sagermann hit into a fielder's choice for the second out, Cumbess lined a ball off the glove of the Ole Miss' first baseman and into the rightfield corner, clearing the bases and giving the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.


The triple by Cumbess was the first of her career and took her RBI total to 27 this season. The senior now has 104 career RBI, moving into eighth place all-time in UK's career RBI list. Cumbess is currently riding a five-game hitting streak and has a hit in 18 of her last 22 games, including eight multi-hit games during that stretch.


The senior was also impressive in the circle, tossing five innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with four strikeouts to pick up the win. The native of Normal, Ill., is now 10-0 on the season with a team-best 1.52 ERA. Cumbess was replaced to start the sixth inning by freshman pitcher Meagan Prince, who threw the final two innings to pick up her first career save. Prince allowed two hits with two strikeouts in the game, lowering her ERA to 3.10 this season.


Joiner and Cumbess were the lone Wildcats to post RBI in the game while Samuel went 1-for-4 with a run scored. Senior outfielder Ginny Carroll went 1-for-4 in the game with a single, while sophomore infielder Ansley Smith had a single and was hit by a pitch. Gaines was 0-for-1 in the game but walked three times and has now reached base safely in 17 straight games.


Ole Miss started redshirt freshman Emily Gaitan in the circle, who went two innings allowing three earned runs on four hits with two strikeouts. Sophomore Madi Osias came out of the bullpen to start the third inning, tossing four scoreless frames with one hit allowed before senior Shelby Jo Fenter tossed a perfect seventh inning with a strikeout. Gaitan received the loss in the game, moving to 4-6 on the season.


Offensively, the Rebels posted a run on five hits, getting a double from designated player Lauren Lindsey and a 2-for-3 games from catcher Marina Parra. Shortstop Haley Cullet went 1-for-3 in the game with the single by rightfielder Jamie Morgan had a bunt single and a RBI groundout.



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UK Football Much Improved On Second Scrimmage Sports - True Blue Site Sat, 12 Apr 2014 5:05:14 PM UK Football Much Improved On Second Scrimmage

It was a rare scrimmage for Kentucky football.

Mark Stoops didn't leave the scrimmage -- UK's second of the spring -- thinking one side of the ball had the better of the action and wondering what had gone wrong with the other.

Instead, Stoops came away believing neither the offense nor defense had won the tug-of-war in Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday.

"That's why it's hard for me, because if one side does well I'm disappointed in the other," Stoops said. "But I really did feel like both sides had some moments today. I thought we were a little bit more stout in some of the run game with the ones on defense. Had some good stops, but the offense bounced back, had some good drives, threw the ball well, caught it better."

That kind of give-and-take is exactly what Stoops is looking for. As a result, UK had its best overall day of the spring, representing a vast improvement from last Saturday's scrimmage. Stoops opted to cancel Friday's practice to focus on preparation for Saturday and the Wildcats took advantage.

"That's maybe why I was a little frustrated (after the last scrimmage): looked a little bit sloppy," Stoops said. "But it was good to get back out there today. We had a couple days to meet and to get set and kind of just went out there today, basically got a warm-up, did a little seven-on-seven and did some special teams and rolled right into the scrimmage."

Offensive coordinator Neal Brown was even more positive in his evaluation,

"Probably our best in a scrimmage or a game-type atmosphere - the best, just from the mechanics of the game, the best we've executed," Brown said. "What I mean by that is playing at the tempo that we want to; we're getting closer. We're not there yet, but we're a lot closer than we ever were at any point last year."

Naturally, much of that has to do with quarterback play.

Jalen Whitlow, Patrick Towles, Reese Phillips and Drew Barker are splitting time as the battle for the starting position continues with Maxwell Smith recovering from a shoulder injury. Stoops does not yet have a timetable for making a decision, but Brown did say he wants to get it done sooner than a season ago.

The important thing right now is Brown knows UK will be improved at quarterback in 2014, no matter who wins the job.

"The thing I'm pleased about is they're all much, much better," Brown said. "We're better. Whoever the quarterback is going to be, they're going to be better than we played last year. So that's pleasing."

Barker -- the highly touted midyear enrollee -- is the lone signal caller who was not on campus last year, but there were moments when he could have fooled Brown.

"I think the biggest thing about Drew is, if you would've came out and just watched us today, you wouldn't have known he was a high school senior," Brown said. "And that's the most impressive thing to me. Because the mechanics of the game and not being in awe of being in that stadium for the first time and playing, that was what I was most impressed with."

Barker was hardly the only one of the four to impress. Towles, a redshirt sophomore, made a handful of throws that drew praise from both Stoops and Brown while Whitlow and Phillips each had their moments as UK's offense did not commit a turnover.

"I think all of them stood out," sophomore running back Jojo Kemp said. "That's gonna be the coaches' call. They got a handful, I can tell you that, because to me all of them looked great. All of them was competing, completing passes. Just the whole group of guys looked good today."

It helps that the quarterbacks are surrounded by a group of talented running backs and a receiving corps improving by the day in spite of battling some bumps and bruises.

"The young guys did some good things," Stoops said. "Thaddeus (Snodgrass) had a chance to make a real big play, didn't come down with it. T.V. (Williams) made a nice play where he caught the ball, bounced off some people, made a big play for the offense, which was good. I think (Ryan) Timmons. Timmons is always -- he's been solid."

The offense had only to contend with the defense's base packages. Installing wrinkles is for later.

"We weren't trying to out-scheme anybody and we just wanted to find out who could make plays and who could play hard and so we got something to build on," defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot said.

As expected, senior defensive ends Bud Dupree and Za'Darius Smith shined. Beyond his two building blocks, Eliot saw one fresh face and two more familiar ones stand out.

"A.J. Stamps, again, did some good things," Eliot said. "I was pleased with some his effort. And Jason Hatcher did some good things. I was pleased with some of the things he did. I saw some good plays by J.D. Harmon just initially. And after we watch the film we'll be able be more detailed on that."

Stamps, a junior-college transfer, appears poised to contribute immediately in the secondary in spending most of his time at safety after playing corner at East Mississippi Community College.

"A.J. Stamps is making a pretty good impact on our defense, giving us a better balanced look," linebacker Khalid Henderson said. "A more versatile safety back there."

Harmon, meanwhile, has added important depth at cornerback after sitting out last season and Hatcher is taking steps forward in his first college spring after playing as a freshman in 2013.

"You know, at any sport, any position, it's hard to come in and play as a freshman," Eliot said. "And so now we're seeing a big jump in Jason because he's a sophomore and I'm really liking the progress that he's making. He's grown up, not only on the football field, but in any natural progression from a freshman to a sophomore he's done that as well."

With those individual performances and the way UK continues to come together as a team in mind, Stoops has plenty of reason for optimism.

"We feel better," Stoops said. "At times, you get out here during practices and everything, we're running a lot of teams and doing a lot of reps, so you're getting ones, twos and threes. Already in the spring, you're already a little bit thin if you don't have your whole group here. So it's sloppy at times, but overall you put it together, get out there on the scrimmage and get going. We're definitely further along. We just operate our offense and our defense better at this point. We're getting there, getting better."


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Coach Stoops Signs Maker's Mark Bottles At Keeneland Sports - True Blue Site Fri, 11 Apr 2014 3:39:34 PM Coach Stoops Signs Maker's Mark Bottles At Keeneland

University of Kentucky's football coach Mark Stoops signed the Maker's Mark bottles he's featured on at Keeneland Friday morning.

The line to buy the signed bottles stretched down the hall and out the door at Keeneland.

Maker's Mark features a limited edition Bourbon bottle each year and Coach Stoops was picked for the bottles' lable this year. In the past, Coach Calipari and Keeneland have been featured on the bottles.

For the third year, proceeds will go to UK's Gill Heart Institute, a cause close to Coach Stoops because of his father's untimely death at age 54 from a heart attack.

"Honored that Maker's and Keeneland asked me to be on the bottle, and very excited the proceeds go to Gill," Stoops said.

Each bottle was passed down the line as coach Stoops, Maker's Mark CEO and chairman and Keeneland's President all signed the commemorative bottle.


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