Kentucky Baseball Finishes Historic Season

Kentucky Baseball Finishes Historic Season

by Tim Letcher

The Kentucky baseball team saw its run in the College World Series come to an end on Wednesday as the Cats fell 15-4 to Southeastern Conference rival Florida. While it was not the ending that UK hoped for in Omaha this week, that doesn’t diminish the accomplishments of this year’s squad.

UK head coach Nick Mingione knows that the Cats finished the 2024 campaign in the right location.

“This is where you want to end your season,” Mingione said. “This is not how you want to end your season but this is where you want to end your season.”

The accomplishments of this team start with that College World Series appearance, which was the first in Kentucky program history. The Cats were on the doorstep in 1988 but had never been to Omaha prior to this season.

Kentucky also set a school record with 46 wins this season, eclipsing the old record of 45 that was accomplished in 2012. That number is even more impressive when considering that UK played one of the top five most difficult schedules in the country, including a brutal SEC slate. They claimed just the second SEC regular season title in school history.

UK hosted a regional for just the fourth time in school history. The 2024 Cats swept through the Lexington Regional, topping Western Michigan, Illinois and Indiana State. Then, the Cats hosted a Super Regional for the first time in school history. After falling in the program’s two previous Super Regional appearances (2017 and 2023), Kentucky was able to break through. UK topped three-time national champion Oregon State in two consecutive games to make the College World Series for the first time.

In Omaha, Kentucky won its first contest, against N.C. State, on a Mitchell Daly walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, closing the program’s first-ever CWS win in style.

Despite falling to Texas A&M then to Florida to finish the season, Mingione is extremely proud of this team.

“Just so proud of our group of men. I mean, our team really is a group of men. That’s what they are,” Mingione said. “They’re unbelievable in every sense of the word. And they made history. So this hurts. It hurts a lot because this team is fully capable of accomplishing our goal of national champions, but that wasn’t the case this year. That’s not what the Lord had planned. But so proud of these guys for the way they represented themselves, our baseball program and our institution.”

This team will go down in history as the first UK team to ever make it to Omaha. Mingione knows how he would like for this team to be remembered.

“As winners. I’ve been telling everybody all year, they’re just winners, literally in everything they do, they just — you can coach them any way,” Mingione said. “You challenge them, they respond. You love on them, they love you back. You get on to them, they look you in the eye and say, yes, sir. They literally have done everything from the way — we talk about the student/person/player, in our program, they’ve crushed it in the classroom. They’re unbelievable. Like our staff members that have children just telling me yesterday, Coach, watch these guys get on the floor and play with our kids and do all this. They’re just winners. And it’s something we talk about in our program all the time. We talk about being a family. We were that.”

A 46-16 record, a Regional championship, a Super Regional championship and an appearance in the College World Series make this Kentucky baseball team one that will be remembered for eternity.

Related Stories

View all