LEXINGTON, Ky. - A bruised but not battered Kentucky will play on Monday night for a regional championship for the second time in the last six NCAA Tournaments.
Kentucky (39-19) survived two elimination games on Sunday to force a fourth matchup this season against Indiana, with a spot in the NCAA Super Regional on the line. The Wildcats shut out West Virginia in the afternoon game, then slugged their way past the Hoosiers, 16-6, in the nightcap.
Sophomore Nolan McCarthy homered in each game and the Cats were hit by 14 pitches on the day, including nine against Indiana, to jumpstart the offense. Devin Burkes homered, Hunter Gilliam homered and drove in six runs and Austin Strickland was masterful on the mound against West Virginia to lead the charge.
- UK Coach Nick Mingione is in his seventh season at the helm and now owns a 215-148 career record. UK is 7-4 in the month of June under Coach Mingione. Mingione is 7-4 in the NCAA Tournament, 6-2 in the Regional round. Mingione now is 6-2 vs. Indiana. UK is 32-4 in non-conference games this season.
- UK is hosting its third-ever regional, all three of which Mingione has been on staff (2006, 2017, 2023).
- UK has thrown two shutouts in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the modern era. UK's starting pitchers in four games: 20 IP, 6 runs, 22 strikeouts
- UK was hit by 14 pitches on Sunday, including nine in the Indiana game. The Cats have been hit by 21 pitches in the regional. UK has been hit by 14 pitches in 17 regional innings vs. Indiana. Including the regular season game, Indiana has hit 20 UK batters in 24 innings this season.
- Outfielder Nolan McCarthy hit a pair of home runs on the day. In the afternoon game he went 2-for-4 with a run and three RBI with a double and home run. In the night cap he went 1-for-6 but had a crucial three-run shot to open the scoring.
- Catcher Devin Burkes went 2-for-5 with four runs, five RBI, a double, a home run, two walks and three HBP.
- Outfielder Jackson Gray was hit by a pitch for the 23rd and 24th times this season, which moves into sole possession of second place on UK's single-season chart.
- Infielder Hunter Gilliam drove in six runs on the day.
- UK players hit by a pitch on Sunday: Jase Felker (4), Devin Burkes (3), Reuben Church (3), Jackson Gray (2) and Grant Smith (2).
- Pitcher Austin Strickland started the opener. He threw 6.0 scoreless innings with six strikeouts and one walk.
Kentucky will face Indiana at 6 p.m. ET on Monday in the Regional Championship.