Category Archive: UK Baseball

UK Has 91 Student-Athletes on SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Student-athletes at the University of Kentucky combined to earn a total of 91 spots on the Southeastern Conference First-Year Academic Honor Roll, the league announced Thursday

Kentucky was second overall for having the most student-athletes on the list. UK had the most honorees in the sports of women’s basketball (five) and men’s swimming (11) while tying for the most in the league in men’s basketball (four) and softball (seven).

The 2015-16 First-Year Academic Honor Roll is based on grades form the 2015 summer and fall terms, along with the 2016 spring term. A student-athlete must have a 3.0 grade-point average to earn a place on the honor roll. 

Belanger Named Kentucky Pitching Coach

Jim Belanger (University of Maryland Photo)
Jim Belanger (University of Maryland Photo)

Jim Belanger (University of Maryland Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Jim Belanger, who has developed record-setting pitchers and 10 major-league draft picks over the last four years at Maryland, will guide the Kentucky pitching staff, head coach Nick Mingione announced Monday.

“I wanted Coach Belanger at Kentucky for numerous reasons,” Mingione said. “What stood out to me was how much family means to him, the fact he’s won everywhere he’s been and his track record of player development.

“Nothing but joy” for Kyle Wiltjer despite not being drafted

Kyle Wiltjer and family celebrating NBA signing. (Twitter Photo)
Kyle Wiltjer and family celebrating NBA signing. (Twitter Photo)

Kyle Wiltjer and family celebrating NBA signing. (Twitter Photo)


One of the better stories from NBA Draft night to me was the way former Kentucky Wildcat Kyle Wiltjer handled not being drafted.

He transferred from UK to Gonzaga after his sophomore season but remains popular in the Bluegrass as shown by the way fans reacted to him last spring when he returned to Kentucky for two weeks.

And Wiltjer quickly signed a three-year contract with the Houston Rockets after the draft ended that will get him in the summer league and training camp. He could make the roster, end up in the developmental league or possibly play overseas.

White, Beggs Named to National Gold Glove Team


-1LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky first baseman Evan White and pitcher Dustin Beggs have been named to the NCAA Division I Gold Glove Team for defensive excellence by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Rawlings. UK was the only school in the nation with two selections on the team.

Jake Buerger on his father: “He really is one of the nicest and easy to like people you’d ever meet.”

Jake Buerger, age 3, with his father and younger brother.
Mark Buerger made sure his son, Jake, grew up a Reds fan.

Mark Buerger made sure his son, Jake, grew up a Reds fan.


Father’s Day has a different meaning for all of us but since Sunday is my day to be with the one and only Mark Buerger on Sunday Morning Sports on WLAP — I think this is now seven years together — I thought it might be interesting to get a few Father’s Day insights from Jake Buerger.

He is a recent Lexington Catholic High School graduate and soon to be freshman at the University of Louisville. He’s a terrific young man and I know he often just has to shake his head at his father’s antics/tantrums.

Zach Reks a Finalist for Gregg Olson Award


-3LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky junior outfielder Zach Reks has been named a finalist for the Gregg Olson Award as the Breakout Player of the Year in college baseball.

An incredible story, Reks played at the Air Force Academy as a freshman in 2013, batting .210 with no home runs and eight RBI. He transferred to the University of Kentucky in the fall of 2013 and didn’t play for two years. In the fall of 2015, he decided to try out and he made the team.

Barnhart: $45 million baseball facility planned for Alumni Drive

Did Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart make any promises to new baseball coach Nick Mingione in regard to upgrading facilities?

Barnhart basically said Tuesday night the answer would be yes.

“We’re in that process. We have spent about $4 million in design. We’re in it. We’re heavily invested in it. It will go to the Board of Trustees in the fall Trustees meetings. We’ll then hopefully sign the contracts and get going to probably just after the football season ends,” Barnhart said.

“We’re putting the stadium where a parking lot currently is. So we’ll use that through the football season. That will give us time to get the contract signed.

Nick Mingione on UK roster, coaching staff, SEC, facility upgrade

Here is part of what new baseball coach Nick Mingione, a former UK assistant coach, had to say Tuesday night after being officially introduced by Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart.

Hjelle, Lewis Named Freshman All-Americans

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky relief pitchers Sean Hjelle and Justin Lewis, who combined for six wins and all 12 of the team’s saves during the 2016 season, have been named Freshman All-America by Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

Hjelle (pronounced same as “jelly”), a righthander from White Bear Lake, Minn., compiled a 4-1 record, eight saves and a 3.74 earned-run average. All four of his wins came against Southeastern Conference opponents – Florida, Alabama, Arkansas and South Carolina. His season was highlighted by his performance against the Gamecocks, when he threw the final four innings of UK’s 12-inning victory over the nation’s No. 2-ranked team. Four of his eight saves came vs. league opponents.

Nick Mingione new UK baseball coach

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Nick Mingione – who spent the last eight seasons as an assistant to John Cohen at Mississippi State – has been named Kentucky baseball head coach, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced on Monday.

“Nick Mingione is exactly the kind of coach we hoped to hire when we began our search,” Barnhart said. “His passion, tactical mind and tireless recruiting efforts made him an important part of Mississippi State’s staff during some great years for the program. More than that, he is a man of substance who is committed not only to developing young men as baseball players, but as students and people. We are excited to welcome Nick, his wife, Christen, and son, Reeves, to the UK Athletics family.”

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