Sidelines with John Clay

UK baseball, softball, John Wall, J.B. Holmes, Alex Meyer and more Big Blue Links

Kentucky second basemen Riley Mahan throws out a runner at first base during UK’s 7-2 win over Tennessee at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky on Sunday, May 14, 2017.
Kentucky second basemen Riley Mahan throws out a runner at first base during UK’s 7-2 win over Tennessee at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky on Sunday, May 14, 2017. Lexington Herald-Leader

Big Blue Links for Monday:

▪ Kentucky baseball completed a sweep of Tennessee on Sunday to stay a game behind Florida in the SEC race, reports Josh Sullivan of the Herald-Leader. And the Cats travel to Gainesville next weekend. Florida completed a sweep of Alabama to remain in front of the Cats.

Sullivan: “Riley Mahan ended the series against the Volunteers the same way he began it — on a tear. After Tristan Pompey scored on an error by the Tennessee shortstop to give UK a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, Mahan laced a two-run triple down the right-field line. Troy Squires followed with an RBI single and the Cats led 4-0. Mahan went 3-for-5 on Sunday, falling a home run short of the cycle.”

▪ Kentucky softball earned a No. 14 seed in the NCAA Women’s Softball Tournament, reports the H-L. The Cats (36-17) will play host to DePaul (29-21) on Friday. Illinois (37-18) will play Marshall (41-10) in the Lexington regional, as well. Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday. Here’s the link for tickets.

▪ Tied for the lead heading into the final round of The Players Championship, J.B. Holmes shot an 84 and fell all the way to a tie for 41st, reports the H-L. The former UK star bogeyed the 14th and 15th hole, then shot an 8 on the 17th. The meltdown resulted in a 12-over-par for the day.

▪ Kentucky football picked up a commitment from three-star offensive lineman Quintin Wilson, reports Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader. A 6-foot-3, 290-pound prospect from Cincinnati, Wilson is ranked No. 8 at center for the 2018 class by 247Sports composite rankings.

▪ Kentucky isn’t giving up on Jarren Williams. The quarterback, who recently de-commited from the Cats, had UK assistants Darin Hinshaw and Vince Marrow attend his spring game, reports Justin Rowland of Cats Illustrated.

▪ The Wizards and Celtics meet for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals series in Boston on Monday night at 8 p.m. on TNT.

Ava Wallace of the Washington Post writes on the development of John Wall’s jump shot. The former Kentucky star nailed a three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left to give the Wizards that 92-91 win over the Celtics in Game 6 last Friday.

Jerry Brewer of the Washington Post writes that the Wizards don’t have the burden of expectations leading into Game 7.

“Only three players on the Wizards roster have experienced Game 7: center Marcin Gortat, backup center Ian Mahinmi and backup point guard Brandon Jennings. Together, they have played five Game 7s. They have logged just 102 minutes and three seconds performing on this magical, manic stage,” Brewer writes.

Just showing up for Game 7 won’t be good enough for the Celtics, says Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

▪ Meanwhile, Golden State came roaring back from a 25-point deficit to stun visiting San Antonio 113-111 in the first game of the Western Conference Finals. Michael Lee of Yahoo writes on why the Warrior’s thrilling comeback hurt so much.

Steve Kerr’s halftime speech spurred the Warriors’ comeback, reports Scott Cacciola of the New York Times.

▪ Kennedy Meeks is hoping his rebounding skills leads to an NBA career, reports Adam Zagoria for the Raleigh News and Observer.

“In the final seconds of a scrimmage at the NBA Draft Combine on Friday, a loose ball bounced toward North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who was sitting in a chair on the baseline. Williams grabbed the ball and tossed it to former Tar Heels big man Kennedy Meeks with a smile.”

▪ The Reds ended up losing three out of four in San Francisco after Sunday’s 8-3 loss to the Giants, reports C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Sunday’s starting pitcher, Tim Aldeman, gave up four runs in the first inning then departed with a neck strain. The Reds now travel to Chicago to face the Cubs.

▪ Louisville baseball clinched an ACC Atlantic Division title over the weekend, reports the Courier-Journal.

▪ Ex-UK pitcher Alex Meyer says his Sunday win for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is a stepping stone, reports Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times.

▪ In Preakness news, Royal Mo suffered a sesamoid fracture in his final work on Sunday at Pimlico before next Saturday’s race in Baltimore, reports Jeremy Balan of the Blood-Horse. Trained by John Shirreffs, Royal Mo just missed out on making the Kentucky Derby. He was 21st on the points list for the 20-horse field.

“There isn’t any other damage, so that’s a very good thing for him, for his life after racing,” the trainer said. “It’s very difficult. There were a lot of hopes and dreams with Royal Mo from Mr. and Mrs. (Jerry) Moss and my wife, Dottie. They were all excited to see him run, so they’re obviously devastated.”

Can Always Dreaming handle the two-week turnaround to the Preakness?

▪ Saturday Down South looks at the teams the conference would like to add if the Big 12 falls apart. Texas is at the top of the list, of course.

▪ Mike Greenberg’s new ESPN show will start in January, reports Richard Deitsch of SI.com. That will be the end of Mike & Mike on the network after 17 years.

SEC baseball standings

East

SEC

Overall

Florida

19-8

38-14

Kentucky

18-9

36-16

Vanderbilt

13-13

30-21

South Carolina

12-15

30-21

Missouri

11-16

31-21

Georgia

9-18

22-30

Tennessee

7-18

26-22

West

SEC

Overall

LSU

18-9

35-17

Miss State

17-10

33-19

Arkansas

16-10

37-14

Texas A&M

15-12

35-17

Auburn

14-13

32-21

Ole Miss

13-14

31-21

Alabama

5-22

19-32

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