What to know as Kentucky baseball hosts Tennessee with SEC championship in sight

Nick Mingione and the UK baseball team are ready for what is likely to be the biggest regular season series in the short history of Kentucky Proud Park this weekend.

The Wildcats host SEC East rival Tennessee in a top-five matchup looking to hold onto their lead in the conference championship race. Following a sweep at Auburn last weekend, Kentucky (31-5, 14-1) boasts the best record in SEC play. Tennessee sits in second place in the East, four games behind Kentucky.

“That only happens because there’s been intentional effort by a lot of people,” Mingione said Thursday when asked about the expected turnout this weekend. “From our administration to build a stadium like this that, No. 1, can even hold that many people. The former players that have just put their blood, sweat, tears into this program. Coaches, staff members, previous teams. As I mentioned, the players, this current team.

“There’s just been a lot of people, staff members that put a lot of intentional effort and work into this. So, therefore, I’m excited. Then the Big Blue Nation for them to be able to show up. It sounds like they’re going to. And we’ve got some great weather. That always helps.”

Kentucky has won just one SEC regular season championship in program history (2006). The league race is far from over with Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas A&M all still in contention and UK facing a daunting stretch run with four of five series remaining against teams ranked in the most recent coaches poll.

Even if UK falls short of an SEC title, a top-eight national seed for the NCAA Tournament that would bring the right to host a regional and super regional if UK advanced to the second weekend appears well within reach.

Mingione credits his team’s ability to focus on each individual game and not be distracted by larger goals for the Wildcats’ success to date, but he knows that task will grow harder starting in front of a near-capacity crowd this weekend.

“Do I think we’ll have to address it more? I do,” Mingione said. The reason why is because of you (media). Right? You guys are going to be the ones talking about that stuff, and that’s your job. And you should do that. That’s what you’re supposed to be doing, and that’s what we hope you’re doing. That means we’re doing our job.

“Our job is to do that on the field, and then it’s your guys’ job to talk about what’s at stake. So, for us to be at our best, again, I have to do a good job with them, keeping them focused. I don’t see that we’ll have any issue with that because of how well they’ve done thus far.”

When are Kentucky baseball games versus Tennessee scheduled to start?

Friday, April 19: 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 20: 2 p.m.

Sunday, April 21: 1 p.m.

For the first time since Kentucky Proud Park opened in 2019, UK will host rival Tennessee with an SEC championship in its sights this weekend.
For the first time since Kentucky Proud Park opened in 2019, UK will host rival Tennessee with an SEC championship in its sights this weekend.

Will Kentucky baseball games versus Tennessee be on television?

None of the games will be on broadcast or cable television, but all three will be streamed online through SEC Network+. Anyone who has access to the SEC Network through a cable television or streaming service can also access SEC Network+ through

Are tickets available for the UK baseball games versus Tennessee?

Reserved tickets for the weekend series sold out earlier this week, but general admission tickets remained available as of Thursday morning. Tickets can be purchased through

Where is Kentucky baseball ranked? ranks the Wildcats third, behind only Texas A&M and Arkansas and one spot ahead of Tennessee. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (four) and USA Today Coaches Poll (five) also rank Kentucky in the top five. Baseball America and Perfect Game are slightly lower on Mingione’s team but still slot UK at No. 7 in their top 25 rankings.

What else should fans know about the series at Kentucky Proud Park?

The UK baseball program has set a goal to donate 2,000 stuffed toys to the Kentucky Children’s Hospital for patients this season. Fans are asked to bring a new stuffed toy with them to any game to donate to the drive.

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