LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — The Kentucky baseball team should be well-rested when it hosts Louisville Tuesday at Kentucky Proud Park.
The Wildcats (20-16, 4-11 Southeastern Conference), defeated No. 10 Mississippi 4-1 and 4-2 on Sunday to sweep a doubleheader between the two league foes. Kentucky didn’t arrive home until 4 a.m. Monday.
"First thing we do is, we've got to get them some rest," Kentucky coach Nick Mingione said. "They've got to get to bed early. It's a big week, obviously. The biggest thing we've got to do is get them rest."
The No. 7 Cardinals (28-8) defeated the Wildcats 8-3 at Jim Patterson Stadium on April 2 and took two of three games against the Rebels last weekend and Mingione hopes his team can continue the winning streak this week starting with Louisville. Kentucky hosts Tennessee for a three-game series on Easter Weekend.
"Obviously, they should be confident, they should be feeling good about themselves," Mingione said. "To get our first (SEC) series win, much less against a Top 10 opponent on the road was big for our team."
Although the Wildcats have struggled this season, Mingione said his team needs to focus on what they can control.
“I talked to our team this weekend about controlling the controllables and not worrying about the uncontrollable," Mingione said. "And we went through a list of the uncontrollables, like the weather, the crowd, the field conditions. You can't control those. Let's control the things we can control like our effort, our toughness, our attitude, the thoughts going through our heads, let's control that. Our biggest focus right now is our team and not our opponent because we can't control our opponent."
The Kentucky coach hopes the Wildcats can become empowered going into the final stretch of the regular season.
"It's time for them to take over,” he said. “They've been trained. There are not many new things we're going to drop on them at this point. They have been trained and now it's time for them to trust that, and to believe in each other."
Collett honored by SEC
Kentucky junior first baseman and designated hitter T.J. Collett was named SEC Player of the Week after he hit two game-winning home runs against the Rebels in a doubleheader Sunday.
It was Kentucky’s first series win in Oxford since 2013.
Keith Taylor is the sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.