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UK Baseball: Top 20 Memorable Games Since 2006 (No. 16-20)

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UK Baseball celebrate win over LouisvilleOver the last five seasons, I have been fortunate enough to work directly with the Kentucky baseball program. During that time, the program has achieved unprecedented success in the best conference in college baseball. Two NCAA Tournament appearances and an SEC Championship have highlighted the last few years, but along the way there have been a slew of memorable and exciting games. Since 2007, I have had the opportunity to see every inning of UK's last 228 baseball games, owning a front-row seat for some thrilling contests.

With so many exciting games and moments in program history the last few years, it is perfect for a top 20 listing of the most memorable games since that historic 2006 campaign.

Over the next few days, Cat Scratches will unveil the top 20 listing in increments of five at a time until No. 1 is revealed. Each post will include a link to the postgame story from the contest and a box score. Weigh in on the rankings in the comments section, let us know if you agree or disagree and share your special memories of Kentucky baseball.

20.     UK rallies in electric atmosphere for series-securing win at Ole Miss (2007)
Postgame Recap  |  Box Score (HTML)

In 2007, Kentucky was coming off the 2006 SEC Championship season and despite battling significant injuries to ace Scott Green and eventual first-team All-American outfielder Collin Cowgill, was in the hunt for the postseason. UK traveled to No. 18 Ole Miss for the next-to-last weekend series of the year. Entering the weekend, it looked like UK would need to win four of the final six games, meaning it needed to win the series at Oxford, Miss., known for an electric, hostile atmosphere. The series win would be UK's first at Oxford since the 2001 season.

The season came down to the Sunday game, which UK had to win to remain in the hunt. UK jumped out to an 8-3 lead after six innings, before Ole Miss - rallied on by 4,585 rowdy fans - scored four in the seventh to cut the lead to one. UK mounted a one-run rally in the top of the eighth, a rally that began when Brian Spear got hit by two consecutive pitches to lead off the inning, being called back to the box on each HBP by home plate umpire Arthur Schmidt. On the first pitch that Schmidt called Spear back to the box, then UK head coach John Cohen was ejected. On the second pitch, first base coach Nick Mingione was ejected. Spear eventually drew the walk and came around to score UK's ninth run of the game.

The Ole Miss rally chased UK starter Greg Dombrowski in the seventh, with UK turning to veteran reliever Aaron Lovett, known for a cool, calm demeanor on the mound. Lovett picked up his sixth save of the season with 2.1 lockdown innings, including getting the final out of the game from All-America shortstop Zach Cozart, a top prospect in the Cincinnati Reds organization in 2010, on an attempted bunt.

19.     Kapteyn, Wright provide heroics in UK comeback win at Louisville (2009)
Postgame Recap  |  Box Score (HTML)

Chad Wright.jpgSince the 2007 season, the rivalry between Kentucky and Louisville has skyrocketed, as both programs have taken off on the national map, with UK moving up the best conference in college baseball and Louisville excreting its dominance in the Big East.

In 2009, UK was scuffling heading to Louisville for the first of the two-game series, which the two programs have split since the 2007 season. UK found itself down 6-4 entering the eighth inning, before a three-run rally - highlighted by big at bats from Chris McClendon, Keenan Wiley, Marcus Nidiffer, Chris Wade and Bryan Rose. Rose's two-RBI double with two outs gave UK the lead, with Braden Kapteyn locking the final three innings down on the mound.

18.     Kapteyn helps UK secure win, Caravelle Resort Invite at Coastal Carolina (2010)
Postgame Recap  |  Box Score (HTML)

UK opened the 2010 season in splendid form, posting a season-opening win over eventual Atlantic Coast Conference power Virginia Tech and a win over Big East foe West Virginia. In the third game of the weekend for UK, the Wildcats needed to win over No. 12 Coastal Carolina to secure the Caravelle Resort Invitational Championship.

The Wildcats got the win over the Chants, plating a run in the top of the ninth inning on excellent base running and a throwing error from CCU All-American Scott Woodward at third base. Braden Kapteyn, who had pitched scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth, closed the door for his first win of the season in the ninth.

The win was just the third home loss for the Chanticleers in the last two years up to that point, as CCU owned a 28-2 record and home in 2009 and a 33-8 record and home in 2010, hosting the NCAA Regional in 2009 and 2010. After the weekend, Yahoo! Sports/ tabbed UK as the team of the weekend for the 3-0 performance in Myrtle Beach.

17.     Wade's solo HR in the 11th lifts UK to win at UNO on St. Patty's Day (2009)
Postgame Recap  |  Box Score (HTML)

In head coach Gary Henderson's first season at the helm of the program, one of his missions was to beef up the non-conference schedule. In doing so, Henderson booked a non-conference, mid-week game at New Orleans, a traditional power in the Sun Belt, during UK's spring break trip to face LSU.

UK at UNO.JPGThe atmosphere was unique as the several thousands of residents in the temporary housing - due to Hurricane Katrina - a few hundred yards away from the ballpark off the shore, were able to walk to the game, adding to an emotionally charged environment.

UK found itself in a 4-3 hole in the top of the ninth inning with two strikes and two outs. Chris Bisson singled to lead off the ninth, scoring on a wild pitch from UNO's closer, Donnie White. After pitching a scoreless eighth and ninth inning, with help from lefty Logan Darnell and right-hander Sean Bouthilette, UK got a solo homer from Chris Wade to take a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the 11th.

The Wildcats had a severely depleted bullpen after the weekend tilt at LSU and Bouthilette was the lone option to close out the game, picking up the win for UK.

16.     Wildcats eliminate host Michigan behind Carroll, Cowgill (2008)
Postgame Recap  |  Box Score (HTML)

UK entered a doubleheader in the 2008 NCAA Regional in Ann Arbor, Mich., needing to win both games to force a decisive game with Arizona the following day. In the first game of the doubleheader, UK got a win over Eastern Michigan, behind Andrew Albers and Sawyer Carroll. In the second game, UK had to face off with the Wolverines, who were hosting the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program annals.

Thumbnail image for Sawyer at Michigan.JPGIn the first game of the tournament earlier in the week, UK fell to Michigan, as starter Chris Rusin was unknowingly pitching handicapped by injury and the game was halted by rain. In the rematch, UK got nine runs in the first two innings, including a seven-run inning in the first frame. Every UK starter notched a hit and Carroll hit his third homer of the tournament, with Cowgill charting three hits.

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The Mississippi State series where Polk was ejected from all three games.

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  • Scott Porter: Brent, The Mississippi State series where Polk was ejected from all three games. AWESOME. read more