College Baseball, SEC

Cliff Hagan Stadium: Home of Kentucky Baseball


 
Now that I’m back in the south, I can feel my fingers enough to get started on my recap of my weekend in Lexington, Kentucky! Luckily the weather wasn’t as bad as I had originally thought it was going to be. When I first checked the 10-day forecast a week ago, it was supposed to snow all weekend and not get above 40 degrees. My worst nightmare, absolutely. This girl does NOT do well in snow!
 
This weekend I took a little vacation and had a little time to myself. I traveled out to watch Texas Tech Baseball take on the University of Kentucky. I’ve never been to Kentucky before, and both teams were ranked in the top 5 so I figured this was as good of a time as any to head out and see a new place!
 
Unfortunately, my Red Raiders struggled on Friday and Saturday. We went up early but couldn’t hold on to our leads. We pulled it out on Sunday, though, and our punishment wasn’t too harsh. The new rankings were released yesterday and we are still #6. I can live with that!
 
I really have no experience with the University of Kentucky. I’ve always known they have a kick-ass basketball team every year, and their football program is pretty much the opposite. But that’s about the extent of my knowledge. I’ve never seen their campus, never seen their stadiums… I didn’t even know where Lexington was in Kentucky before I booked this trip. Sometimes that’s the best kind of trip, though – seeing something totally new.
 
I got into town really early Saturday morning and pretty much headed straight to the baseball stadium. I made it just in time to watch the first pitch. It was an ugly day though – really cloudy, really windy… the opposite of good baseball weather. Again, I was just glad it wasn’t snowing. It could’ve been worse.
 

 
Kentucky’s baseball stadium is really outdated. No surprise though, since this is their original stadium from 1969. And Kentucky knows it, too, because they’re currently in the process of building their new stadium for next season. Part of me was disappointed that I didn’t get to see the series inside the new stadium, but the other part of me thought it was really cool to get to see their original stadium before they tear it down. For an outdated stadium, though, it’s very well-kept.
 

 
Sunday was the prettiest day I had in Lexington by far! 50 degrees, sunny, no wind. Just absolutely perfect! What made Sunday even better was Texas Tech taking one from UK. So… at least we didn’t get swept?
 

 
Texas Tech and LSU have incredible baseball facilities – so really, I’m just spoiled. But I’ve seen the renderings for the new UK Baseball Stadium… they’ll be spoiled here too after this year. This stadium is just so unique though, it’s really kind of a bummer that they’re tearing it down. But with the way they’re running their baseball program, they’re going to need plenty of seating! They’re definitely short on that… Attendance was low because it was spring break for UK, but it was still hard for me to imagine how they fit in students and the fans that were there… Honestly, I never even really figured out where the student section was.
 
It’s just a really pretty stadium for being so old, especially with the old original red brick. Which doesn’t make a lot of sense when I say it, but hopefully you get what I’m trying to say when you look at the pictures!
 

 
Like I said, attendance was a little sparse. Tech had a great showing though. Coincidentally I ran into a girl that was a couple grades below me in my sorority in college. She’s such a sweet girl, and she’s a senior now. Her boyfriend is a pitcher and his family was there, too. I was a little jealous because all of them took off and headed to Louisville for the mid-week series on Sunday. I would’ve totally faked sick and tagged along if it wasn’t advising week… but we’ll see them again this upcoming weekend in Waco for the Baylor series!
 
Turns out there’s a lot of Tech fans that live in Louisville, too. That was probably the most surprising thing.
 

 
In all reality, this weekend was just a long excuse for me to play around with my new camera, courtesy of my uncle for Christmas! For those who don’t know the rules on cameras in stadiums, it’s pretty uniform – nothing with a lens that’s longer than 3 inches, detachable or non-detachable. So my uncle was kind enough to get one that fit that description that works a hell of a lot better than my iPhone! So thank you Uncle Paul – you’re the best!
 

 
The amount of scouts that were at this series though was incredible. There was an entire four rows full of scouts with speed radars and notebooks behind home plate. I mean, most stayed pretty disguised, but I can probably make a safe bet that someone from every MLB team was there this weekend. A lot were watching one of UK’s guys named Tristan Pompey. The majority were there to watch various pitchers.  
Honestly, I have no idea how all that stuff works with scouting and the MLB. One of the Red Sox’s scouts sat next to me on Sunday and was really friendly. He came that morning from the Ohio State baseball game, and was going to (I think) Auburn this upcoming weekend. He said that he lives in Charlotte and he’s in a region, and they pretty much just tell him where to go and who to look at. If I learn baseball stats… can I sign up for that???
 
Right now, it’s still winter in Kentucky (which really cracks me up because it looks like textbook spring in Louisiana right now). Everything’s still brown and dead. That sounds depressing, but really the campus is so pretty that it kind of makes up for it. I can tell this will be a killer campus to visit outside of the winter! I plan on heading back at some point for a basketball game – hoping to either catch a game against Louisville or Kansas!
 
While that’s about it for Cliff Hagan Stadium itself, there’s one category I haven’t covered yet…
 

 
Meet Kentucky’s super fan! Really friendly guy. Really loves denim! Had his sunflower seeds and all.
 
While I was in Lexington I also checked out UK Football’s new facilities. Check back this week to see that – it was incredible! I’ll also be posting my bracket for March Madness tomorrow so y’all can laugh when that totally explodes. But hey, willing to try anything to win a free trip to Hawaii! I’ll give y’all details on that, too!
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

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