The Kentucky Wildcats made program history this season, advancing to their first-ever Super Regionals.
Some may tell you it was the complete turnaround of its offense that got them here. Others will praise first-year head coach Nick Mingione's brutally honest approach as changing the destiny of the program.
Then, of course, is the cup cap.
The bizzare cap was crafted by freshman pitcher Austin Keen. As things usually go in the NCAA postseason, when something starts working as a lucky charm, it usually sticks.
Kentucky dropped a 5-4 heartbreaker to N.C. State in the Regionals, putting its back against the wall. The Wildcats reeled off three straight wins. The legend of the cup cap continued to grow.
As the cup cap continues to grow, Mingione has made it more than a good luck charm. It's a metaphor for the new found Wildcats success.
“He built that thing one cup at a time,” Mingione told SEC Country after defeating Indiana in the regionals. “And that’s how we’re going to have to do this. We’re going to have to win this pitch, then we’re going to have to win the inning, then we’re going to have to win the game — and that’s how we’re going to do it. Just the same way he’s built that same cap — one cup at a time.’”
Kentucky has a tall order in front of them as the Wildcats hope to advance to their first College World Series. They kicked of the 2017 Super Regionals with a Friday matinee against Louisville.
You can bet Keen was out and running from the start.