This weekend’s series against SEC West opponent Mississippi State will be the last SEC series at Cliff Hagan Stadium, or as it’s become well known, The Cliff. Cliff Hagan Stadium will have been the home of the Cats for 50 years after its final season comes to close in a matter of days. The Baseball team and athletic department are finishing up the construction of a 49 million dollar new stadium as we speak. Expected completion of the new stadium is in 2019.

Former Cats have been sharing their thoughts on The Cliff via Twitter leading up to the series this weekend.

Bringing back memories of Cliff Hagan Stadium over the years courtesy of UK Athletics.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky baseball program has experienced many memorable moments during the 50 years in which the Wildcats have played at Cliff Hagan Stadium. As “The Cliff” sees its final regular season games this weekend, here is a chronological look back at 10 of the most memorable moments in the history of the stadium.

April 27, 1982 – Just five days after losing to Eastern Kentucky in Richmond, head coach Keith Madison’s Cats got their revenge against the Colonels in a big way, winning 21-4. Bill Sandry provided much of the offense for Kentucky on that day, hitting four home runs and just missing a fifth as the Wildcats posted a blowout win.

April 9, 1988 – Kentucky hosted Vanderbilt in an SEC doubleheader that provided not one, but two fantastic finishes. In the first game, the teams were tied 3-3 as Kentucky came to bat for the final time. The Wildcats loaded the bases and Mark Blythe won the game with a walk-off grand slam over the wall in right field. If that wasn’t enough, Kentucky did it again in the second game. Trailing 10-8 and, again, batting for the final time, the Cats loaded the bases and this time, Robbie Buchanan hit a grand slam, giving Kentucky a 12-10 win and a doubleheader sweep on a pair of walk-off grand slams.

March 18, 1989 – LSU All-American pitcher Ben McDonald came to Lexington with a scoreless streak of 41.2 innings and extended that streak to a then-SEC record 44.2 innings early in this game. However, the future major leaguer saw that streak come to an end as Kentucky racked up 13 hits and seven runs against him, including a home run by shortstop Billy White that tied the score in the ninth inning. Mark Blythe and Mike Harris each had three hits in the game for the Wildcats.

March 1, 2002 – Kentucky plays its first game in Cliff Hagan Stadium following a $4.2 million renovation that installed 2,000 chair-back seats and new press box. The game itself featured an outstanding pitching performance from UK right-hander and future major leaguer Joe Blanton, who allowed just one earned run in eight innings of work while striking out 13.

June 2, 2006 – For the first time in school history, Kentucky plays host to an NCAA Regional contest, as the Wildcats face Ball State in the opening round of the tournament at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Unfortunately, it is Ball State’s Ben Snyder who shines the brightest, holding Kentucky’s potent offense in check for eight innings in a 3-1 Cardinals’ victory. Kentucky would bounce back to beat Notre Dame and Ball State in the regional before falling to College of Charleston.

April 8, 2008 – Kentucky and archrival Louisville played an epic, extra-inning game that actually went into the next day and ended with an unlikely hero. With the score tied 6-6 in the bottom of the 12th inning, Kentucky’s Keenan Wiley hit his first career home run, lifting the Wildcats to a 7-6 win. It was Wiley’s fourth hit of the game and one of the most important of his career.

May 16, 2010 – In his final regular-season at-bat at Cliff Hagan Stadium, senior catcher Marcus Nidiffer comes to the plate with the bases loaded and his team trailing defending national champion LSU, 4-2. Nidiffer promptly launches a Matty Ott pitch over the wall in left field for a grand slam, providing the final runs in a 6-4 come-from-behind win for the Cats. With the win, Kentucky swept LSU in a three-game series for the first time since 1991.

March 17, 2012 – Kentucky ties a school record with its 19th straight win, this one coming in dramatic fashion. Luke Maile hit a two-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Cats past two-time defending national champion South Carolina 4-3. Kentucky would start the 2012 season with a  school-record 22 straight wins.

April 4, 2014 – AJ Reed had an incredible 2014 season and was the consensus National Player of the Year. On this night, Reed was spectacular, both on the mound and at the plate. Reed pitched seven scoreless innings against 12th-ranked Florida, allowing just five hits while striking out three batters. At the plate, Reed had two doubles and crushed his 10th home run of the season as the Cats thumped the Gators 17-1.

June 5, 2017 – Kentucky and N.C. State was scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. for a winner-take-all NCAA Regional championship game, but Mother Nature had other plans. In fact, storms that rolled through the area forced the evacuation of a huge crowd from the stadium, and pushed the starting time back to 9:20 p.m. Once the weather cleared, the fans returned, setting a Cliff Hagan Stadium attendance record of 5,005. And the Wildcats did not disappoint the record crowd, rallying to win 10-5, claiming the first regional championship in school history.

MISSISSIPPI STATE at #17 KENTUCKY

Friday vs. Miss. State

    7:30 p.m. ET; Cliff Hagan Stadium; Lexington, Ky.

    TV/Online: ESPNU

    Radio: 630 AM WLAP Lexington; ukathletics.com

    Probables: UK – RHP Sean Hjelle (6-4, 3.19) vs. MSU – LHP Konnor Pilkington (2-5, 3.72)

Saturday vs. Miss. State

    5 p.m. ET; Cliff Hagan Stadium; Lexington, Ky.

    TV/Online: SEC Network

    Radio: 630 AM WLAP Lexington; ukathletics.com

    Probables: UK – LHP Zack Thompson (2-0, 4.98) vs. MSU – LHP Ethan Small (5-3, 2.99)

Sunday vs. Miss. State

    3 p.m. ET; Cliff Hagan Stadium; Lexington, Ky.

    TV/Online: SEC Network

    Radio: 630 AM WLAP Lexington; ukathletics.com

    Probables: UK – RHP Justin Lewis (7-3, 4.33) vs. MSU – TBA

 

Image courtesy of UK Athletics