Nick Lopez has been a dependable hitter from both sides of the plate for Kentucky this season

Lexington’s Doug Flynn played 11 years in Major League Baseball with five teams, won two world championships with the Cincinnati Reds and won a Gold Glove Award in 1980 with the New York Mets.

He was managing a minor league baseball team when he got a chance 27 years ago to join Central Bank in Lexington. He’s done a variety of media work since then also and currently calls UK baseball games on SEC Network+ with Dick Gabriel.

Flynn said no current UK player has ever asked him about his major league baseball experience that includes playing with stars like Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and others. However, he does have a “good relationship” with second baseman Emillien Pitre and shortstop Grant Smith — Flynn was a second baseman.

“I will go on the field before games for batting practice. They are good kids. I told (UK coach) Nick (Mingione) I saw some things that might help them speed up their delivery (on throws),” Flynn said. “Nick said if I saw something, talk to them.”

Flynn has enjoyed watching a lot of Kentucky players this season. Southern Cal transfer Nick Lopez has been especially intriguing.

“Last year he did not switch hit because his coach told him not to. Nick said if he wanted to switch hit, do it and he’s hit around .370,” Flynn said. “Ryan Nicholson transferred from Cincinnati after hitting 16 home runs last year. He has 16 this year and he can hit it a long way.”

Kentucky had the best defense in the SEC last year. This season it ranks third but Flynn notes that nine errors early in the season by the pitching staff cost UK being No. 1 defensively again this season.

“Kentucky has three shortstops in the infield. Pitre came her as a shortstop and now combines with Smith for the best double play combination in the SEC,” Flynn said. “(Mitchell) Daly came from Texas and moved to third base and has been outstanding.”

Flynn calls UK a “fun teach” to watch.

“What is is so cool is not only how well they play but the air of confidence they have without being cocky. They want to get better. They do play with no fear but they also love each other and play that way,” Flynn, a former UK baseball/basketball player, said.

Flynn wants to see UK finish regular-season play with a strong showing against Vanderbilt this weekend and then play well in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. Kentucky likely will need to sweep Vandy to win or share the SEC regular season championship for the first time.

“They have the mindset that they want to win the league and the tournament both,” Flynn said. “That will also help their (NCAA) seeding as well. Plus, if you are on a roll you want to play and not have a week off because you got beat early in the tournament. I hope they finish well and win two or three games in the SEC Tournament to get ready for NCAA play where I think they can do really well.”

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Zac Oakes is the News and Sports Director for LakerCountry.com and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.