When Kentucky baseball coach Nick Mingione met with reporters Monday after his team secured a spot in the 2024 College World Series, he did more than talk about his excitement for the future.

He also talked about experiencing pain in the past, including in 2022, when two of his top players got injured.

“I was beat down. I was a beat down coach, and God taught me a valuable lesson,” Mingione said.

Mingione explained that, by surrendering to God that season, he realized that he needed to make changes. He moved from the dugout to third base, in order to give his players more time with one of the team’s other coaches.

“The Lord put it on my heart that I was not using my spiritual gifts that he’d given me,” he said. “I had to make changes.”

Mingione highlighted the success his team has had since that moment two years ago and thanked God for teaching him that you play your best when you stop focusing on winning the College World Series.

“I got done chasing this dream of Omaha and I just said I’m done. I’m not chasing that anymore, Lord. I want to play for you. It’s not what you’re playing for, it’s who you’re playing for and that’s what God taught me,” Mingione said.

Kentucky baseball 2024

Kentucky baseball’s trip to this year’s College World Series is the first such trip in program history.

The team is 45-14 this season under Mingione, who has been the school’s head coach since 2017.

Kentucky’s 45th win on Sunday, which secured the team a spot in the College World Series, also tied a school record for wins in a season, per KSR.

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College World Series format

Kentucky is one of eight teams to make it to the 2024 College World Series in Omaha.

World Series play begins on Friday, June 14, in two double-elimination brackets that have four teams each, according to the NCAA.

“The winners of the two ... brackets meet in the (Men’s College World Series) Finals, a best-of-three series to decide the NCAA champion,” NCAA.com explains.

The College World Series finals will take place from June 22-24.

Kentucky infielder Mitchell Daly (2) during an NCAA regional baseball game against Indiana State on Sunday, June 2, 2024, in Lexington, Ky. | John Amis

Kentucky baseball schedule

Kentucky is in a bracket with North Carolina State, Texas A&M and Florida.

Its first College World Series game is against NC State, and it will take place on Saturday at 1 p.m. EDT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN, according to the NCAA.

The other four-team bracket at the 2024 College World Series is comprised of North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida State.