It can be hard to keep up with everything going on in the University of Kentucky's 22 varsity sports. With that in mind, we will highlight the best from around Kentucky sports each week. We'll recognize the best performances from Wildcat teams and players, we'll show you the coolest videos and photos that you may have missed and we'll mix in some new stuff along the way. Here are your award winners for this week:
Team of the Week - Kentucky posts crucial sweep of LSU
Going into Friday's opening game against Louisiana State University, the Kentucky softball team knew what it had to do to have the best chance of making the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have a high enough RPI to be considered, but in order to be selected, UK would have to be either at or about the .500 mark by the time SEC Tournament play was over.
With a 26-27 record going into the series, the goal was to take at least two games from LSU, but ideally sweep the Tigers so that no matter the result in the SEC Tournament, the Cats would be no worse than .500. After winning in extra innings in the opener 4-3, UK got their second win on Saturday, another one-run affair, 2-1.
Kentucky had a chance to get a sweep with the final regular season game of the year awaiting on Sunday. Sunday's game was also Senior Day, and head coach Rachel Lawson decided to bring back her ace, senior Chanda Bell, on the last day of the season. Bell delivered in the grandest way imaginable with a 1-0 no-hitter victory as Alice O'Brien delivered the game-winning hit in the sixth inning.
The win gave UK a 29-27 (15-13 SEC) record. Kentucky will head into the SEC Tournament as the fifth seed to face Georgia in Tuscaloosa, Ala. in the opening round.
Player of the Week - Corey Littrell salvages finale vs. Florida
After Kentucky had fallen to Florida in the first two games of a three-game set, head coach Gary Henderson went to his sophomore stud Correy Littrell to stop the bleeding. The Wildcats had just lost their first series of the season last weekend to Vanderbilt and were on the verge of getting swept for the first time Saturday afternoon against Florida.
Littrell served as the perfect stopper and got UK on the board in the series after throwing eight innings of one-run baseball as Kentucky got an important 2-1 win over the Gators. With the win, Littrell chalked up his seventh victory of the season and has yet to lose a game. He struck out five and did not walk a batter while not allowing a run through eight innings. The sophomore didn't allow a run through 8 innings, but gave up a leadoff homerun in the ninth before being lifted.
Game of the Week - Softball comes back, beats LSU in extras
Kentucky trailed 3-2 in the seventh and was down to its final out in the seventh when senior third baseman Brittany Cervantes stepped to the plate. With the Wildcats needing as many wins as possible heading into postseason play, Cervantes came up with one of the biggest hits of a career. Facing one of the best pitchers in the nation in LSU's Rachel Fico, Cervantes deposited a game-tying solo blast deep over the centerfield fence to send the game to extra innings.
Senior pitcher Chanda Bell posted a scoreless top of the eighth to give UK a chance to walk-off with a victory in the bottom of the frame. Fico then walked Rachel Riley and Ginny Carroll. With one out in the inning, Alice O'Brien sent a frozen-rope line drive to the left fielder. With the play right in front of her, LSU left fielder Ashley Langoni saw that pinch runner Ashleigh Gustafson had taken off for third. Langoni, with a chance to catch the line drive and turn a double play, took her eye off the ball as it glanced off her glove, and Gustafson scampered home for the game-winning run.
It was a huge win for the softball team, which set the tempo for the following games in the series. The 4-3 win was the first of three one-run wins Kentucky would hang on LSU on the weekend.
Video of the Week - Highlights from softball Senior Day
Photo of the Week - UK meets President Obama
Alumnus of the Week - Phillies' Joe Blanton tosses complete game shutout vs. Atlanta
University of Kentucky product Joe Blanton threw what he called the best game of his career Thursday in a 4-0 complete game victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Blanton blanked the Braves allowing just three hits while striking out six to pull the Phillies (13-13) to .500 on the season. After Atlanta had roughed up Philadelphia the night before, plowing through many of the Phillies' relievers, Blanton knew he had to go deep into the game.
When asked if it was the best game of his eight-year career, Blanton replied, "I think so. Just the fact that we had a lot of guys who pitched a lot of innings last night, so I needed to go deep and I did."