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Kelsey Nunley pitched nine shutout innings in UK's 1-0 win over WKU on Wednesday night. (Chet White, UK Athletics) Kelsey Nunley pitched nine shutout innings in UK's 1-0 win over WKU on Wednesday night. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
Kelsey Nunley had waited for three weeks to break the record, so a couple extra innings were no issue.

On April 1, Nunley tied Chanda Bell atop the all-time wins list in Kentucky softball history. She made seven starts and appeared three more times looking for win No. 69, but it never came.

Wednesday it finally did.

"Kelsey and I haven't really talked about it, but I'm sure it's probably a big monkey off her back," UK head coach Rachel Lawson said.

Nunley didn't have the luxury of pitching like she had anything but her jersey on her back against Western Kentucky. With Miranda Kramer in the circle for the Hilltoppers, the slightest lapse in focus would have meant a loss in a 1-0 pitchers' duel that lasted nine innings.

"Wow, it was something else," Nunley said. "I just had to believe in my team and believe in myself that we were just going to come out with a win and just go out there and stay strong."

The way Kramer was dealing, it took a lot to keep the faith. The Western Kentucky University ace mowed through the UK lineup, piling up strikeouts and mounting a no-hit bid that lasted until Brooklyn Hinz's infield single in the eighth inning.

"I think that Kramer's an exceptional pitcher," Lawson said. "I think she's one of the best in the country. I'd be hard-pressed to find anyone better."

The No. 17 Cats (29-17), however, wouldn't stop swinging even as they struck out 18 times, the most in school history. In the ninth inning, they finally got Nunley her record-breaking win in walk-off fashion. Christian Stokes singled with one out and moved to second on Griffin Joiner's groundout. Maisie Steed then delivered an infield single and Stokes was able to score when Kramer's toss sailed over the head of her first baseman.

Twenty-four hours removed from a run-rule loss to Louisville that left Lawson evaluating her team's toughness, the performance was encouraging.

"We had a really embarrassing loss last night so Coach got us back together and just told us that we gotta go out and play tough and it's not going to get any easier from here on out," Nunley said. "So if we don't get ourselves together and start playing better we're not going to be able to do as good as we want to do."

The Cats responded immediately.

"We talked about taking each at-bat one at a time because we thought that we wouldn't be able to get on her until the third time through the order and they stuck with the game plan and they did it," Lawson said. "And I think anytime a team can stick with the game plan they set out to do at the beginning the game really says a lot about their toughness."

When it comes to toughness, it starts with UK's all-time winningest pitcher, who threw nine scoreless innings and allowed just six hits and struck out nine.

"I don't think you're going to find anybody tougher than Kelsey," Lawson said, "I don't think you're going to find anybody who can command the zone better than she does and I don't think you're going find anybody in the country who's more battle-tested than she is. She's been doing this for us for the last three years."

The Kentucky softball team got just what it needed when Meagan Prince stepped into the circle against No. 1 LSU with two runners on and one out and trailing 2-1 in the top of the third inning.

It turns out the sophomore lefthander got just what she needed as well.

Coming off an outing in which she gave up six runs in just one inning at Auburn last Saturday, Prince came back a week later and redeemed herself.

In 4.1 innings of work, she allowed no runs on two hits with five strikeouts. She loaded the bases twice and had four walks, but LSU, one of the most explosive offenses in the country, was held cold.

Saturday's performance came after head coach Rachel Lawson issued a challenge to Prince following last week's short work in Auburn.

"After that Auburn game, Coach Lawson got on me pretty good," Prince said. "She said we had specific things that needed to get accomplished and accomplished now before this weekend. During practice we worked on those to make sure we had some of those things controlled a little bit better for this weekend."

Saturday, the Wildcats had just given up two runs to the top-ranked Tigers and squandered a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Prince came in with one out in the frame and walked her first batter to load the bases, but that's when the tides turned in her favor.

She got a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning and prevent LSU's offense from putting together a big inning.

The next inning, a single and a pair of walks loaded the bags again for LSU. Again, it was Prince with a strikeout to send the Tigers away empty-handed.

"Meagan came in, and she put runners on, but the nice thing is she was able to close the door," Lawson said. "This is the reason we recruited Meagan, she's very tough. She's been tough her entire life. She not only got beat up by Auburn, but she probably got beat up by me a little bit this week. She responded, she did what she needed to do. She had the fortitude and the command, and she worked on her pitches and picked herself up. Today she came out and showed the type of player that she is, and we're really happy that we have her on our team."

The key was Prince's approach to those two bases-loaded jams, which started just one batter in to her appearance.

Before entering the game, it was some advice from UK's ace that helped get Prince going.

"One pitch at a time," Prince said of her approach. "As a matter of fact, that's what Kelsey [Nunley] told me right before I went out, she was like 'OK, you have to take it one pitch at a time.' So that's what I tried to do. Just take it one pitch at a time, perfect that pitch and throw that pitch, perfect that pitch and move on."

"Meagan was outstanding today, this is one of the best games I've seen her pitch," Lawson said. "She was able to command all four corners, she was able to command her pitches, she looked confident. She was throwing hard, she was really making the curveball move, which was really nice. Overall I'm very proud of her and I think she was a huge reason why we won the game today."

The confidence that might have been wavering after UK's trip to Auburn is on its way back for Prince. Shutting down the No. 1 team in the country will do that though.

Prince allowed a lone single in the fifth inning before Kentucky tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the frame. Prince followed with a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth and retired the first two batters in the seventh. After a two-out walk, Nunley came in and got the save.

Giving up two hits and no runs over 4.1 innings has put Prince back on track. She still has work to do, but she likes where Saturday went.

"It helps the confidence," Prince said. "There are still some things I need to work on of course, there were some pitches that weren't hitting today, so there are a lot of things that still need to be worked on."

When she gets back to working on those little things this week, Prince will have some confidence, and momentum, on her side.


After capping an eight-game win streak with three straight losses on the road to No. 9 Auburn last weekend, No. 15 Kentucky hoped to use the following week of practice to bounce back to winning form before Friday's SEC home opener versus No. 1 LSU.

According to UK head coach Rachel Lawson, the Cats jumped at the opportunity for redemption.

"(The players) worked incredibly hard this week," said Lawson. "They had to basically reinvent themselves, and remember the team that they had been in the past that allowed them to be so successful."

Instead of simply returning to the heights they had experienced before, Kentucky used Friday's platform to bypass all of its past successes. The Wildcats' 3-1 victory over LSU marked the first win over a top ranked opponent in program history.

"Any time you can beat a team the caliber of LSU, you feel pretty good about your win," Lawson said. "The team worked hard this week, so it just validated all of the work they put in in practices and film, and all of the things that they did to get ready for today."

For senior catcher Griffin Joiner, this week meant letting go of external pressures and getting back to doing what she does best.

"We just have a better focus," Joiner said. "We stopped worrying about all the outside things. We just tried to worry about getting better each day at practice, and let the pieces fall where they fall."

As evidenced by her 3-for-3 performance at the plate (including the contest's only home run and her team-leading sixth RBI of the season), all of the right pieces fell into place for Joiner.

"(Joiner) has been clutch for us her entire career," Lawson said. "So, to be able to see her do it after we had such a rough weekend, to be able to do it against an outstanding team, and just to be able to relax and let the game come to her really says a lot about her character, and her ability just to keep moving on and playing the game the right way."

Joiner & Co.'s defensive performance that held the Tigers to just a single run for only the second time all season was anchored by junior pitcher Kelsey Nunley, who earned her 10th win of the 2015.

"We didn't do so well, and we weren't aggressive enough last week," said Nunley. "So, Coach was like, 'We've got to be more aggressive. We've got to be on the hunt.' So, we just came out, and we were like, 'We have nothing to lose. Let's just go out on the hunt and try and play our game.'"

Despite making the trip to Lexington with only one blemish on their record, LSU's remarkable resume failed to intimidate the team that used nine innings to defeat the Tigers 4-3 in last season's SEC Tournament semifinals.

"It was just nice to come out and get to play the No. 1 team in the nation," Joiner said. "We play in a tough conference, and we know that every game that we come out here is going to be tough. So, we were excited."

Nunley echoed her catcher's sentiment.

"I love the challenge, and I love pitching against teams that are really, really good," said Nunley. "That's why I chose to play in the SEC, because I love to play teams that are always going to be a challenge. So, it was fun."

However, Lawson is just pleased to see success return to her team who worked so hard to deserve it.

"I think it's gratifying for (the players)," Lawson said. "Fortunately, we did not have a midweek (game), so we were able to have some really demanding practices, and they answered. Today, you saw the fruits of their labors. So, I feel really good about that today."

Kentucky (22-8, 2-5 SEC) will host LSU (31-2, 5-2 SEC) for the second installment of a three-game series on Saturday at noon at John Cropp Stadium.


The UK softball team is coming off its first Women's College World Series appearance. The Wildcats are ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll, the highest in program history, and return much of last year's record-setting team, not to mention a star-studded freshman class.

The interest in the team has never been greater among the Big Blue Nation. In each of head coach Rachel Lawson's first seven seasons, UK has surpassed the previous season's accomplishments.

Needless to say, expectations are high in 2015. The team though, hasn't let those expectations bring increased pressure.

If anything, the Wildcats have embraced the expectations. It comes with the territory of being one of the nation's best programs, competing the in the NCAA's best conference.

At the team's annual media day before the season, Lawson was confident when looking ahead.

"We have a really strong team coming back," Lawson said. "We are coming back completely up the middle. We have our catcher back, we have our starting pitcher back along with a few other returning pitchers that are sophomores. We have our shortstop and second baseman required a lot of time last year and then our centerfielder. Anytime that you have the middle of your team coming back you are always looking forward to another great season."

As Kentucky made its record-setting postseason run last season, it did it with a loose, 'why not?' attitude.

The Wildcats upset No. 3-seeded UCLA, college softball's powerhouse program, and rolled into Oklahoma City with as much confidence and swagger as a team that was making another routine trip to the World Series, not its first. Sure, they were wide-eyed and excited about the opportunity to play on the biggest stage, but that loose attitude played a big part in UK winning its first game in OKC.

Fast forward eight months, and that spirit and fun attitude hasn't changed. Now, they know how to get to the World Series, and the memories and experience of college softball's biggest stage only make this team more determined to get there again.

"We set a goal and we actually know what it's like to accomplish that," senior catcher Griffin Joiner said. "I think that it has added extra motivation for us this offseason because we have always talked about going to the Women's College World Series and how great that would be, but now that we have actually made it there it's actually added a lot of determination to get back this year."

That's been the driving force through the fall and preseason practice. The trip to the World Series in 2014 and increased expectations this year have driven the team to work even harder to ensure a return trip in June.

"I think the mindset is determined," sophomore shortstop Christian Stokes said. "Obviously, we accomplished our goal last year of going to the World Series, but it is always a goal to get to the World Series and it's another goal for us this year and maybe even try to get a little further. That is what we are getting focused on."

With success comes higher expectations, increased media exposure and fan support that's among the nation's best. Inside the team facilities at John Cropp Stadium, the work ethic has remained from previous seasons.

However, Lawson has noticed some change coming off a WCWS appearance.

"Right now, I would say that we are a lot further along at this point in the season then we had been in past years, mostly because of the experience and focus that our players had in the offseason," Lawson said. "So when they came back, their swings were a little bit better, they were a little bit stronger and we are doing things right now that we haven't done at this point in time in the past."

Those extra cuts in the batting cages, attendance at voluntary summer workouts and increased focus didn't come at the request of the coaching staff. It came thanks to the determination of the players, which is a credit to Lawson, her staff and their leadership.

While on the surface it's a light team atmosphere, it's the blue-collar work ethic that has helped the Wildcats reach unprecedented success both on the field and in the classroom.

Lawson is proud that, World Series appearance or not, having to motivate her team to work hard, be good students and do the right thing isn't an issue. 

"We never have had a motivational problem with our softball team," Lawson said. "We have a great team culture and we are motivated in everything that we do and incredibly strong pound-for-pound and have always been exceptional students. Last year, our team GPA was a 3.6 and we were the only BCS school in the country that was both in the World Series and top-10 in GPA."

Despite all the hard work, extra practice, determination and focus, one thing won't change: For the first time, UK has a target on its back. No longer are the Wildcats the hunters, but the hunted.

But, Kentucky knows that comes with the territory. You don't make the World Series, earn a No. 6 preseason ranking and play in the SEC and not have a giant target on your back.

For the Wildcats, it's not added pressure or increased expectations. It's what should happen.

"I think that just shows the success we had last year and speaks to the great conference we play in," Joiner said. "There are a lot of teams in the top 25 from the SEC so it's just exciting for us to be up there with the other teams. We're going to get to play the other teams that are ranked so we're really excited about that."

"We have ventured into uncharted waters and something that this team is going to have to manage is the expectations of being the team that people are going after," Lawson said. "In the past, we have always been a good team but we always kind of fell under the radar."

Just like facing powerhouse UCLA on its home turf and pulling off the unprecedented upset, or going to the World Series and winning a game they weren't supposed to be in, the Wildcats don't care that they're going places the program has never been before. 

With the season opening this weekend in Tallahassee, Fla., some things will be the same, but some things will be different. The loose, fun team will have a target on its back. The determination and focus remains as it always was while escalating to a new level all at the same time.

When you have a 'why not?' mentality and a determination to be your best and shut out the outside distractions, anything is possible.

As for expectations, there's nothing wrong with embracing them. With a championship the ultimate goal, that's what the UK softball team has done.

"When you come to the University of Kentucky your goal is to win championships," Lawson said. "So that carrot is always dangling out there and when you win one championship you want to win another championship. Complacency isn't something that we worry about."

High expectations, lofty goals, but no pressure. Just go out and work hard and have fun.

Get to know UK softball's Griffin Joiner

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Grffin Joiner.jpg Over the last two weeks, Cat Scratches has given fans an inside look at UK softball's 2015 roster with 20 fun questions and a quick outlook of every player. Senior catcher Griffin Joiner is the finale player to be previewed prior to UK's season opener at 4 p.m. ET today against Florida A&M.

Starting her second year as one of the team's captains, senior catcher Griffin Joiner is the leader of the team in all aspects entering 2015. Joiner, who has started 184 consecutive games at catcher, ranks high in several all-time records at UK, including doubles, home runs and RBI.

The native of Hopkinsville, Ky., has a .304 career batting average with 33 doubles, one triple, 100 RBI, a .501 slugging percentage and a .426 on-base percentage. Last year, Joiner hit .309 with 11 doubles, 10 homers and 39 RBI. The catcher had a hot stretch to start the season and was named national player of the week, becoming only the fourth player in school history to claim a national player of the week honor.

During her time at UK, Joiner has been named an All-Southeastern Conference performer every year, SEC Freshman and Player of the Week, CoSIDA Academic All-District, third-team NFCA All-Southeast Region honoree and three-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Come see Griffin and the rest of the Kentucky Wildcats this spring at John Cropp Stadium. UK's home opener is March 11 vs. EKU at 5 p.m. ET. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the UK Ticket Office at 1-800-928-2287, in person at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office or online at www.ukathletics.com/tickets.  

To help you get to know Griffin better, it's time to play a game called 20 questions.

What is your nickname? Griff

Why did you choose to play softball at Kentucky?
It was my dream to be able to wear the Kentucky jersey and play in the SEC. Also, a lot of coaches put players on a pedestal when they are being recruited, but here it was different. Our coaches made me aware of the things I needed to keep working on to be able to play at this level  and that honesty made me want to be a part of Kentucky Softball even more.

If you could trade places with Coach Lawson for one day, what would you do?
I would wear the furry crocs and hit people with the ponytail.

What is your biggest accomplishment to date? Being on the first team from Kentucky to make it to the World Series was a big accomplishment. It was the first time I could truly say that I was a part of a team that set a goal and accomplished it.

Can you solve a rubix cube? Only if I can go hide and move some stickers around ...

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? Surf and braid my own hair ...

After softball, what would be your dream job? I would be a spy for the government or live on the beach and write motivational books.

Name three things you like? Passionate people, laughing and deep conversations ...

What is your favorite dessert? I haven't found many that I don't like.

What is your most memorable moment as a softball player so far? I will never forget celebrating our super regional wins, or the love our fans gave us when we walked onto the field for the first time in OKC.

Funniest players on the team and why? If you just sit and watch Nikki you'll be entertained because she will probably be doing something goofy without even knowing. I always laugh at Kelsey because she has no filter and her comments can be so shockingly honest that you just laugh.

Best dancer on the team is... Maisie

What is your worst fear? I hate knives.

What did you do growing up that always got you into trouble?
I always got in trouble for having a bad attitude, especially anytime something involved losing (softball, cards, games at birthday parties, gym) or shopping. It must have been pretty bad, because Santa left me a serious note about it one Christmas.

Favorite saying or quote you like to live by:
Control what you can control.

How do you like your eggs? Cheesy with ketchup and the way everyone else on the team hates them ... runny.

Have you ever starred in a school play and if so, what was the name of the play and your character?
In preschool, I was one of the trolls in the Three Billy Goats Gruff. I guess my mean face was noticeable at a young age.

What three things do you think of most each day?
Softball, my family and my next meal

How did you get your name?
My parents gave it to me.

Do you have any weird superstitions?
I have to wear eye black and I have to take a shower ever morning there is a game, even if I just had one the night before.

Get to know UK softball's Kara Howard

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Kara Howard.jpg Over the next two weeks, Cat Scratches will give fans an inside look at UK softball's 2015 roster with 20 fun questions and a quick outlook heading into the team's season opener on Feb. 4 vs. Florida A&M.

Considered one of the best defensive outfielders on the team, senior Kara Howard has recovered from an injury that sidelined her last season and is expected to contribute to the team's depth in the outfield this spring.

Howard has played in 87 career games with 38 starts, recording a triple, three RBI and 11 runs scored. The native of Riverside, Calif., had her sophomore season cut short due to injury, but made an impact defensively before the injury in the outfield. Howard made several amazing catches, including a diving catch against Mississippi State, which was the No. 6 play on ESPN's Sportscenter Top Plays.

Howard is a two-year member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll and comes from an athletic family as her older sister, Kaylan, played softball at Oregon.

Come see Kara and the rest of the Kentucky Wildcats this spring at John Cropp Stadium. UK's home opener is March 11 vs. EKU at 5 p.m. ET. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the UK Ticket Office at 1-800-928-2287, in person at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office or online at www.ukathletics.com/tickets.  

To help you get to know Kara better, it's time to play a game called 20 questions.

What is your nickname?
Teddy, because according to the whole team (and strangers!) I look like those graham crackers in the shape of a teddy bear.

Do you have any pets? Two fish named Perseus and Albino, my dog Baby, and partial ownership of the cat outside that I call Chester (but his real name is Dusty Cheeks).

What is your shoe size? 7.5, which is why I believe I'm so clumsy because my feet are too small for my height and it's hard to stand balanced.

When was the last time you were moved to tears? Last night I stubbed my toe on my bed.

If you had a Derby horse, what would you name it? All I do is whiny, whiny, whiny.

If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
A chicken with the face of a monkey ...  just so people stop hating on the Chinese Crested dog for being so ugly. Plus, Monkey popping out of an egg! How awesome would that be?!

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? I want to learn how to fight like Black Widow from The Avengers, that way no big kid can steal my chocolate milk again.

Name three things you like? Candy, movies and sarcasm

What trip would you like to take in your lifetime? Going to Disney World ...

What do you typically have for breakfast? Whatever is closest to me, more often than not it's left over pizza ...

What is your favorite dessert?
Strawberry cheesecake

Best dancer on the team is... We're all pretty terrible, but it's either Dari or Shannon ...

What is one TV show you cannot miss?
Supernatural, Doctor Who or Sherlock

How do you like your eggs? Scrambled and drowned in syrup ...

Do you collect anything? I collect first seasons of my favorite TV shows, books and their movie adaptations, and all Marvel & Disney movies.

Are you related or distantly related to anyone famous?
I like to say that Terrence Howard is my uncle, a girl can dream.

What three things do you think of most each day? Food, Netflix, and the lyrics to Let It Go

What is your favorite class you've taken in college so far?
German Fairytales

Can you solve a Rubik's Cube?
Yeah, when the stickers come off

If you could trade places with Coach Lawson for one day, what would you do?
I would buy a horse named "The Walking Couch"

Get to know UK softball's Kelsey Nunley

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Kelsey Nunley.jpg Over the next two weeks, Cat Scratches will give fans an inside look at UK softball's 2015 roster with 20 fun questions and a quick outlook heading into the team's season opener on Feb. 4 vs. Florida A&M.

After two years in Kentucky blue, junior pitcher Kelsey Nunley has placed her name all over the UK record books, becoming only the third player in UK history with 400+ career strikeouts and ranks second in school history with 57 career wins.

Nunley, who won every postseason game for Kentucky last season on the way to a WCWS appearance, is 57-22 in 92 career appearances, throwing 551.0 innings with 412 strikeouts, a 2.01 ERA and .214 opponent batting average. Last season, Nunley become the first player in program history to win 30 games in a season, posting a 30-11 record with a 1.88 ERA and 219 strikeouts.

The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., has won several awards since stepping on campus, including a two-time All-Southeastern Conference honoree, SEC Pitcher of the Week, SEC Freshman of the Week, SEC All-Tournament team member, WCWS All-Tournament team member  and NFCA All-Southeast Region honoree. Off the field, Nunley has been a model student as a two-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Come see Kelsey and the rest of the Kentucky Wildcats this spring at John Cropp Stadium. UK's home opener is March 11 vs. EKU at 5 p.m. ET. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the UK Ticket Office at 1-800-928-2287, in person at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office or online at www.ukathletics.com/tickets.  

To help you get to know Kelsey better, it's time to play a game called 20 questions.

What is your nickname? My nickname is Skeeter. My dad gave me the nickname many years ago because he said my legs look like a mosquito.

Do you have any pets? Yes, I have a pet sugar glider and her name is Bonnie.

What is your shoe size? I got a big foot, size 12 in women's.

What is your favorite word? Ignorant ... and I don't care if I use it uncorrectly. (that's a joke haha)

Why did you choose to play softball at Kentucky? I chose to play softball at Kentucky because I believe God directed my path here. I have dreamed of playing softball in the SEC since I was a little girl, and who doesn't look good in blue?  

When was the last time you were moved to tears? Last time I cried was I think listening to a song in my car, they get me fired up sometimes.

Person that has most influenced you in life, why? My Dad has been a big influence on my life, but I think that everyone I have come across has either influenced me for the better or I've used them as a learning experience.

If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
If I could breed two animals it would have to be a cat and a monkey. Those are my favorite animals, and I would call it a catmonk.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? If I could learn to do anything it would have to be scuba diving.

After softball, what would be your dream job?
My dream job after softball is to open my own business giving pitching lessons, that way I can try my best to give younger girls the same opportunity as I've had.

Name three things you like? Spending time with my friends, good surprises and shooting hoops at the park with my Dad.

Name three things you dislike? When people scrape the fork on their teeth when they're eating, butterfingers and feet ...

What trip would you like to take in your lifetime?
I would love to go to Africa on a wild safari, or just go to a rainforest there and see all kinds of different animals.

What is your favorite dessert? Depends on my mood ... People think I'm crazy when I want ice cream even though it's cold outside.

What is your most memorable moment as a softball player so far?
My most memorable moment as a softball player would have to be stepping my own two feet on the pitching mound at the Women's College World Series in OKC.

Best dancer on the team is...
Best dancer on the team is definitely Dari. She's got moves, a little soul and rhythm.

Favorite all-time movie? My favorite all-time movie is the Sandlot ... "You're killing me smalls!"

The most famous person you've ever met is... I was lucky enough to meet Eli Manning, Michael Phelps, and Venus and Serena Williams at the Best of Preps Banquets in Chattanooga during high school.

How do you like your eggs? I like my eggs over easy with cheese on top.

Are you allergic to anything? I'm allergic to cats, but I still love 'em.

Get to know UK softball's Ansley Smith

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Ansley Smith.jpg Over the next two weeks, Cat Scratches will give fans an inside look at UK softball's 2015 roster with 20 fun questions and a quick outlook heading into the team's season opener on Feb. 4 vs. Florida A&M.

Junior infielder Ansley Smith has started 62 games and played in 104 contests in her two years with the Wildcats, including 53 starts in 2014. Most of her starts have come at second base, a position she is expected to get plenty of starts at in 2015.

Smith, who showed improved defense in 2014, has scored 41 runs in her two years with UK, adding four doubles, six homers, 22 RBI and six stolen bases. The native of Newnan, Ga., had a great start to the 2014 season by hitting .467 the opening weekend with three doubles, four RBI and a home run in UK's first five games.

A two-year member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll, Smith has been active in the Lexington community since moving to the Bluegrass State.

Come see Ansley and the rest of the Kentucky Wildcats this spring at John Cropp Stadium. UK's home opener is March 11 vs. EKU at 5 p.m. ET. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the UK Ticket Office at 1-800-928-2287, in person at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office or online at www.ukathletics.com/tickets.  

To help you get to know Ansley better, it's time to play a game called 20 questions.

What is your nickname?
Zanzley

Do you have any pets? Yes, two beautiful puppies, two strange outside cats, and I have a pet fish here at school named Diego.

If you could trade places with Coach Lawson for one day, what would you do? Make her go through our workouts and running so when she gets her body back she can feel the destruction! Muhaha

If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create? I would mix a giraffe and a turtle, he would have a miniature giraffe neck and head, but it would be on a turtle's body. How cute would that little guy be? And how awesome is the word, tiraffe?

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? I'd want to learn how to fly, that way I'd save gas and never get stuck in traffic.  

What is your guilty pleasure?
Reading, it's almost an addiction ... Ask my parents

Name three things you like? Exploring the outdoors, creating inside jokes and when the hairdresser washes my hair ...

Name three things you dislike? Stepping on gum, my toes being cold and when I forget a headband for practice ...

What trip would you like to take in your lifetime? I want to just travel to Greece for a summer. I would love to actually see all the things that I've grown up learning about.  

Where is your favorite place on Earth? Anywhere the people I love are!

Describe your perfect sandwich. Honey wheat bread, three pieces of turkey, three pieces of salami, American cheese, pickles, slap on a couple of cut banana peppers and you have the best sandwich ever.

Funniest player on the team and why?
I honestly think we're all hilarious. I could just be biased though. The closet comedian is Griffin, she makes me laugh at the weirdest things.

Best dancer on the team is... It depends on the type of dancing you're looking for ... If you want to laugh hysterically at awkwardness, Maisie is your girl. If you want actual coordination then it's definitely Dari.  

What is one TV show you cannot miss? Scandal, its sooo juicy!

The most famous person you've ever met is... Sam Hunt. I'm obsessed with him so I was at a loss of words, and that's rare for me!

What artist gets the most play on your iPod right now?
Sam Smith, he has the voice of an angel ...

What did you do growing up that always got you into trouble? Staying up and reading past my bedtime ...  

Do you collect anything? Souls ... Just kidding haha

What three things do you think of most each day? "Did I feed my fish Diego?" "Do I really have to walk all the way to C8?" "Is eating Mexican food three days in a row a bad thing? No."

How did you get your name? It may be hard to believe, but Smith is a very common last name ... So my Dad gave me a name that not many people have to make up for it.  

Get to know UK softball's Sylver Samuel

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Sylver Samuel.jpg Over the next two weeks, Cat Scratches will give fans an inside look at UK softball's 2015 roster with 20 fun questions and a quick outlook heading into the team's season opener on Feb. 4 vs. Florida A&M.

Having played in 126 games with 104 starts in centerfield, junior Sylver Samuel has become a staple for UK's defense in the outfield. Samuel, who has great speed and takes away hits in the gaps, played almost every out in centerfield in 2014 and only committed two errors with six assists.

Samuel has been a strong contributor at the plate as well, posting a .298 career batting average with 60 runs scored and 41 stolen bases. The native of Simpsonville, S.C., showed drastic improvements last season from her freshman campaign with 52 hits, four doubles, two triples, an inside-the-park home run and nine RBI. Samuel has led UK in stolen bases each of the last two season with 21 in 2013 and 20 in 2014.

A two-year member of the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll, Samuel currently ranks seventh in career stolen bases at UK with 41 and has shined in postseason play the last two seasons with a hit in 12 of her 16 career NCAA Tournament games.

Come see Sylver and the rest of the Kentucky Wildcats this spring at John Cropp Stadium. UK's home opener is March 11 vs. EKU at 5 p.m. ET. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the UK Ticket Office at 1-800-928-2287, in person at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office or online at www.ukathletics.com/tickets.  

To help you get to know Kara better, it's time to play a game called 20 questions.

Do you have any pets? A German shepherd ...

When was the last time you were moved to tears? Anytime I watch a depressing movie ...

If you had a Derby horse, what would you name it?
Two2Tango

If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create? A Jawk, half jaguar, half hawk ... the ultimate predator!

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? I wish I knew multiple languages, which would always come in handy

After softball, what would be your dream job? If I could ever work with the New York Yankees I would probably cry tears of joy every single day ... and later get fired for being too emotional in the workplace.

Name three things you like? Animals, 80's pants and the Yankees ...

Name three things you dislike? Weekdays, moths and moths ...

What trip would you like to take in your lifetime? I would love to go to Bora Bora or Brazil.

What do you typically have for breakfast?
I will eat any type of food at any time of the day.

What is your favorite dessert? Ice cream ...

What is one TV show you cannot miss? American Horror Story

What artist gets the most play on your iPod right now? Jhené Aiko

How do you like your eggs? Scrambled

Have you ever bought anything from ebay and if so, what was it?
A phone case ...

If you were famous would you rather have a statue or a building named after you?
A building ...

Do you collect anything?
80's pants and fun socks (currently on hold until further notice)...

How many text messages do you receive on average a day? Um, depends on when I start my day ...

What is your favorite class you've taken in college so far? Art was the most fun class I've taken, even though I can't draw ...

What three things do you think of most each day?
What I'm eating for dinner, when can I take a nap, and do I have any homework ...

Recent Comments

  • BBN#1Fan: Was the first time I EVER watched the draft! It was great to see BBN doing great on this nite! read more
  • Berdj J. Rassam: Another great night for UK in the NBA draft. read more
  • Brooklin Lee: One loss does not mean you lose anything. Just try again in the next matches. I know the Wild Cats read more
  • Floyd Ballard: CONGRATULATIONS!! I watched the run Saturday on TV, and you looked fantastic. read more
  • Walter Leonard: President? Why would Cal want to take such a drastic pay cut? As long as he can still coach here, read more
  • BJ Rassam: Many of us are looking forward to the team Coach Cal will be putting out this upcoming season. read more
  • Tom Minney: Nice story about 3 outstanding young guys and the power of love. Debre Libanos is an outstanding place to visit, read more
  • Tsehai Alemayehu: It was great to meet you and the rest of your group yesterday in that funky restaurant in Fiche. As read more
  • Carla Blair: God is good! Be grateful for this experience. And this opportunity. read more
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