Record-Breaking Nunley Set for Senior Season

Without throwing a single pitch as a senior, Kelsey Nunley would still be remembered as one of the best pitchers in Kentucky softball history.

Luckily for the Wildcats, Nunley will pitch this season, and when she does, she will continue her assault on the Kentucky record book.

Entering her senior season, Nunley is Kentucky’s career leader in ERA (2.12), Wins (71) and saves (eight). She is second in career innings pitched (762.0) and strikeouts (606). And she is third in appearances (134), games started (94) and opponent batting average (.218).

Outside of her individual accomplishments, Nunley has also led Kentucky to three straight appearances in the Super Regionals, and the Wildcats’ first Women’s College World Series, in 2014.

But Nunley is not satisfied with her accomplishments. She has spent the offseason perfecting her craft.

“Developing new pitches,” she says of what she worked on in the offseason. “Working on my old pitches to make them great, not just good.”

Head coach Rachel Lawson knows what a special player she has in Nunley.

“Everybody knows about Kelsey Nunley,” Lawson said. “Kelsey Nunley is a workhorse and she is amazing. She has an unbelievable mindset and she will pitch 50 games if I give her the ball for 50 games.”

Luckily, the Wildcats probably won’t have to use Nunley 50 times, due to a deep pitching staff that includes juniors Meagan Prince and Shannon Smith and sophomore Erin Rethlake. 

Make no mistake, Nunley is the ace of the staff. She is a fierce competitor, and she never shies away from facing tough opponents. Nunley thrives while playing in the toughest softball conference in the country.

“I love competition, so I love playing in the SEC,” she says. “It’s the best conference out there and it’s very challenging, but that’s what makes it great. I love that about it.”

As Nunley and the Wildcats prepare for the 2016 season, which begins on Friday in Tempe, Ariz., the team is hoping for a big season. Lawson even mentioned the ultimate prize when talking about this season.

“We are now at the point where going to Super Regionals is a great thing, but we are from Kentucky,” Lawson said. “We are supposed to win championships – and right now we are here trying to find out how to win a championship. The only way that we can do that is with a deep pitching staff.”

Nunley did not back away from the expectations that Lawson has for the team. When asked if this season’s goal was Women’s College World Series or bust, she did not hesitate with her answer.

“For sure, all or nothing,” she said.

With Nunley serving as the ace of a deep pitching staff, that goal is certainly not out of the question for this team.