Softball Opens 2016 at Kajikawa Classic in Tempe

TEMPE, Ariz. – The Kentucky softball teams kicks off its ninth season under the direction of Rachel Lawson on Friday in Tempe, Ariz., as part of the 2016 Kajikawa Classic hosted by the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Wildcats will be playing six games during the tournament, with four of those coming against ranked opponents led by No. 4/7 Oregon on Feb. 13 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

The Wildcats start play on Friday at 7 p.m. ET against No. 25 Notre Dame before a showdown that night with Oregon State at 11:30 p.m. ET. Both games will be at the Tempe Sports Complex.

Kentucky’s pitching staff in 2016 will once again be led by Preseason All-SEC teammember Kelsey Nunley, who was a 2014 Women’s College World Series All-Tournament Team member two seasons ago. Nunley finished the 2015 season with 14 wins and over 200 innings pitched, allowing just 73 runs and striking out over 150 batters, while leading the Kentucky softball team to its fourth Super Regional in the past five seasons a year ago.

The Soddy Daisy, Tenn., native had a 2.42 earned run average in 2015, and allowed just a .229 opposing batting average. Nunley broke the school record for career wins, with her 69th-career all-time win against Western Kentucky, where she pitched nine scoreless innings with nine strikeouts to capture the record-setting win.

The TV slate for the Wildcats kicks off on Feb. 15 with two games televised featuring the Wildcats against the Utah Utes (2:30 p.m. ET) and the Arizona State Sun Devils (5 p.m. ET) at the 2016 Kajikawa Classic Tournament from Tempe, Ariz. Both games will be shown live on the PAC-12 Networks, and the PAC-12 Network website as well.

This marks the third-straight season that Kentucky will begin the season ranked in the top-25 under the direction of ninth-year head coach Rachel Lawson. UK started the 2015 season in the No. 6 slot, its highest starting position in program history.

UK’s Kajikawa Classic Schedule
Friday, Feb. 12
7 p.m. ET – No. 18 Kentucky vs. No. 25 Notre Dame | Live Stats
11:30 p.m. ET – No. 18 Kentucky vs. Oregon State | Live Stats

Saturday, Feb. 13
4:30 p.m. ET – No. 18 Kentucky vs. No. 4/7 Oregon | Live Stats

Sunday, Feb. 14
5:45 p.m. ET – No. 18 Kentucky vs. New Mexico

Monday, Feb. 15
2:30 p.m. ET – No. 18 Kentucky vs. No. 23 Utah [PAC-12 Networks]
5 p.m. ET – No. 18 Kentucky vs. No. 20 Arizona State [PAC-12 Networks]

For the latest on the Kentucky softball team, follow @UKSoftball on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.