Three-Year Starter Meagan Aull Leads UK Outfield

Jan. 13, 2011

UKathletics.com will preview the 2011 Kentucky softball season in three parts by featuring one of UK's captains in Meagan Aull, Megan Yocke and Rachel Riley. Part One features Aull and the UK outfield.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Senior captain Meagan Aull has started all 170 games of her career in centerfield in helping lead the Kentucky softball team to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and over 60 wins in the last two seasons.

Aull has provided a steady hand in the center of the outfield for three seasons. As a sophomore, she became one of just five UK players in school history to chart a perfect fielding clip. She followed that up with a .985 percentage a season ago in pacing the outfielders with 62 putouts on the season. The Owensboro, Ky., native has made her presence felt at the plate as well with a career batting average of .284. Aull, considered UK's top threat on the base paths, ranks in the top-five in school allure with 52 stolen bases. She has also tallied 10 or more doubles in back-to-back seasons adding a bit of power to her offensive game.

"We have worked extremely hard during the offseason to try and become the best outfield in the SEC," Aull said. "I'm trying to lead by example and be a positive reinforcement to help our younger players adjust to the speed of the college game."

The senior captain joins fellow classmate Annie Rowlands as the team's most experienced outfielders. Rowlands began her career as a third baseman before shifting to leftfield and providing UK with a reliable fielder who has the capability to make some spectacular snags. Rowlands has notched over a .960 fielding clip in each of the past two seasons for the Wildcats. As a junior, she had career-highs in batting average, home runs and stolen bases to add some offensive balance to her game.

"The strength in our outfield is continually the most underrated aspect of our team," UK coach Rachel Lawson said. "Many of our team's highlights come at the hands of Rowlands and Aull and they are a big reason why we have improved at such a rapid pace."

Kentucky also returns three veterans in junior Macy Allen who has seen action in leftfield sparingly in her career, while junior Erika Silence and sophomore Alice O'Brien have predominantly seen action at the plate.

"Allen, Silence and O'Brien have continued to add to their defensive games while providing us with diverse options in our line-up," Lawson said. "It could be argued that Allen is our most improved player returning from the 2010 season."

Allen saw action in a number of games a season ago to register some game action in the field. She recorded four putouts on the season, but her primary duty was once again being UK's most used base runner. She batted .333 in nine at-bats with a trio of hits. On the base baths, she swiped a pair of bags and scored seven times.

Silence has been utilized as a pinch-hitter throughout her career. She registered a home run in her first career at-bat as a freshman and notched a pair of hits in limited duty a season ago. O'Brien batted .250 as a freshman and had consecutive hits against Evansville in the first two plate appearances of her career. Silence and O'Brien will be looked to fill the rightfield void vacated by three-year starter Destinee Mordecai.

Freshmen Ginny Carroll, Emily Gaines and Emily Jolly provide additional depth to the outfield, while all three can see action in the infield as well.

"Gaines, Carroll and Jolly are continually developing their square range and give us strong offensive weapons that will be necessary as we set out to surpass our win totals from all of our previous seasons," Lawson said.

Carroll is a former High School state champion that paced her team in home runs during its championship run. An all-around athlete, Carroll was also an outstanding basketball player and cross country runner.

Gaines is a prolific batter who charted a Kentucky high school state record with a 52-game hitting streak en route to being named 2010 Kentucky Miss Softball. That streak also ranks as the second-longest streak in the national record books. She also broke state records with 81 hits and 27 doubles in 2008.

Jolly was a five-year starter for a state championship team in Owensboro, Ky. After a junior season in which she batted .418 with 14 homers and 14 doubles she was tabbed the Kentucky Class A State Player of the Year.

Lawson will look to field a strong defensive unit which has continued to improve in every season under her direction. Aull leads the unit as the steadiest presence and she will look to help develop a lineup full of youth, but with an arsenal of talent.Complete coverage of the Wildcat softball team can be found at UKathletics.com.