Softball Notebook: UK Enters Rankings, Cumbess Honored

Feb. 12, 2013

SAN DIEGO - After an impressive opening weekend where it defeated two top-20 teams, including top-five ranked California in the season opener, the University of Kentucky softball team has moved into the top 25 of both the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association and Softball polls, it was announced Tuesday.

Kentucky (4-2) enters the USA Today/NFCA poll at No. 24, while Softball ranked the Wildcats 22nd. The Wildcats began the season receiving votes in both polls after ending the 2012 season also receiving votes. UK is the only team not ranked preseason to jump into the top 25 of the USA Today/NFCA poll, while Georgia Tech joins the Wildcats as newcomers to the Softball poll.

The Wildcats own wins over two teams that are currently ranked in both polls, having defeated No. 8/9 California and No. 20/22 Stanford. In all, three of UK's six games this season have been against teams in the top 25 of both polls. The Wildcats lone loss in those three games came against No. 3 Arizona State.

Head coach Rachel Lawson and Co. will square off against two more ranked teams this weekend when they face No. 1/2 Oklahoma and No. 16/18 Washington. Both games will be played as part of the 23rd Campbell/Cartier Classic at San Diego State University, which will start Thursday.

UK posted four wins to start the season in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. On top of the ranked wins against Cal and Stanford, UK also defeated Western Michigan and Oregon State, who was receiving votes in both preseason polls.

More information on the 23rd Campbell/Cartier Classic will be released Wednesday.

Lauren Cumbess Named Primetime Performer of the Week by University of Kentucky junior pitcher Lauren Cumbess has been named one of 16 Primetime Performers of the Week by after her strong opening weekend both in the circle and at the plate, it was announced Tuesday.

Cumbess stated her season in style in a do-it-all effort to help UK defeat then-No. 3 Cal last Friday. The native of Normal, Ill., earned the win in the circle, throwing a complete game - nine innings - allowing only six hits and two earned runs while striking out six. At the plate, Cumbess went 2-for-4 with two RBI, including the game-winning RBI in the ninth inning, propelling UK to victory.

Overall, Cumbess went 1-1 as a pitcher, posting a 2.50 ERA in three appearances, allowing only 11 hits and five runs while striking out nine. The offensive star also hit .368 (7-for-19) with a double and five RBI.

For her career, Cumbess is hitting .255 (71-for-278) with 14 doubles, three homers and 39 RBI. In the circle, Cumbess is 10-7 in her UK career with a 2.38 ERA, allowing 24 runs while striking out 45.

Former Star, Current Volunteer Coach Brittany Cervantes Re-signs with Chicago Bandits: Former University of Kentucky softball star Brittany Cervantes, who is now serving as a volunteer assistant coach for the Wildcats after recently graduating, has re-signed with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch League.

After joining the Bandits by way of open tryouts in June of 2012, Cervantes showed her versatility during her rookie season. She was called upon to play multiple positions, in both the infield and outfield. Cervantes connected for two home runs on the year and drove in seven. Her most notable home run of the season, which was also her first, came on July 16th when she blasted a grand slam against the USSSA Pride.

"My rookie year was an unforgettable experience playing with the top players in the sport of softball," said Cervantes in the Bandits new release. "I feel privileged that I am able to return for the 2013 season and am looking forward to another exciting season with the team and our amazing fans."

During her time at Kentucky, Cervantes became the greatest power hitter in Kentucky history. Cervantes owns career records for home runs and RBI and is the lone Wildcat in school allure to blast 10 or more long balls in each of her four seasons. The Chatsworth, Calif., native played in more than 230 career games, which is the fifth-most in school history.

According to the Bandits new release, the Chicago Bandits are located in the Chicagoland area, providing an opportunity for female fastpitch players to further their careers at a professional level, and the roster has included such names as Jennie Finch, Stacy May and Monica Abbott. The two-time NPF Champions play at Rosemont Stadium, the only stadium in the country built for a women's professional team.