Kentucky Takes on No. 1 Alabama in Home Opener
March 8, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky will welcome the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide to Lexington this weekend for the 2012 Southeastern Conference opening weekend. This weekend's series will serve as the Wildcats first games at the newly renovated UK Softball Complex which will feature a brand new HD video board in left field and expanded capacity.
UK and Alabama will tangle in a three-game series with the first game coming on Friday, March 9 with a first pitch slated for 6 p.m. ET. Saturday and Sunday's contests will have a 1 p.m. ET start.
Kentucky (10-8) has spent the first 18 games of the season away from the friendly confines of the UK Softball Complex. UK is coming off a 3-2 weekend at the Ragin' Cajun Invitational where its offense began to find some rhythm. The Wildcats notched eight or more tallies in all three of its victories, while also having every player in the batting order contribute to the offensive output.
Junior Kara Dill paces the Blue and White with a school-record 15-game hitting streak. Freshman Griffin Joiner was the SEC Freshman of the Week after leading the bats with a .517 average and earning All-Tournament team honors at the Cajun Invite.
The strength of the Wildcats continues to lie in the hands of its dynamic pitching staff. All four pitchers have started at least four games this season and tossed more than 25 innings. Senior Chanda Bell (1.66) and sophomore Lauren Cumbess (1.67) lead the team in ERA.
Alabama enters the series as the top-ranked team in the country in the USA Today/NFCA Poll, as well as the second-ranked team in the ESPN.com/USASoftball.com Poll. The Crimson Tide has yet to record a loss this year in 18 games. In those games, Alabama has scored five or more runs in 13 games as the Tide sports a prolific offensive unit. Alabama owns a .358 team batting average and the squad has knocked 26 homers compared to yielding a mere three to opponents.
The Tide has dominated the series with Kentucky owning a 35-2 all-time mark against the Wildcats. The squads did not meet last season for the first time since the inception of softball into the SEC in 1997. The three-game series between the two teams was canceled following the devastating tornado that hit the Tuscaloosa area in April.
Follow along with the UK softball program all season long at UKathletics.com.