No. 9 Softball Ends Eight-Game Road Swing at Indiana
March 17, 2014
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Looking to conclude an eight-game road trip in winning fashion, the ninth-ranked University of Kentucky softball team travels to Bloomington, Ind., to face the Indiana Hoosiers on Tuesday for a 5 p.m. ET first pitch at Andy Mohr Field.
The midweek non-conference battle wraps up an eight-game road trip for Kentucky (21-4) that began two weekends ago with a series win at Mississippi State. The Wildcats took two of three games from the Bulldogs, marking the first time in program history UK has started league play on the road with a series win. After winning its first non-conference midweek game of the season last Tuesday at Marshall, the Wildcats claimed a key SEC road set at No. 16 Missouri last weekend, sweeping a Saturday doubleheader to clinch consecutive road sets in league play for the first time in school history. UK is 5-2 on the current road swing.
The Wildcats will return from Indiana to start a 15-game home stand, beginning a stretch of 21 of its next 25 games at home. Included in the home stretch is a three-day, round-robin tournament at John Cropp Stadium next weekend, featuring Kentucky, Kent State, Saint Francis (Pa.), Fairfield and Kansas. Head coach Rachel Lawson and Co. will also play four home SEC series during that stretch.
Kentucky’s series win over Missouri moved its record this season against teams either ranked of receiving votes at the time UK played them to 7-3. The Wildcats started the season by defeating two teams that went to the 2013 Women’s College World Series, taking down defending national champions then-No. 2 Oklahoma and two victories over then-No. 15 Texas. Kentucky has 45 wins over ranked teams under seventh year head coach Rachel Lawson.
Junior catcher Griffin Joiner has started every game behind the plate for UK and paces the squad in batting average at .371 (26-for-70) with five doubles, six homers and 16 RBI. Senior outfielder Emily Gaines is second on the team with a .343 (12-for-35) average, adding two doubles, a homer and eight RBI, while sophomore speedsters Darington Richardson and Sylver Samuel sit third and fourth in batting average, respectively, with Richardson adding two triples and Samuel posting a double, triple and team-high four stolen bases. Seniors Ginny Carroll and Lauren Cumbess each have three homers with Cumbess tied for the team lead with five doubles, while fellow senior Emily Jolly is second on the team with five homers.
In the circle, Cumbess leads the way with a 6-0 record and 1.58 ERA, striking out 42 batters in 48.2 innings pitched. Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley is 8-2 this season with a 1.89 ERA, striking out a team-high 55 in 77.2 innings pitched. Freshmen pitchers Meagan Prince and Shannon Smith have started their collegiate careers strong with Prince sitting 5-1 with a 2.51 ERA in 30.2 innings pitched, while Smith is 2-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 19.2 innings pitched.
Indiana enters the game with an 8-17-1 record, including a 3-1 record at Andy Mohr Field. The Hoosiers have won six of their last seven games and had a six-game winning streak heading into last weekend’s finale before falling in a one-run game. IU has faced several ranked teams this season, including top-ranked Florida, twice, and highly ranked Stanford, dropping all three games.
Breanna Saucedo leads the team in hitting with a .315 (28-for-89) average, adding two doubles, one triple and a team-best 10 stolen bases. Natalie Lalich is hitting .300 (12-for-40) with two doubles and a homer, while Kassi Farmer paces the team with six homers.
In the circle, Lora Olson has a team-high 15 appearances with a 4-8 record and 4.18 ERA, striking out 43 in 67.0 innings pitched. Brooke Boetjer is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in 51.1 innings pitched, while Meaghan Murphy is 2-7 with a 6.81 ERA in 49.1 innings pitched.
The all-time series between the two schools is tied, 8-8, with the last meeting coming in 2008 when the teams met three times that season. UK won the first battle at a tournament in Chattanooga, Tenn., 10-5, while IU swept a doubleheader later in the season in Lexington.
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Kentucky – No. 11 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 9 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25
Indiana – Not ranked
Tuesday, March 18
Kentucky at Indiana – 5 p.m. ET – Live Stats