Wildcats Travel to Western Kentucky Thursday

March 25, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Fresh off a pair of non-conference victories over Kent State Tuesday, the Kentucky softball team is back in action again on Thursday when they travel to Western Kentucky for another doubleheader. First pitch Thursday night in Bowling Green is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.

Kentucky improved its record to 20-8 overall Tuesday night with a combined quality effort from the mound and at the plate. Junior Molly Johnson drove in the game-winning RBI with a single in the bottom of the ninth inning to preserve UK's sweep of the Golden Flashes in the nightcap.

Sophomore Meagan Aull had a tremendous day at the plate with a 4-for-7 day, a double and an RBI to lead the UK offense. Freshman pitcher Chanda Bell increased her win total to 14 on the season with 23 strikeouts in 12 innings of work to claim the school record for strikeouts in a season. She now holds the record with 168 strikeouts in 111.1 innings pitched just 28 games into the season.

The series with Western Kentucky marks the second non-conference doubleheader in three days for the Wildcats. Additionally, these will be the third and fourth games for UK which is in the midst of playing seven games in six days with a series against SEC-foe Georgia this weekend.

Head Coach Rachel Lawson's team has posted 20 wins so far, which is the most in her two-year tenure with the Wildcats. Last week the team strung together a school-best eight game winning streak and cracked the national polls when they tallied votes after sweeping Auburn. Thursday will mark a homecoming of sorts for UK's head coach as prior to taking the head job at Kentucky Lawson served as the skipper of Western Kentucky for three seasons, comprising a 92-84 overall record.

The Hilltoppers are 17-6 overall on the year and hold a perfect 2-0 record at home. The squad was last in action this weekend taking a series over Louisiana-Lafayette by winning games one and three of the series.

Thursday's match-up of the two teams have seen four similar opponents thus far in the season. Western picked up two victories over Lafayette, but fell to SEC opponents in Auburn and Arkansas. Morehead State also earned a 4-0 victory over the Hilltoppers earlier this month. The Blue and White swept Morehead State and Auburn, while taking a game from Arkansas on Saturday. UK fell to Lafayette in February, but did not finish the second scheduled game with the Ragin' Cajuns when stormy weather moved in during the fourth inning of the game with Kentucky leading.

Western Kentucky pitcher Ryan Rogge won her second Sun Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week award of the season on Monday. Rogge picked up two wins against UL-Lafayette to improve to 13-2 on the season. In 16 innings of work, Rogge didn't give up a single run to record a 0.00 ERA through the weekend while striking out seven. She also held the Ragin' Cajuns to a .190 batting average while picking up two shutouts, her sixth and seventh shutouts of the season. She scattered 11 hits -- allowing only two in the first game -- and walked just three batters in her two appearances.For the season the Hilltoppers' ace holds a 1.17 ERA and has fanned 54 batters on the year.

Live stats are available at UK's Official Homepage. Additionally, a complete recap of the doubleheader will be available at UKathletics.com.