No. 12 Softball Set for Midweeks vs. Wright State, MSVU
April 7, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After claiming its third Southeastern Conference series win of the season last weekend against top-20 ranked Texas A&M, the No. 12 University of Kentucky softball team concludes a 15-game home stretch this week with a pair of midweek non-conference games against Wright State on Tuesday and Mississippi Valley State on Wednesday with both games set for a 5 p.m. ET first pitch at John Cropp Stadium.
Live stats from both games will be available online at UKathletics.com along with live video (subscription required). Single-game tickets into John Cropp Stadium are $5 for adults, $2 for seniors (65+) and youth (6-18). Children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge. Tickets are all general admission, and can be purchased by calling the ticket office at 1-800-928-2287. Tickets are also sold at John Cropp Stadium prior to each game, and all sales are cash only. Gates open one hour prior to first pitch.
Kentucky (31-8) is coming off a 3-1 week, including winning its third SEC series win of the season over the weekend against No. 18 Texas A&M. The Wildcats started the week with a 5-0 victory over in-state rival Louisville before winning the final two games of their three-game set with the highly ranked Aggies.
UK’s 31 wins in just 39 games this season marks the fastest a UK team has earned 30-plus wins in program history. UK has seven 30-win seasons in 18 years of softball including six consecutive under head coach Rachel Lawson. The two wins over top-20 Texas A&M were the ninth and 10th this season against a team either ranked or receiving votes at the time UK played them.
Kentucky is currently 9-4 on this current home stretch and an impressive 24-3 this season against non-conference opponents, including a 9-1 mark in non-conference home games.
Sophomore infielder Nikki Sagermann paced UK last week, hitting .636 (7-for-11) with one double, one homer and seven RBI, while senior outfielder Emily Gaines went 5-for-10 with her second walk-off homer of the season and five RBI over the weekend. Gaines had hits in the first two games of the series, extending her hitting streak to a team-best 11 games before going 0-for-1 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch on Sunday.
In the circle, sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley tossed 15 innings with a 2-1 record and 2.80 ERA, while senior Lauren Cumbess tossed four innings, allowing only one run on three hits. UK’s two freshmen pitchers performed well with Shannon Smith tossing 6.1 scoreless innings with two hits allowed and her first career save. Meagan Prince earned a win in 5.2 innings with three runs allowed.
Smith’s strong performance earned her SEC Freshman of the Week honors, becoming the ninth player in school history to earn the honor and the sixth under Lawson. Last season, Kelsey Nunley and Christian Stokes each earned the honor.
The native of Milford, Mass., was fantastic for Kentucky over the weekend against the highly ranked Aggies. Smith came out of the bullpen to pitch five scoreless innings Friday night, allowing two hits with five strikeouts, before recording the final four outs in Sunday’s series-clinching win to pick up her first career save. Smith entered Sunday’s game with UK up 4-3 while Texas A&M had runners on second and third with two outs. The freshman shut the door on the Aggies, getting a foul out to end the threat in the sixth before a near-perfect seventh inning to seal the win.
Wright State enters the game with a 7-23 record, including a 2-12 mark in true road games. Jess Gorman leads the team offensively at .315 (28-for-89) with nine doubles, four triples, four homers and 10 RBI, while Libby Pfeffer is hitting .312 (24-for-77) with three doubles, two homers and 11 RBI. In the circle, Krystian DeWitt leads the team with a 4.27 ERA and 4-9 record in 85.1 innings pitched, while Montana Wear is 3-13 with a 5.60 ERA in 93.2 innings pitched.
Mississippi Valley State is 7-29 this season and enters Wednesday’s game looking for its first road win of the season. Jahcenda Garrett leads the team offensively with a .333 (29-for-87) average, including four doubles and nine RBI, while Deja Talton has a team-best four homers and 17 RBI. Omeshia Moffett paces the team with 15 stolen bases. Tenna Patterson leads the team in the circle with a 5-13 record and 9.60 ERA in 99.1 innings pitched, while Cassandra Rivera has thrown 89.2 innings with a 2-15 record and 12.45 ERA.
The all-time series between Kentucky and Wright State is tied 4-4 with UK winning both games it has played against the Raiders in Lawson’s tenure. UK and Mississippi Valley State have never met in softball.
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Kentucky – 31-8
Wright State – 7-23
Mississippi Valley State – 7-29
Kentucky – No. 12 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 12 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25
Wright State – not ranked
Mississippi Valley State – not ranked
Single game tickets for the series are $5 for adults, $2 for seniors (65+) and youth (6-18). Children ages 5 and under and UK students with a valid student ID are admitted free of charge. Tickets are all general admission, and can be purchased by calling the ticket office at 1-800-928-2287. Tickets are also sold at John Cropp Stadium prior to each game, and all sales are cash only.