Kentucky Welcomes Top Ranked Florida Friday
April 9, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky softball team has been simply magical in its last two Southeastern Conference series ringing up a series win over Ole Miss for the third straight season and earning a split with Tennessee on Wednesday. UK will once again need a magical performance this weekend if they plan on knocking off the top-ranked Florida Gators in a three-game series at the UK Softball Complex beginning Friday afternoon.
The two squads will meet for two games on Friday afternoon. The first game of the series will be broadcast live by Cox Sports with Bernie Gunther and Steve Babik on the call. It will mark the first-ever live telecast from the UK Softball Complex. First pitch is officially set for 4:06 ET.
Kentucky (25-14, 8-9) is having one of the best seasons in school history under the direction of second year coach Rachel Lawson. The Blue and White strung together a school-best eight game winning streak. Freshman pitcher Chanda Bell tossed the school's first-ever no-hitter. UK's eight victories in conference action is the third best total in school allure. Most importantly, they are in the hunt for a coveted spot in the Southeastern Conference tournament.
Florida (40-3, 18-1) has simply been unstoppable so far this season. After making it's first-ever appearance in the College World Series a season-ago, Tim Walton's group is tearing it up again this season. The Gators have spent the last five weeks as the top team in the nation.
The Wildcats, however, have enjoyed two straight strong appearances against SEC foes. Last weekend, sophomore Megan Yocke provided the team's heroics as they came-from-behind in the seventh inning of the second game of the series against Ole Miss. With UK trailing by two runs, Yocke delivered a game-tying two-run double off the left field fence. An inning later, with UK once again down by a run Yocke blasted her second double of the game to bring home the game's winning runs. UK would then go on to defeat the Rebels in the rubber match behind junior Molly Johnson's grand slam.
The first back-to-back home runs of the season for the Kentucky softball team could not have come at a better time. In the seventh inning with UK trailing by two runs, freshman Brittany Cervantes hit a two-run shot and junior Natalie Smith followed with a solo home run to give the Kentucky softball team a come-from-behind 6-5 victory, over No. 12 Tennessee to earn a split with the Volunteers in a conference doubleheader. Additionally, junior Destinee Mordecai blasted a home run earlier in the game as UK tied a program record with three round trippers in a single outing.
Freshman pitcher Rachel Riley was awarded her first collegiate victory in UK's upset of the Volunteers. She went the distance in the circle and fanned three batters in her win.
Johnson is one of the league's best hitters and is currently hitting a blistering .472 in league games. Cervantes has come on strong in SEC action leading the squad with 16 RBI and five home runs. Sophomore Meagan Aull has swiped a team-best eight bases to go along with her impressive .364 average. Yocke, Kentucky's backstop ranks second on the team with a .395 batting average in league games while posting a perfect fielding percentage.
A combination of a balanced offense with a team batting average of .332 and the reliable pitching from senior Stacey Nelson have the Gators as the head of the class in the conference. Francesca Enea paces the team at the plate with 50 RBI, 12 home runs and a .357 average. Nelson holds a 24-3 record with a 0.47 ERA and 205 strikeouts on the season.
Kentucky and Florida have met 41 times on the softball diamond with the Gators holding a 35-6 edge, including a 3-0 sweep last season. Kentucky last won a game in 2006 in game two of a doubleheader. UK has once taken a series from the Gators in 2000.
The squads will meet for a final game on Saturday with a noon ET start. Fans can find live stats and complete coverage of the series with the Gators on UKathletics.com.
Friday, April 10 vs. Florida (DH) - 4:00 pm
- UK Student Night
- FREE UK Nike hats for the first 50 UK Students
Saturday, April 11 vs. Florida - Noon
- FREE post-game youth clinic for kids 8th grade and under. Open to the first 75 registrants. To register, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- FREE UK Softball trading cards for the first 50 fans
- Chick-fil-A Junior Wildcat Club Day
- Kids can participate in an Egg Hunt
- Kids can get their faces painted before the game
- Arrive early to play on the inflatable games (weather permitting)