Jan. 28, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky softball team will begin its 18th season on Feb. 6 ranked 14th nationally in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Preseason Collegiate Top 25, its highest preseason ranking in the poll in school history, USA Softball announced Tuesday.
Kentucky, which earned a No. 12 ranking in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Preseason Top 25 last week, will begin the season with its highest preseason ranking in either poll ever. UK started the 2012 season ranked 13th in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and 18th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25.
UK finished the 2013 season with a No. 12 final ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25, which tied its highest mark in that poll in school history. The Wildcats went 41-21 en route to a NCAA Super Regional appearance in 2013 and return 15 letterwinners from that accomplished squad, including eight starters.
The Southeastern Conference led the way with eight teams ranked in the preseason top 25 in No. 1 Tennessee, No. 3 Florida, No. 6 Alabama, No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 14 Kentucky, No. 17 Missouri, No. 19 LSU and No. 21 Georgia, with Arkansas and Auburn both receiving votes. UK is scheduled to play 11 teams that are either ranked or receiving votes in the poll, including top-ranked Tennessee, No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 4 Michigan and No. 10 Texas.
The ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll is currently in its 12th year. Starting Feb. 11, regular-season polls will be released for 14 consecutive Tuesdays with the final poll of the season to be released on June 10 following the Women’s College World Series.
Kentucky will begin its season on Feb. 6 in Long Beach, Calif., at the Mizuno Invitational. The Wildcats will play five games in the west coast tournament beginning with their season opener vs. Santa Clara.
For the latest on UK softball, follow "@UKSoftball" on Twitter and Instagram or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.
Softball to Appear on ESPNU, Fox Sports Net in 2014: ESPN and the Southeastern Conference announced its 2014 television schedule Tuesday with the Kentucky softball team to be featured on ESPNU and Fox Sports Network during the season.
Kentucky’s home game against Texas A&M on Sunday, April 6 will be televised by Fox Sports at 1 p.m. ET, while UK’s contest with Georgia in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, May 3 at 4 p.m. ET will be showcased on ESPNU.
ESPN will also showcase every game of the 2014 SEC Tournament for the fifth consecutive season. Coverage of the event will begin Wednesday, May 7 on ESPNU with the two first-round games, followed by a four-game slate on Thursday, May 8 on ESPNU and the semifinals on Friday, May 9 on ESPNU. The championship game will be Saturday, May 10 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
The ESPN family of networks will air a total of 25 SEC softball games nationally, including the 2014 SEC Tournament. Fox Sports Net (SportSouth, FS Midwest, FS Southwest and Sun Sports) will televise seven games, while CSS (Comcast / Charter Sport Southeast) will air four contests.
Fans will be able to access the ESPN telecasts on WatchESPN.com and the WatchESPN mobile app, while the FSN and CSS contests will be available through ESPN3 and the WatchESPN mobile app.