Softball To Host Frostbite Classic
The Kentucky softball team will host the second annual Frostbite Classic this weekend, Mar. 3-4, as it welcomes Butler, Evansville and IUPUI to the UK Softball Complex. The eight-game tournament will once again benefit Spinal Muscular Atrophy research with t-shirts for sale at the field and online for $12 each.
The tournament kicks off with a 10 am matchup between UK and Butler. The Wildcats and Bulldogs have met one time prior to this week. UK won that meeting on March 12, 2000, by a final score of 7-2 in Lexington. This Friday’s doubleheader will be the season opener for Butler who will stick around to play four games during this weekend’s Frostbite Classic at the UK Softball Complex.
Game two also includes the Cats who will take on Evansville. The Purple Aces have won four in a row and are 7-1 on the season after going 4-0 in Memphis’s tournament last weekend. UK and UE have met seven times prior to this weekend. Evansville leads 5-2 in the all-time series, but the Cats have won the last two meetings including a 6-5 win on Feb. 22, 2002, in Chattanooga.
IUPUI and Butler will play at 3 p.m., followed by a 5:30 p.m. contest between IUPUI and Evansville to wrap up play on Saturday.
Play continues Sunday as Evansville and Butler meet at 10 a.m. IUPUI and Butler face off at 12:30 p.m. before the Wildcats return to the field to take on Evansville at 3 p.m. The tournament’s final game is set for 5:30 p.m. between Kentucky and IUPUI. The Jaguars are currently 0-4 on the year and this is the first meeting between the two schools.
“Conditions are not going to be great but conditions are not great anywhere, nor have they been so far this year. It’s just another day of early spring weather,” said third-year head coach Eileen Schmidt. “We are looking forward to competing at home. It is important that we don’t get distracted by weather or things around going on around us. With the wind, our pitchers need to keep the ball down and allow the defense to work for them.”
The Wildcats raised nearly $500 for SMA last season and hope to add to that total in 2007. Former UK head coach Beth Pruitt’s daughter, Danielle, was diagnosed with SMA shortly after her birth and the Wildcats are proud to help raise money for research on this devastating disease.
“Of course, the sidenote and most important part of this weekend is the SMA benefit for Dani Pruitt,” said Schmidt. “This is our second year of t-shirt sales and the pre-sales are going great. Beth and her family are a big part of this program. She laid the groundwork and made the sacrifices early through the building process. Now, the Pruitts are in a whole other battle. They will always be a part of the Kentucky family and we are committed to helping in any way we can.”
The Wildcats are 7-3 on the season after winning the UC-Davis Aggie Invitational last weekend with a 4-1 record in Davis, Calif. The Cats have the best 10-game start in school history and have posted a team batting average of .357 which ranks them second in the Southeastern Conference.
Four Wildcats rank among the top 10 in the SEC in batting average, led by Katie Campbell who is second with a .533 average. Senior Brooke Marnitz is sixth (.485), followed by freshmen Molly Johnson (.484) and Natalie Smith (.471) who are seventh and eighth, respectively.
The Wildcat defense ranks fifth in the SEC with a .965 fielding percentage and has turned a league-leading five double plays this season.
Campbell belted three homeruns during the Cats’ run in California to take over the leaderboard as the school’s all-time homerun leader with 23 career bombs. Campbell also ranks among career leaders with 89 RBI after driving in nine runs during the five-game span.
Marnitz leads the team and ranks fifth in the SEC with 17 RBI this season. She is also among league leaders in slugging percentage (2nd – 1.000), on-base percentage (8th - .528), home runs (T3rd – 4) and total bases (6th – 33).