No. 8 Softball Returns Home to Face Arkansas in SEC Action
April 17, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Fresh off its first Southeastern Conference series sweep of the season last weekend at Ole Miss, the No. 8 University of Kentucky softball team looks to keep its seven-game winning streak alive this weekend as it plays host to a three-game series with Arkansas starting Friday at 6 p.m. ET at John Cropp Stadium.
Friday’s series opener at 6 p.m. ET will be followed by a 6 p.m. ET first pitch on Saturday and a 1 p.m. ET series finale on Sunday. Live stats and free live radio from all three games will be available on UKathletics.com. Friday and Saturday night’s games will be televised by the UK/IMG Sports Network on CWKYT in Central Kentucky and on the entire Fox Sports South footprint. Live video (subscription required) will be available online for Sunday’s game only.
Fans will have countless promotions to get involved with this weekend at John Cropp Stadium, including the entire UK team signing autographs on Saturday and Sunday following each game. The series will serve as Little League Weekend at JCS as all little leaguers will receive free admission to all three games, while a poster station will be set up on the main concourse for fans to make a poster to help cheer on the Wildcats. The first 100 fans into John Cropp Stadium on Sunday will receive a set of 2014 softball trading cards.
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. Fans that show the #SocialSpecial softball photo at the gate that was put on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram earlier this week, will receive free admission for up to four.
Kentucky (36-8, 10-5 SEC) enters the weekend series on a seven-game winning streak after winning all five games it played last week, including sweeping all three games at Ole Miss in league action. The five wins moved UK to 36 wins on the season, which is the second most regular-season wins in school history. UK has 10 wins in SEC action, marking the eighth time in program history and sixth consecutive season that UK has won 10 or more league games. UK has won four SEC series this season, which ties the third most SEC series wins in program history.
The Wildcats started last week with a pair of run-rule wins over Wright State and Mississippi Valley State before sweeping its first SEC series of the season in Oxford. UK earned a pair of 3-1 wins on Friday and Saturday to claim the series against the Rebels, before an 11-4 victory in 10 innings in Sunday’s finale.
Senior pitcher Lauren Cumbess had a fantastic week at the plate and in the circle for UK, hitting .471 (8-for-17) with one triple, two homers and 11 RBI, while going 2-0 in the circle with nine innings pitched, allowing only one run on six hits with nine strikeouts. Fellow senior Emily Gaines hit .444 on the week with a double, home run and six RBI, while sophomore infielder Nikki Sagermann had a double, two homers and six RBI. Overall, UK scored 36 runs on 35 hits in the five games with its five home runs in Sunday’s finale tying the most home runs hit in a game in school history.
In the circle, sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley went 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA, striking out 14 in 17.2 innings pitched, while freshmen Meagan Prince and Shannon Smith each pitched well. Prince tossed four shutout innings against the Rebels, allowing two hits with six strikeouts, while Smith tossed 3.1 innings on the week with two runs scored and three hits allowed.
Arkansas enters this weekend’s series at John Cropp Stadium with a 25-20 record overall and a 3-12 mark in SEC action. The Razorbacks have spent much of the season either ranked or receiving votes in the national rankings, peaking at No. 24 in late February. Arkansas is 15-10 at home this season and 4-7 in true road games. Arkansas has played five SEC series this season, dropping all five sets to Tennessee, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Alabama and South Carolina. The Razorbacks’ three conference wins have come against Tennessee, Ole Miss and South Carolina.
The Razorbacks have been led this season by a high-power offense that ranks fourth in the conference in batting average at .319, including an SEC-best 63 home runs with 253 runs batted in. Junior utility player Devon Wallace is the leader of the offense with a .345 (41-for-119) batting average, 11 homers and a .547 on-base percentage, while senior infielder Clarisa Navarro is hitting .359 (46-for-128) and sophomore outfielder Stephanie Canfield .354 (52-for-147) with a team-high 10 stolen bases. Junior infielder Kasey Fagan is hitting .313 (41-for-131) this season with eight homers and 38 RBI, while sophomore utility player Claire Clark (.327), senior outfielder Amanda Geile (.324), senior infielder Chloe Oprzedek (.319), senior catcher Jayme Gee (.310) and freshman infielder Jessica Harrison (.304) are each hitting over .300.
Freshman pitcher Grace Moll leads the team in innings pitched with 84.1, earning a 9-5 record and 3.98 ERA with 57 strikeouts, while junior Kimmy Beasley has a 3-6 record and 3.33 ERA in 40 innings pitched. Fagan is third on the team in innings pitched at 45.1 with a 4.32 ERA and 6-2 record, while freshman Sydney Wright has tossed 56 innings with a 4.50 ERA and 4-4 record and sophomore Kelly Young 42.2 innings with a 4.76 ERA and 3-3 record.
The Razorbacks lead the all-time series against Kentucky 29-17, including a 12-9 record in games played in Lexington. Rachel Lawson is 7-9 against the Razorbacks at UK. The Wildcats have won six of the last 10 games played between the two teams. UK took two of three games from Arkansas in 2010 before winning both games of a doubleheader in 2011. In 2012, the two teams split a doubleheader in Lexington, while the Razorbacks took two of three games from UK last season in Fayetteville.
For the latest on UK softball, follow "@UKSoftball" on Twitter and Instagram or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.
Saturday – #SocialSpecial admission coupon; Little League Day; Poster station; Free posters and schedule cards; Team autographs following the game
Sunday – #SocialSpecial admission coupon; Little League Day; Poster station; Free posters and schedule cards; Team autographs following the game; First 100 fans receive softball trading cards