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Griffin Joiner, Kelsey Nunley Named All-SEC Performers

Pitcher Kelsey Nunley is having a great first year with Kentucky.

Pitcher Kelsey Nunley is having a great first year with Kentucky.

May 7, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. - After impressive seasons on the diamond for the No. 15 University of Kentucky softball team, sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner and freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley were named All-Southeastern Conference performers by league coaches on Tuesday, the conference office announced in a news release.

Joiner, who was named to the Freshman All-SEC Team last season, picked up two conference honors this season, being named to the All-SEC Second Team and All-SEC Defensive Team. Nunley, who has been named SEC Freshman of the Week and SEC Pitcher of the Week this season, was one of two pitchers named a Freshman All-SEC performer.

Joiner's placement on the All-SEC Second Team marks the seventh-consecutive year a UK player has been named an All-SEC performer, while she is the fourth player in school history to be honored on the All-SEC Defensive Team. Nunley's appearance on the Freshman All-SEC Team marks the third year in a row UK has had a player named to the team with Nunley being only the 10 player in school history to make the list. Teammates Emily Jolly (2011) and Joiner (2012) were on the team the previous two seasons.

Joiner is having a great year for Kentucky at the dish, hitting .327 (52-for-159) with 27 runs scored, leading the team with 13 doubles and 41 RBI, adding 10 homers. Her doubles, home run and RBI totals surpass her totals from last season. The native of Hopkinsville, Ky., had the best game of her career against UNC, going 4-for-4 with career highs in home runs with two, runs scored with four and RBI with six. Joiner's two homers in a single game marked only the 19th time in school history a player had accomplished that feat and the first since 2011, while she was only the fourth player in school history to earn six or more RBI in a game. Joiner's four runs scored tied the school record for most runs scored in a game, becoming the first player since 2008 to earn that honor.
    
Joiner has also had an impact behind the plate, helping UK's young pitching staff and providing great defense. Joiner is fielding at a .986 clip this season. She has caught 14 of 55 base runners stealing as well, including 10 of 28 in SEC play. Joiner threw out all five runners that tried to steal in the Mississippi State series. Her 14 runners caught stealing ranks tied for second most in the SEC.

Nunley has started her collegiate career in style with a 24-7 record, becoming the first player in school history to win 20 games in a single season. Nunley was also the first player in school history to start a season 10-0 in the circle. Nunley's 24 wins surpass former stars Keary Camunas (2000) and Chanda Bell (2009) in the record books. The week she broke the record, Nunley was named SEC Pitcher of the Week - the first freshman in school history to earn that honor. Nunley became the third player in school history to earn two SEC weekly honors in one season when she was named SEC Freshman of the Week after wins over highly ranked Louisville and Missouri a few weeks back.
Nunley leads the Wildcats with a 2.01 ERA this season in a team-high 223.1 innings pitched with 170 strikeouts. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., has 19 complete games and three shutouts on the year and has allowed only 64 earned runs. In her 22 starts this season, Nunley is 16-6 with a 2.09 ERA, throwing 144 innings with 109 strikeouts and only 43 earned runs. In her 18 relief appearances this season, Nunley is 8-1 with a 1.85 ERA, throwing 79.1 innings with 61 strikeouts. Nunley leads all SEC freshmen pitchers in ERA, wins and strikeouts.

Nunley's wins have come against stiff competition this season, as she has earned wins against highly ranked Alabama, Louisville, Florida, Missouri, Stanford and Washington. The freshman also won against Oregon State, San Diego State and USC Upstate, who were either ranked or receiving votes at some point this season. Last weekend, Nunley became the first pitcher since 2010 to shut out Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and only the sixth pitcher since 2008 to pitch a pair of complete-game wins in a single series against the Tide.

Kentucky (38-17) earned the No. 7 seed in the SEC Tournament and will play Wednesday in the opening round of the event at 6:30 p.m. ET against No. 10 seed South Carolina at John Cropp Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU. Live stats and ticket information can be found at the tournament central page at www.ukathletics.com/secsoftball. If UK wins, they will face No. 2 seed Tennessee on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Kentucky Moves Up Rankings to No. 15/18: After winning the series at top-10 ranked Alabama last weekend to conclude its regular-season schedule, the Kentucky softball team has moved up in both major collegiate softball polls this week. UK is now No. 15 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 and No. 18 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25. UK was 19/20 last week in the polls and has been top 20 in both polls for five straight weeks.

Kentucky also moved up in the NCAA RPI listing to No. 8 overall in the nation - the second highest RPI ranking in school history.

The Wildcats have played a total of 25 games against teams currently ranked or receiving votes in both polls, holding 11 wins in those games. Kentucky has wins over No. 2/3 Florida, No. 7/8 Missouri, No. 9/10 Alabama, No. 11/12 Washington, No. 11/12 Louisville, No. 13/13 Stanford, No. 17/20 Cal, No. T21/25 Arkansas, No. 24/rv USF and Western Kentucky, who is receiving votes in both polls.

For the latest on UK softball, follow "@UKSoftball" on Twitter or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.

2013 SEC Softball Awards
Player of the Year
Lauren Gibson, Tennessee

Pitcher of the Year
Chelsea Thomas, Missouri

Coach of the Year
Tim Walton, Florida

Freshman of the Year
Bianka Bell, LSU; Geri Ann Glasco, Georgia

Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Jenna Marston, Missouri

First Team All-SEC
P - Chelsea Thomas, Missouri
P - Hannah Rogers, Florida
IF - Lauren Gibson, Tennessee
IF - Raven Chavanne, Tennessee
IF - Madison Shipman, Tennessee
IF - Paige Wilson, Georgia
OF - Kayla Braud, Alabama
OF - Kat Dotson, Tennessee
OF - Kaylee Puailoa, Georgia
OF - A.J. Andrews, LSU
C - Jenna Marston, Missouri
DP/U - Lauren Haeger, Florida

Second Team All-SEC
P - Rachele Fico, LSU
P - Kimmy Beasley, Arkansas
IF - Samie Garcia, South Carolina
IF - Kelsey Stewart, Florida
IF - Bianka Bell, LSU
IF - Kaila Hunt, Alabama
OF - Haylie McCleney, Alabama
OF - Kelsey Horton, Florida
OF - Branndi Melero, Auburn
OF - Jacee Blades, LSU
C - Griffin Joiner, Kentucky
DP/U - Mel Dumezich, Texas A&M

Freshman All-SEC
P - Kelsey Nunley, Kentucky
P - Chelsea Wilkinson, Georgia
IF - Kelsey Stewart, Florida
IF - Bianka Bell, LSU
IF - Geri Ann Glasco, Georgia
IF - Emily Carosone, Auburn
OF - Haylie McCleney, Alabama
OF - Kaylee Puailoa, Georgia
OF - Kristi Merritt, Florida
OF - Andrea Hawkins, Alabama; Tiffany Howard, Auburn
C - Kellsi Kloss, LSU
DP/U - Cali Lanphear, Texas A&M

SEC All-Defensive
P - Chelsea Thomas, Missouri
C - Griffin Joiner, Kentucky
1B - Morgan Estell, Auburn
2B - Lauren Gibson, Tennessee
SS - Madison Shipman, Tennessee
3B - Raven Chavanne, Tennessee
LF - Kayla Braud, Alabama
CF - Haylie McCleney, Alabama
RF - Kat Dotson, Tennessee


 

 

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