LEXINGTON, Ky. – For the first time in program history, the University of Kentucky softball team sits inside the top 10 of both the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 and ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25, it was announced Tuesday.
Kentucky (5-0) is ranked seventh in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and ninth in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25. Both rankings are program highs, surpassing UK’s previous high ranking of No. 12 in both polls. Kentucky began the season ranked No. 12 in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and No. 14 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25, which were the highest preseason rankings in school history.
The rankings mark the 17th consecutive week UK has landed inside the top 25, which ties the longest streak in school history. Kentucky was ranked in 17 consecutive polls from February 2011 to February 2012.
The Wildcats’ jump up the rankings comes after an impressive opening weekend on the West Coast where seventh-year head coach Rachel Lawson and Co. went 5-0 to post the best start in program history. UK’s signature win over the weekend was over then-No. 2 Oklahoma in 10 innings, while it also defeated Santa Clara, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount and George Washington.
UK earned the wins behind strong pitching and hitting. Through the first five games, Lawson’s pitching staff has three shutouts and only five runs allowed, which both rank as the best in school history at this point in the season. Kentucky’s 39 strikeouts through five games are second most in school history, according to game-by-game records back to the 2005 season.
Offensively, UK has been just as impressive as its 31 runs scored are the third most at this point in the season in school history and its 48 hits through five games is the most UK has ever recorded, according to game-by-game records back to the 2005 season. Kentucky also has 12 doubles, seven home runs and 27 RBI through five games, which are the best in program history through five games according to game-by-game records back to 2005.
Kentucky currently sits 1-0 against ranked teams this season after its win over Oklahoma, which fell in the rankings to No. 7/11. UK is scheduled to play 22 games the rest of the season against teams currently ranked or receiving votes in either poll, including three-game sets against No. 1/2 Tennessee, No. 8/11 Texas A&M, No. 14/18 Missouri, No. 17/19 Georgia, and Auburn and Arkansas, who are receiving votes. UK will have a two-game set vs. No. 23/25 Louisville and single games vs. No. 4/6 Michigan and No. 15/16 Texas.
The Wildcats will continue their 15-game road trip to start the season this weekend in Austin, Texas. The five-game, three-day tournament begins Friday against Louisiana Tech at 11 a.m. ET and No. 15/16 Texas at 5 p.m. ET. Live stats from every game will be available on UKathletics.com, while every game will be broadcast live on the Longhorn Network. Check local listings for channel information.
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