LEXINGTON, Ky. – Fresh off its second consecutive Southeastern Conference series sweep, the No. 20 University of Kentucky softball team will play three midweek non-conference games this week, beginning Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET with a home game against Marshall at the UK Softball Complex. Midweek action concludes Wednesday with a doubleheader at Eastern Kentucky University beginning at 2 p.m. ET.
Admission to the UK-Marshall game on Tuesday is free of charge, while live stats and live video (subscription required) will be available on UKathletics.com. Live stats from both games against EKU will also be available online.
After the midweek action, UK will return to conference play April 12-14 vs. Florida. The weekend series will be packed with excitement as UK will officially open the newly constructed UK Softball Complex. The weekend will feature numerous promotions to introduce UK fans to the new facility, including a grand opening ceremony on Saturday beginning at approximately 11:45 a.m. ET. Gates to the stadium will open at 11:30 a.m. ET with the dedication ceremony taking place on the main staircase of the stadium.
Kentucky (27-10) is coming off a 3-1 week, including a three-game sweep of South Carolina over the weekend in Columbia. The sweep gave Kentucky its sixth straight win in SEC action after sweeping Mississippi State two weekends ago in Lexington. The six-game conference winning streak ties a school record as the 2011 team also won six straight in league action, earning consecutive sweeps ofMississippi State and Florida.
True freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley led Kentucky over the weekend with a 2-0 record. Nunley has an impressive 17-4 record on the year with a 2.09 ERA and her 17 wins move her into a tie for fourth on UK's single-season wins list with Morgan Marr, who had 17 in 2001. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., is the first UK pitcher to post 17 or more wins in a season since Chanda Bell had 18 in 2010. Junior Lauren Cumbess went 1-0 on the weekend, clinching the sweep with a strong seven-inning performance on Sunday, allowing three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts.
Cumbess led UK at the dish over the weekend by going 5-for-10 with a double, two home runs and four RBI. Cumbess tied the game Saturday with a two-run homer and tied Sunday’s game with an RBI single. Freshman Nikki Sagermann also went 5-for-10 with a double and home run, while junior Ginny Carroll, senior Alice O’Brien and freshman Christian Stokes also hit home runs. Sophomore Griffin Joiner had three hits and three RBI, while freshman Sylver Samuel currently has a season-best five-game hitting streak.
Marshall enters the single-game set with a 25-13 record, including an 11-4 mark in Conference-USA action. The Thundering Herd are 12-0 at home this season and 8-7 away from Huntington, W. V. Marshall has won 15 of its last 16 games with the only loss during that stretch coming last weekend at Houston, which was receiving votes in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25.
The Herd are led this season offensively by senior outfielder Ashley Gue, who is hitting .330 (35-for-106) with 19 runs scored and two doubles, while freshman outfielder Kaelynn Greene has a .327 (37-for-113) average with 19 runs scored, four doubles and one triple. Senior infielder Jasmine Valle and senior infielder Alysia Hively are the RBI leaders with 21 and 20, respectively, while Hively also has seven home runs. Both Gue and Greene have 20-plus stolen bases this season.
In the circle, senior Andi Williamson leads the Herd with a 24-12 record throwing in all 38 games the Herd has played in this season. Williamson has a 2.27 ERA in 215.2 innings pitched with an NCAA-leading 270 strikeouts. Freshman Halie Vance has thrown 34.1 innings this season with a 3.26 ERA and a 1-1 record, while freshman Brittanie Fowler has thrown six innings with a 2.33 ERA.
EKU is 23-14 overall this season and 10-4 in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Colonels have won four straight games, winning both games of a doubleheader against Murray State and Austin Peay over the weekend.
Freshman Sarah Fobbs leads the team in hitting this season with a .356 (32-for-90) average, belting five doubles and eight homers with 23 RBI. Senior infielder Raquel Howes leads the team in RBI with 26 along with seven home runs, while sophomore catcher/infielder Katie Tackett has also hammered seven home runs. Sophomore pitcher Leanna Pittsenbarger leads the team in the circle with a 14-7 record and 1.97 ERA, while sophomore pitcher Shaylon Robb is 7-7 with a 3.49 ERA.