BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Three Kentucky softball players have earned All-Southeastern Conference honors it was announced on Wednesday. Senior Brittany Cervantes headlines the accolades with a first-team selection as well as All-Defensive team honors. Junior Kara Dill is a repeat performer on the All-SEC second-team, while freshman Griffin Joiner earned All-Freshman team tributes.
Cervantes’ honors are the first of her career after earning an All-Freshman team selection in 2009. The Chatsworth, Calif., native turned in the best season of her career in her final campaign in league competition. She batted a team-high .357 with 11 home runs and 23 RBI to lead the Wildcats to a school-record six SEC series wins. She charted 30 total hits with 16 going for extra bases, while also scoring a team-high 20 times. Cervantes ranked among the top-five in the league in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, RBI, home runs, walks and also led the league in total bases.
The defensive team honor is also the first of her career, and she is just the third UK player to earn recognition since the inception of the squad in 2010. Cervantes was a stalwart at third base for the Wildcats charting 31 putouts and 50 assists while also being a part of five double-plays on the year for the Wildcats.
Dill is a second-team All-SEC selection for the second consecutive season after charting a .304 batting average and 28 hits on the season. She hit five doubles and a pair of triples while driving in nine. The LaGrange, Ohio, native also swiped six bags and had four sacrifice hits. For the season she notched a league-high 69 hits which is a new career-high for the junior. She’s also the only player to hit a double, triple and a home run this season. Furthermore, she set a new UK record with a 15-game hitting streak topping her own 14-game mark she set a season ago.
Joiner’s All-Conference honor is the first of her career. The Hopkinsville, Ky., native started every game for the Wildcats behind the plate in league play and batted .263 on the season. Her first career hit in SEC action was a home run against top-ranked Alabama. Joiner is on pace to shatter the single-season UK record for putouts with 372 on the season. She led the conference by catching 12 base runners on the base paths throughout the season. The freshman catcher was also on the receiving end of two no-hitters UK pitchers tossed during SEC play.
Kentucky will begin its postseason run on Thursday at the SEC Tournament at Rhodes Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., as the University of Alabama Crimson Tide will serve as the hosts of the tournament.
UK will be the No. 5 seed in the tournament and will face the fourth-overall seed in Georgia at 5 p.m. ET on ESPNU at 5:30 p.m. ET Thursday.