LEXINGTON, Ky. – After advancing to an NCAA Super Regional in the spring of 2013 for the second time in the last three seasons, the University of Kentucky softball team has announced its 2013 fall schedule, which includes two home doubleheaders at John Cropp Stadium and two road trips to the state of Ohio.
“I continue to be impressed by the number of our players that make it a priority in the offseason to become stronger and to sharpen up their individual skills,” said head coach Rachel Lawson after the Wildcats returned to campus the last week of August to start the fall semester. “Our fall games will provide those athletes an opportunity to show off how much work they have put in over the last three months. I also know that our three freshmen are excited about the opportunity of showing off their skills in front of their new teammates.”
The Wildcats start the fall campaign with a home doubleheader on Sept. 15 against in-state foe Eastern Kentucky at 1 p.m. ET inside John Cropp Stadium. Kentucky will then hit the road the next two weekends to play a doubleheader with Ohio State on Sept. 22 in Columbus, Ohio, before facing Wright State and Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, on Sept. 29. UK concludes the fall season with its second home doubleheader at John Cropp Stadium on Oct. 6 against Georgetown College starting at noon ET. A full schedule is listed below. Both home doubleheaders are open to fans and admission is free of charge.
“I am looking forward to traveling with the team. It gives our players the opportunity to come together and it gives our newcomers a taste of our off-the-field and on-the-field expectations of the program,” Lawson said.
Kentucky set a school record for wins in a season in 2013 with 41 and returns 15 letterwinners from that squad, including All-Southeastern Conference performers Griffin Joiner and Kelsey Nunley and National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Southeast Region honoree Lauren Cumbess. UK losses two seniors from last year’s squad in infielder Kara Dill and outfielder Alice O’Brien, who both had great careers for the Wildcats.
Five seniors in pitcher/infielder Cumbess; outfielders Ginny Carroll, Emily Gaines and Emily Jolly; and infielder Krystal Smith return to lead the Wildcats in 2013-14, while Joiner, who caught every game in 2013, outfielder Kara Howard and infielder Sarah Frazer make up UK’s junior class. A big key for UK in 2013 was its freshman class, which has seven members returning for their sophomore seasons in pitcher Nunley; infielders Christian Stokes, Ansley Smith and Nikki Sagermann; outfielders Sylver Samuel and Darington Richardson; and utility player Maisie Steed.
Three freshmen are added to the mix in 2013-14 in pitchers/infielders Shannon Smith and Meagan Prince and outfielder/infielder Buzz Ray. All three were talented high school players who will look to continue that success collegiately.
Those freshmen are added to a team that went 41-21 in 2013, which was the fourth winning season in Lawson's six-year tenure. The banner year last season was also filled with many other team accomplishments, including tying the school record for most runs in a game in the 18-0 win over North Carolina, which was also the largest margin of victory in school history. UK also tied the school record for most extra-inning wins with seven, while its five home runs hit against Middle Tennessee State were the most in a game in school history.
The successful regular season in 2013 led UK to a national seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. The Wildcats also hosted an NCAA Regional for the first time in school history, going 3-1 at the regional to advance to a NCAA Super Regional for the second time in three seasons. In all, UK has been to five consecutive NCAA Tournaments – one of 23 teams nationally to claim that honor. Lawson and Co. finished the 2013 season ranked 12th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 and 14th in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25.
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2013 Softball Fall Schedule
Sept. 15 vs. EKU (DH) Lexington, Ky. 1 p.m. ET
Sept. 22 at Ohio State (DH) Columbus, Ohio. Noon ET
Sept. 29 vs. Wright State Dayton, Ohio 2 p.m. ET
at Dayton Dayton, Ohio. 4 p.m. ET
Oct. 6 vs. Georgetown College (DH) Lexington, Ky. Noon ET