LEXINGTON, Ky. – After a strong road win Wednesday night at Lipscomb where the Wildcats blasted two home runs to earn a 8-1 victory, the No. 20/21 University of Kentucky softball team is set to play host to No. 5/6 Tennessee in a single-game non-conference set on Friday at 5 p.m. ET at the UK Softball Complex.
Admission to the game will be free of charge, while live stats and live video will be available on UKathletics.com. The game, which was scheduled due to both teams losing midweek non-conference games due to weather, will not count towards Southeastern Conference team standings.
Kentucky (24-8, 5-4 SEC) is coming off a strong win Wednesday night in Nashville, taking down Lipscomb 8-1. Sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner led the offensive attack for Kentucky, going 2-for-3 with a solo home run and a RBI double. The homer was Joiner’s team-leading eighth home run of the season. For the season, Joiner is hitting .337 (29-for-86) with eight doubles, eight home runs and a team-best 28 RBI.
Juniors Ginny Carroll and Lauren Cumbess also had strong nights at the dish with Carroll posting a 3-for-4 night with two RBI and Cumbess blasting her fourth roundtripper of the season. Cumbess ended the game 2-for-4 with two RBI, while freshman infielder Christian Stokes also had two hits. Fellow freshman Nikki Sagermann went 1-for-4 to keep her team-leading batting average at .379 (22-for-58).
The Wildcats got two strong performances in the circle against the Bisons, starting with junior Ellen Weaver, who threw two innings, allowing only one hit and one unearned run with two strikeouts. It was Weaver’s first appearance in the circle since March 3. The veteran was relieved to start the third inning by true freshman Kelsey Nunley, who pitched the final five innings of the game, keeping the Bisons scoreless with just two hits. Nunley also struck out five batters en route to earning her 15th win of the season.
Nunley paces the Wildcats in pitching this season, throwing a team-high 122.1 innings with 101 strikeouts and a 1.83 ERA. Cumbess is second on the team with a 2.52 ERA and a 6-2 record, while true freshman Katie Henderson is 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA in limited action and Weaver is 1-2 with a 4.08 ERA in eight appearances.
Tennessee (28-6, 6-3 SEC) is also coming off a dominating performance, taking down Eastern Kentucky University on Wednesday night 8-0. The Volunteers have won five straight games, including a sweep over top-five ranked Texas A&M last weekend in Knoxville. Senior infielder/outfield Raven Chavanne leads the Vols in hitting with a .434 (46-for-106) batting average along with 34 runs scored, three doubles and three home runs. Senior infielder Lauren Gibson and sophomore infielder/pitcher Cheyanne Tarango lead the team in home runs with seven apiece, while Tarango has a team-leading 32 RBI. In limited action in the circle, Tarango has a team-low 1.44 ERA with a 3-1 record, while senior Ivy Renfroe is 13-3 with a 1.45 ERA and junior Ellen Renfroe is 8-1 with a 1.65 ERA.
Tennessee leads the all-time series against Kentucky 34-12, including a 14-7 record against UK in Lexington. The Wildcats are 5-8 against UT under sixth-year head coach Rachel Lawson. The two teams have met every year since UK started a program in 1997 except 2002.
Kentucky will play host to the SEC Tournament this season for the first time in school history. The event, which is considered one of the most prestigious softball tournaments in the nation, will be May 8-11 in Lexington. The championship game will be featured on ESPN2, while all other games will be shown on ESPNU.