LEXINGTON, Ky. – After a cancelled midweek game against in-state foe Louisville on Wednesday night, the No. 15 Kentucky softball team will travel to No. 8/9 LSU over the weekend to face the Tigers on Saturday, Sunday and Monday for a three-game Southeastern Conference series in Baton Rouge, La.
Saturday’s series opener will be shown live on ESPN at 3 p.m. ET/2 p.m. ET with Women’s College World Series announcer pairing Adam Amin (pxp) and Amanda Scarbrough (color) on the call. Sunday and Monday’s games will both be 7 p.m. ET first pitches and shown live on the SEC Network with Amin and Scarbrough on the call. All three games of the series will be available on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app as well.
UK enters the weekend matchup with a 31-8 overall record, having lost three games over the weekend to the No. 3 Auburn Tigers at home. Kentucky lost a nine-inning affair with AU in the series capper on Sunday afternoon at John Cropp Stadium leaving the tying runs on base and the go-ahead run at the plate. UK sits 8-4 in the SEC, tied with Auburn and Alabama for second - only behind top-ranked Florida by one game.
In 2015, Kentucky won its only SEC series of the season against LSU, when the Tigers were ranked No. 1 in the country at the time. UK got wins on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, both behind great pitching, to secure the wins. LSU leads the all-time series with Kentucky, 36-9.
Kelsey Nunley leads Kentucky in the circle, with a 1.10 earned run average and a 13-4 record on the 2016 campaign. Nunley, who is a Senior CLASS Award finalist, has struck out a team-high 134 batters in her 21 appearances in the circle and has 11 complete games in over 101 innings pitched. Helping out Prince in the circle this season is Meagan Prince, who has a 1.70 ERA in 19 appearances in the circle and a 14-2 overall record. Prince has thrown an SEC-leading three no-hitters on the season – becoming the first SEC pitcher since Kelsi Dunn of Alabama in 2009 to throw three in a single season.
Offensively for Kentucky, Sylver Samuel leads the way with a .388 batting average and 40 hits on the season. Samuel is one of six Kentucky players hitting over .300 on the season, including three freshman – in Abbey Cheek, Katie Reed and Jenny Schaper.
The LSU Tigers under the direction of Beth Torina enter the weekend series ranked No. 8/9 in the country and sit in the No. 14 slot of the NCAA RPI that was released on Monday. LSU is 29-9 on the season and fresh off of a midweek win over Southern Miss, 5-0 at Tiger Park on Wednesday night in Baton Rouge. Last time out in SEC play, the Tigers took the first two games from No. 10 Georgia in Athens to take the series.
Similar to UK, LSU is led by three outstanding pitchers, in Sydney Smith, Allie Walljasper and Carley Hoover. Hoover has the most wins and appearances for LSU this season, with an 11-3 record in her 20 appearances in the circle. Walljasper has 15 circle appoints with a 6-4 record this year and a 1.56 ERA. Sydney Smith leads LSU in the circle ERA-wise with a 0.86 mark, but does not have as many wins or appearances as Hoover or Walljasper.
Saturday, April 9
No. 15 Kentucky at No. 8 LSU – 3 p.m. ET [ESPN]
Sunday, April 10
No. 15 Kentucky at No. 8 LSU – 7 p.m. ET [SEC Network]
Monday, April 11
No. 15 Kentucky at No. 8 LSU – 7 p.m. ET [SEC Network]For the latest on the Kentucky softball team, follow @UKSoftball on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.