Doubleheader! Kentucky-Florida and Kentucky-UCLA Previews and Game Threads

The Kentucky Wildcats oppose squads of ballplayers from opposite coasts today. The men face Florida in game 2 of the SEC Tournament semi-finals while the women open Super Regional play against UCLA.

Kentucky Baseball versus Florida

  • 4:30 PM (approximately)
  • Radio: 630 AM Lexington or online at ukathletics.com
  • TV: ESPNews (huh?) or online at ESPN3
  • Expected Starters: UK: Logan Salow (2-3, 5.16 ERA) Florida: Brett Morales (0-2, 5.73 ERA)

Kentucky is facing Florida for the second time in the tournament, having previously sent the Gators to the losers bracket on Wednesday behind outstanding pitching performances by Kyle Cody and Chandler Shepherd and a 2-run home run by Max Kuhn.  I'm going to lazily refer you to the preview for Wednesday's game for a comparison of the two teams.  The SEC regular season champions easily defeated South Carolina and Mississippi St to make it to the semi-finals while the Wildcats beat outlasted Mississippi St in 12 innings on Thursday to reach this point.

Today's starters are a perfect example of what a tournament can do to a pitching staff.  Both carry ERAs over 5 and Logan Salow is making his first career start while Brett Morales makes his fifth of the season.  I expect both coaches are planning to use multiple pitchers to piece together 9 innings.  Kentucky might have a slight advantage because their offense is better equipped to take advantage of a poor pitcher, but this game will likely turn on whichever team gets a better performance from its relievers.  Yesterday I covered who should be available for Kentucky out of the bullpen and I'll do the same for Florida.



Days Ago

ERA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Last pitched
Logan Shore 1.99

102




Kirby Snead 2.00

23




Danny Young 2.23 65




68
Aaron Rhodes 2.48






May 3
Ryan Harris 2.65

18


2
A.J. Puk 3.35
75





Bobby Poyner 3.44
56





Eric Hanhold 4.50





8
Karsten Whitson 4.60





18
Justin Shafer 4.68 41
5




Tyler Deel 0.00





12
Jay Carmichael 0.00







Frank Rubio 2.25







Dane Dunning 5.31





7
Shaun Anderson 5.60





33
Brett Morales 5.73





4

Starters are in bold.  Florida did not have to use many players to win their two games, and the Bulldogs barely put up a fight in their 5-1 loss to the Gators yesterday.  Seriously - I'm not sure they were even trying.  Justin Shafer used those 41 pitches to get through 4 2/3 innings yesterday.  Young, Shafer, Puk, Poyner, and Shore are probably unavailable, but everyone else should be able to go.

The semi-finals and finals are single elimination, so the loser today goes home.  I am less sure at this point that UK can host a regional, even with a tournament title - they are not being discussed at all in any of the projections from the last few days.  While a championship would be awesome, it might be more important to rest the pitching staff ahead of the NCAA Tournament.  Kentucky has already come further than I expected, so there are no bad outcomes for them today.

Kentucky Softball versus UCLA

  • 8:00 PM
  • Radio:None
  • TV: ESPNU or online at ESPN3
  • Expected Starters:Kelsey Nunley (27-8, 1.89 ERA) and Ally Carda (31-4, 1.64 ERA)

Record Conference Last 10 R/G RA/G
Kentucky 47-16 13-11 6-4 4.6 2.8
UCLA 51-6 19-5 8-2 6.5 2.4


RPI ESPN/USA Softball USA Today/UFCA
Kentucky 15 14 15
UCLA 4 2 2

UCLA is really, really good.  The Wildcats really have their work cut out for them, going against the team that is 15th in the country in runs per game and holds the 14th best ERA.  Kentucky ranks 109th and 36th respectively in the same categories.  Kelsey Nunley will need to be at the tip-top of her game if the team is going to have a chance.  They faced some good pitching in their own regional last weekend as well as in conference play, so hopefully they are prepared for a pitcher of Carda's caliber.

The Super Regional is a best of 3, so losing tonight is not a killer blow, but obviously winning the first game is very much preferred.

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