Let's be honest, Cat Fans, last night hurt. And while there is absolutely no shame in losing to a very, very good Alabama squad, to come so close and then fall? Owch.
Take a second, embrace the pain, and then move on. Our Cats are doing just that, and Rachel Lawson has helped them to come back from this before. (Or did you forget that we lost Game 1 in LA last weekend?) We lost a battle, but not the war, and this team will be right for the fight today.
So who exactly are Kelsey Nunley and her Squad of Wildcat Warriors taking on next?
Florida State and Baylor are squabbling at noon today for the right to face Kentucky at 7 PM. Let's review both our potential foes:
Florida State: Turns out the ‘Noles are known for more than that annoying monotonous chant and a penchant for illicitly gained seafood. #8 FSU Softball arrived in OKC with a 55-8 overall record, a .305 hitting average and both the ACC regular season and conference championship titles. Lacey Waldrop, their junior pitcher with a 1.07 era on the season, was just named USA Softball National Player of the Year. Additionally, Waldrop and junior shortstop Maddie O'Brien were both named NFCA First Team All-Americans. FSU is battling their way out of the loser's bracket after dropping their opening game 0-3 vs. #1 ranked Oregon.
Baylor: Fear not, Odyssey Sims is not on the team, and Kim Mulkey is not in OKC. (We hope.) #13 Baylor arrived in OKC with a 47-15 record and their Big XII Player of the Year and NFCA First Team All-American pitcher Whitley Canion. Baylor's offense has a .304 batting average on the season, lead by junior Kaitlyn Thumann who brought her .383 batting average with her all the way from Waco. They are also no doubt spoiling for some SEC payback after getting kicked solidly into the loser's bracket with a 0-13 performance against #5 Florida.
Happily, whoever we play will be coming in to play their second game of the day while the Cats are walking in fresh from practice and hopefully some helpful film review. The advantages end there. No team is in OKC by accident and if the Cats want to move onto Sunday, they're going to need to play brilliantly tonight.
Kentucky's keys to victory are unchanged:
- Win the battle in the circle
- Play very smart defense
- Make the bats your friends, and deliver light's out offense
You can catch all the action at 7 PM EDT on ESPN, and as always we'll be here cheering our Hittin' Kittens on at ASoB. Until Gametime, Wildcat fans - GO BIG BLUE!