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UK Softball vs. Florida - Gainesville Super Regional Day 2

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Game One Summary: "They Hit, We Didn't" tells you pretty much all you need to know about Saturday's game against the reigning national champion. Can the Cats flip the script today and punch their ticket to OKC?

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"From this point we just gotta try to recover, get our minds right and get some rest for tomorrow and hopefully we'll be able to fight through and just try to force the if-necessary game."-Griffin Joiner


Two hits were all the Cats could eek out from the miserly Gators Saturday. The 7-0 rout started at the bottom of the first inning and lasted for what felt like forever. Despite valiant efforts in the circle by Kelsey Nunley and Meagan Prince, and great defensive plays by the field, the Cats simply could not get their offense going against Lauren Haeger. Time and time again, Kentucky's bats failed to center on the ball, resulting in entirely too many fly balls that were easy pickings for Florida's defense.

Happily, the Kittens get another chance to change their fate. If they can pull off two wins today, their dancing shoes will lead them to their second straight trip to Oklahoma City. If not, Kara Howard and Griffin Joiner will have officially played their final games for the Blue and White. The odds are not in Kentucky's favor, but the Kittens were in a similar spot last year at the Los Angeles Super Regional and we all know how that turned out.

While 7-0 might tell you the Cats were overmatched, this actually was a pretty competitive game. Kelsey Nunley had three strikeouts, retiring 10 batters in a row following the first inning. Meagan Prince pitched a perfect inning before being replaced by Erin Rethlake, who allowed two home runs in the 6th inning. After the 6th inning, however, the Cats were fighting to keep the Gators from scoring an eight run and ending the game on a run-rule....never a good sign.

So, how do the Cats turn this around and get that golden ticket to OKC?

  1. The Kittens need to get with the hittin'. Really enough said there but I'll add one more thing: the Cats did not seem to be able to course correct when they saw how bad their performance was at bat. If that can't be done at this point in the season, I'm not sure we even belong in the WCWS.
  2. I loved what we saw for the most part in the circle. Kelsey and Meagan were both fearless in glaring down the opposition. More of that please.
  3. There were some mental errors going in during that disastrous bottom of the first. Wake up and stay sharp on Defense, Cats!
  4. Rachel Lawson drags the umpires, no doubt kicking and screaming, to the nearest LensCrafters. Anyone who endured the bottom of the first inning knows why.

I suspect we won't start against Haeger Saturday, but she'll be lurking and ready to step in if Aleshia Ocasio needs relief. The sight of a new body in the circle should help that Cats shake their jitters a bit, but nothing will help as much as getting early hits and runs on the board.

We all knew getting past the reigning champion on their home turf would be a challenge. I think it's a challenge these Wildcats can successfully meet. Sunday's first game is at noon EDT, and please let it be necessary rubber match will be at 3 on ESPN. As ever, we'll be here at ASoB, cheering them all the way - won't you join us?

Until Game Time, Cat fans - GO BIG BLUE!