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#11 UK Softball at #4 Alabama: Preview and Gamethread

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Last night the Cats pulled off a fantastic 3-2 win over the Tide in Tuscaloosa. Can they take the series tonight?

The Cats, who were garnering little respect at the start of the season, are making some serious noise in conference play. Current rankings within the SEC (as per the conference's site):

  1. Florida: The defending back-to-back National Champs are 13-3 in conference play, and 43-3 overall, good enough for #1 in the conference and the country.
  2. Auburn: 13-3 in conference play, 43-5 overall. As the #3 team in the country, the Tigers will almost definitely host a super regional in May, which improves their odds of making it to OKC by +75%.
  3. Kentucky: 13-5 in conference play, 38-9 overall. Currently ranked at #11, and looking to close out their remaining regular season games (Alabama, Louisville and Mississippi State) with Ws to try and catapult themselves into the top 10. (Remember, the goal is to be among the top #8 teams by the end of the conference tournaments in order to host a super regional in the NCAA's)
  4. Tennessee: 12-6 in conference and 34-11 overall is good enough for #13 in the country. Really glad we're not playing them this year, I'm still getting over what they did to us in the back end of last year's season.
  5. Alabama: 10-6 in conference, 39-9 overall. Ranked #4 in the country. A series win here would be HUGE for UK.
  6. Georgia: 9-7 in SEC play, 37-11 overall. Right behind UK national at #12, thus proving yet again how dangerous the SEC is on the diamond.
  7. Ole Miss: 7-9 in conference, 32-15 overall, and neither ranked nor likely to get there this season without a miracle.
  8. Mizzou: 6-8 in conference play, 31-11 overall, ranked at #19 in the country and I suspect their RPI (currently ranked at #12) is why.
  9. LSU: 8-11 in SEC play, 34-13 overall, and ranked at #14 in the country.
  10. A&M: 6-9 in conference play, 33-11 overall, and ranked at #17 in the country.
  11. South Carolina: 5-11 in SEC play, 32-14 overall. Unranked.
  12. Mississippi State: 3-13 in SEC play (owch), 24-21 overall. Unranked and that's not gonna change.
  13. Arkansas: 1-15 in conference play (OWCH!), 17-30 overall. Unranked.
  14. Vandy: For some reason they don't play softball. Guess they gave that funding to their bowling team?

As you can see, 'Bama and State are our final SEC games, and wins here are critical to the Cats' plans for the post-season. Beating completely unranked Louisville is always fun AND it would help cement the Wildcat Women's dominance over the Cards this year, where they've already beaten them in soccer, volleyball, and basketball.

Now you know why these final games are important. Let's look at what to expect this weekend in TitleTown.

  • Our pitching team continues to amaze. The lethal combo of Kelsey Nunley and Meagan Prince are currently holding their opponents to an ERA of 1.65, good enough for FOURTH IN THE COUNTRY. Kudos to Rachel Lawson, who was good to her word that she would elevate the pitching crew and get Kelsey some help in the circle.
  • Offensively, the Cats had a decent day yesterday. They had 6 hits on the day, to include Nikki Sagermann's 2 run HR. Overall the Cats offense has really dropped off as they are now .285 on the season, good enough for 125th in the country. Bama's ERA on the season is 2.32 - 26th best in the country - so the Cats shouldn't expect to pad their stats this weekend.
  • Only one error in yesterday's game is a nice improvement on the Cats' most recent performances.
  • Much as Kelsey and Meagan shared the circle yesterday, Alabama's Sydney Littlejohn and Alexis Osorio shared frames. We might see Madi Moore today, but as she's a frosh who's only pitched 9 games and the Tide REALLY needs a win today? I expect we'll see Alexis starting...she had 4 K's on 7 the 7 Cats she faced in her two innings of play.
  • Bama's hitting .317 and that's not shabby. Happily, Kelsey and Meagan laugh in the face of pressure.

The weather in Alabama looks fantastic - 78 and sunny, with a little bit of a breeze as winds are 10 mph - so it should be a great night to watch the Cats. Hope to see you at 6 EDT today as we cheer our Hittin' Kittens (maybe we should rename them the Pitchin' Kittens?) onto victory!

Until gametime, Cat fans - GO BIG BLUE!!!!!