LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 12 Kentucky softball team will set its sights back on Southeastern Conference play this weekend, as the Wildcats welcome the No. 3 Auburn Tigers, and one of the nation’s best offenses, to John Cropp Stadium in Lexington for a three-game series kicking off on Friday at 6 p.m. ET on the SEC Network+. Saturday’s game will be at 3 p.m. ET, with the series finale at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday – both on the SEC Network+.
Friday night’s promotion is “Family 4 Pack” – where families of four can purchase four tickets to the game for just $30 with a meal ticket as well for the concession stands. Saturday is Youth Day at JCS, with buy one – get one free tickets available for purchase as well as face painting on the main concourse. On Sunday, fans can celebrate “Sunday Funday” by getting a free set of UK Softball trading cards.
The Wildcats are coming off a midweek road split at Ohio University on Tuesday afternoon in Athens, dropping game one, 1-0 in extra innings before rebounding in game two to win 3-1 off an Abbey Cheek three-run homer in the top of the first inning.
Kentucky currently sits tied atop the SEC standings with an 8-1 league record, putting the Wildcats even with the top-ranked Florida Gators in the SEC standings through three weekends of conference play.
UK’s Kelsey Nunley was named to the Senior CLASS Award top-10 finalists list on Wednesday afternoon. She and Alabama’s Hayley McClenney were the two finalists from the SEC. Nunley currently sports a 0.74 ERA with a 13-3 record in the circle.
UK swept South Carolina in Columbia to open up conference play three weeks ago, which was the first sweep of an SEC opponent since Kentucky swept Ole Miss in 2014 in Oxford. The Wildcats then two weeks later went on the road to sweep the Arkansas Razorbacks to pick up two sweeps in SEC play. UK won one SEC series in the entirety of 2015 and already matches its league win total from 2015, on a team that advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals with five league wins. UK went 5-19 in SEC play a season ago and is already 5-1 to start SEC play in 2016.
Auburn comes into this weekend’s series ranked No. 3 in both national polls and a 30-4 overall record in 2016. The Tigers offense is one of the best in the nation, with a .348 team batting average, and two players – Kasey Cooper and Tiffany Howard – batting over .400 on the season.
The Tigers are 5-1 in true road games, with their only loss coming at the hands of Mississippi State in its SEC opening series two weeks ago down in Starkville. Auburn played a tough non-conference schedule, with quality wins over No. 15 UCF, Oklahoma State, South Florida and Indiana.
Auburn in the circle has had five pitchers contribute this season, with Makayla Martin leading the way in ERA. Martin currently sports a 1.14 ERA in her 13 appearances in the circle with a 7-0 record and only 29 hits allowed. Kaylee Carlson has a 1.15 ERA in her 13 appearances, while Lexi Davis, who is 4-0 on the season, has a 1.62 ERA.
The Tigers lead the all-time series with UK 34-17, including a three-game sweep of the Wildcats down in Auburn a season ago. The 2012 season was the last time Kentucky won a series against the Tigers, which was games one and two in Auburn in 2012. The last time UK won a series against Auburn in Lexington was in 2009, when UK swept.