Softball looks to bounce back against South Carolina

True freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley pitches in the first inning of the UK softball game vs. the Tennessee Volunteers at the UK Softball Complex on Friday, March 29, 2013. UK lost, 6-0, in the game that did not count toward conference standings because it made up for games canceled because of inclement weather. Photo by Becca Clemons | Staff

By Tyler Spanyer | @KernelSpanyer

tspanyer@kykernel.com

After a midweek loss to in-state rival  Louisville, No. 20 UK softball will head to Columbia, S.C. Friday for a  three-game series with the Gamecocks of South Carolina.

UK (24-10, 5-4) has lost against No. 5 Tennessee and No. 11 Louisville in its two previous outings and will be looking to get back on track against the Gamecocks.

Junior Lauren Cumbess and sophomore Griffin Joiner have started every game for UK head coach Rachel Lawson this season. Joiner is hitting .322 with a team-leading eight home runs and 28 RBIs.

Cumbess is hitting .333 with six doubles and 22 RBIs. Cumbess has compiled a 6-3 pitching record with a 2.76 ERA in 15 appearances.

True freshman Kelsey Nunley holds a winning record in 2013, going 15-4 with a 2.05 ERA. Nunley has also pitched nine complete games.

After getting the season off to a 13-3 start, USC (19-14, 1-8 SEC) has lost nine of its last 11 games.

USC’s lone SEC win came against Louisiana State. Those same Tigers swept the Cats two weeks ago.

The Gamecocks are led by senior utility player Samie Garcia, who leads the team in nine offensive categories including batting average.

Garcia is one of four Gamecock starters in the field to return from their 2012 roster.

UK and South Carolina begin the series Friday at 7 p.m. The Cats and the Gamecocks will continue play again Saturday at 4 p.m. and will conclude the series Sunday at 1 p.m.

All games will be played at the Carolina Softball Complex.

Live stats from all three games will be provided on UKAthletics.com