UK softball looks to keep momentum going against Louisville


University of Kentucky senior Erin Rethlake slides into second base during their home opener against the University of Dayton on Thursday, March 1, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Braden Ramsey

After securing a 10-0 victory against the EKU Colonels on Tuesday, UK’s No. 19-ranked softball team will look to get another win on Wednesday when they host arch-rival Louisville.

The Cardinals, who have gone 8-7 over the last three weeks after starting the year 16-4, are looking to build off momentum from their weekend series with NC State.

Here’s what you need to know as first pitch approaches:

Louisville Cardinals – ACC

Record: 24-11 overall; 4-5 in ACC play, 3-2 on the road

The Cardinals are hitting .314 in conference play, led by senior infielder Sidney Melton (.478) and junior pitcher/outfielder Megan Hensley (.435), who has starred on the mound, appearing in six games, with three complete game-starts and a 3-1 record in ACC play.

She has combined with freshman Danielle Watson for a 3.14 ERA, and an opponent’s batting average of .242 in conference.

Despite the quality team batting average and ERA, Louisville sits below .500 in ACC competition due to a lack of run support. They’ve scored 27 runs in the nine games, 12 of which came in two shut-out victories. If they’re able to string a few hits together against the Cats instead of having them dispersed throughout the game, they could pull out a win with their strong pitching duo.

Kentucky Wildcats – SEC

Record: 21-11 overall; 3-8 in SEC play, 12-2 home

The Cats have been struggling from the dish since SEC play began, hitting a paltry .211 as a team. Sophomore outfielder Bailey Vick and senior Erin Rethlake have been doing their part to start a stagnant offense, going .333 and .273 respectively.

The pitching staff has been good but not great, compiling a 3.76 ERA. Their .277 batting average against isn’t the best either.

Sophomore Autumn Humes leads the staff with a 2.52 ERA and .258 batting average against in the span, but has just a 1-4 record due to only five runs of support in her six appearances.

With nothing having gone well for Kentucky over the past three weeks, getting a home win over their in-state rival would be a great way to turn things around. The 10-0 victory over EKU on Tuesday should serve as a tune-up for the Cardinals, as the Cats scored 10 runs for the second time in 10 games against the Colonels.

A month remains in the regular season, and there’s still plenty of time left to make a run. Finally getting the rest of the bats going to help Vick and Rethlake will be the key to victory.

Kentucky hosts Louisville at John Cropp Stadium on Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network.