Softball continues West Coast swing



By Tyler Spanyer | @KernelSpanyer

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UK softball continues its season-opening road swing this weekend with three games over Saturday and Sunday.

Following a 10-day, 11-game West Coast trip in which featured wins against No. 3 California, No. 16 Washington and No. 20 Stanford, UK has moved from unranked to No. 20/21 in the nation.

The Cats (8-3) have had a strong start to the year, with their only losses coming against No. 3 Arizona State, No. 1 Oklahoma and unranked Portland State.

UK is slated to face off with seven more ranked teams, including No. 1/2 Alabama, No. 5 Florida, No. 7 Missouri and No. 10/11 LSU over the 2013 season.

The Cats will not face any ranked teams this weekend, however, when they head to Spartanburg, S.C., to participate in the Coke Zero Spartan Classic.

UK begins play with a double-header Saturday against Georgetown (1-7) and the Howard University Bison (3-3).

The Cats will finish off with a game against USC Upstate (8-0) on Sunday afternoon.

The Spartans pose the biggest threat to the Cats and are led by sophomore shortstop Maddison Kieffer at the plate, who is posting a .611 batting average with five doubles and nine RBIs through eight games.

Kieffer is followed closely by senior catcher/first basemen Ericka Harris, who is batting .591 with four doubles and four RBIs.

On the mound the Spartans are led by junior right-handed pitcher Hannah Alexander.

Alexander is 4-0 on the season with an ERA of 0.32.

Leading the way for the Cats at both the plate and on the mound is junior right-handed pitcher/first baseman Lauren Cumbess who boasts a .429 batting average, two home runs and 10 RBIs.

Cumbess also leads the team in ERA with a 2.04 ERA and a 2-1 record overall.

The surprise performer for the Cats to this point has been true freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley.

Nunley has started her collegiate career with a 2.50 ERA and a 6-0 record.

Nunley has thrown three complete games and has almost as many strikeouts, 32, as she has hits allowed, 34.

Saturday’s double-header starts off with Georgetown at 5 p.m., followed by the Howard contest at 7 p.m.

Sunday’s clash with USC Upstate is slated for 3 p.m.