UK softball begins NCAA regional play in Louisville



Rachel Lawson’s UK softball team is gearing up for a short drive to face a couple of familiar foes in the NCAA regional Friday through Sunday.

The Cats (29-28) open play Friday at 4:30 in Louisville against the Michigan Wolverines (39-15). The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

The Cats lost to Michigan, a team they defeated in the NCAA last season, at the FAU Tournament 0-3 in February.

“Michigan is always a tough matchup. They’re one of the best teams in the nation,” UK head coach Lawson said. “They have a lot of speed. The top of their order is very good. Then they come with a couple of big hitters in the middle of their lineup. They are very diverse.”

Also competing in the double-elimination opening regional are Valparaiso (42-17) and Louisville (53-3). The Cats dropped two games to the Cardinals this year, by scores of 0-1 and 0-2.

“Louisville is a very emotional team. They are doing great right now,” Lawson said. “They have great pitching, their hitters know what to do. They are a good team and they’re playing at home. It is a challenge, but a challenge we like. We like being the underdog. We love that.”

“It’s hard to beat a team three times, so we have an advantage there,” senior pitcher Chanda Bell said.

With a record barely above .500, but an RPI rating in the low 30s the Cats were getting concerned about being selected for the tournament.

“I wasn’t going to say anything to anyone, but in the back of my mind I was a little nervous,” senior Brittany Cervantes said. ” To see our names up there all four years is very exciting for us. It going to be a great regional.”

Lawson was happy for the seniors on the team.

“Any time you can do it four times in a row, it’s great, especially with this senior class. They’re the class that came in and turned everything around for Kentucky softball,” Lawson said. “If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where we would be. We’ve had a lot of good players come through here, but this was the group that made it all gel.”

Lawson said that senior leadership and a strong work ethic has helped the team overcome a slow start to earn the NCAA bid.

The fact that we were able to make that run the last two weeks shows the character of this team,” Lawson said. “The last two weeks was like tournament play. We’ve already experienced that as a group. They never gave up.”

Louisville Regional – May 18-20 at Louisville, Ky.

No. 15 seed Louisville* (53-3) vs. Valparaiso (42-17)

Kentucky (29-28) vs. Michigan (39-15)

NCAA Regional Schedule

Friday, May 18

Game 1 – Kentucky vs. Michigan – 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)

Game 2 – Valparaiso vs. Louisville – 7:00 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)

Saturday, May 19

Game 3 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 – 1:00 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)

Game 4 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 – 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)

Game 5 – Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 – 6:00 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)

Sunday, May 20

Game 6 – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5 – 1 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)

Game 7 – (If necessary) – 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)

Ticket Information

Adult All-Session $25.00

Child All-Session $15.00

Student/Senior All-Session $15.00

Adult Single Session $10.00

Child Single Session $7.00

Student/Senior Single-Session $7.00

Group and berm: $5.00 Single Session only