(UK Athletics, Britney McIntosh)
Coming off a huge series victory on the road at No. 7 Alabama, Kentucky softball is ready to run through the SEC Tournament with a home field advantage, in an effort to earn a favorable bid in the big dance. The Wildcats took two out of three in down in Tuscaloosa, including a dramatic rubber match game Sunday night that included extra innings, a three-run homer in the 8th, and a game-saving robbery of a Crimson Tide home run to record the final out. The series win bumped Kentucky up three spots in the NCAA RPI to eighth — which is fourth-best in the Southeastern Conference.
Top-10 RPI aside however, Kentucky earned just a 7-seed in the conference tournament which begins Wednesday at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington. The Wildcats 38-17 overall record looks good on paper, but the 13-11 conference mark was not enough to earn a first-round bye.
The Cats will face 10-seed South Carolina Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. with the game televised on ESPNU. Kentucky last faced the Gamecocks in the regular season, traveling to Carolina Softball Stadium and sweeping USC in three games. The winner in round one will move on to play 2-seed Tennessee, who also happens to be ranked No. 2 in the country, at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.
Kentucky is playing host to the SEC Tournament for the first time in school history. Because of the rich tradition in the conference and the always-loaded rosters, the SEC Tournament is regarded as one of the premier softball tournaments in the nation. Hosting the games is a high honor.
To watch the games in the brand new John Cropp Stadium there are several ticket packages available: All-session reserved seats with chair-backs ($60), reserved bleacher seats ($50), and general admission ($40). Fans can also purchase single-session tickets, which include admission to two games excluding the Championship, in reserved bleacher seats ($15) and general admission ($10). There are also discounts for youth and seniors, and groups of ten or more people.