#19 Kentucky Softball 2018 Preview

Kentucky Wildcats
Overall Rank: #19
Conference Rank: #8 SEC
Kentucky Logo
Kentucky reached their ninth straight NCAA Tournament appearance under Coach Rachel Lawson in 2017. Once again the Wildcats hosted a regional and they had no trouble reaching the Super Regionals. However, in Eugene, Kentucky lost 4-0 and 6-5. Kentucky should be back in the mix to a host a regional again in 2018. They will have to do it without Meagan Prince though. She was the team’s top pitcher, going 21-9 with a 2.00 ERA in 196.1 innings of work. Senior Erin Rethlake is ready to take over. She hurled 104.0 innings last year and went 10-5 with an impressive 1.95 ERA.
2017: 39-19, 12-12
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Rachel Lawson
Key Departed Players:
Breanne Ray, OF, .273 BA, 2 HR, 28 RBI
Meagan Prince, P, 2.00 ERA, 21-9 W-L, 196.1 IP, 175 SO
Key Returning Players:
Katie Reed, IF, .353 BA, 3 HR, 21 RBI
Bailey Vick, OF, .321 BA, 0 HR, 8 RBI
Abbey Cheek, UTL, .318 BA, 13 HR, 41 RBI
Erin Rethlake, P/DP, 1.95 ERA, 10-5 W-L, 104.0 IP, 74 SO, .300 BA, 15 RBI
Alex Martens, IF, .295 BA, 4 HR, 30 RBI
By SEC standards, Kentucky struggled at the plate. They scored just over four runs per game and that was obviously more than enough for Kentucky to have a successful 2017 season. Abbey Cheek will again be the team’s most dangerous hitter. She led the Wildcats with 13 homeruns and 41 RBIs and should be in for a strong junior year. Rachel Metzger, Brooklin Hinz and Jenny Schaper can all add some power. However, players like Bailey Vick and Rethlake will get on base and the combination should lead to a relatively dangerous, balanced offense. As long as the pitching staff can replace Prince, Kentucky will be a competitor in the SEC and on the cusp of hosting another regional.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament