No. 8 UT Softball at No. 9 Kentucky preview

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/SUBMITTED) -- All three games this weekend will feature a live radio broadcast on WNML 990 AM with Brian Rice on the call. That live audio broadcast can also be heard for free via UTSports.com. UKAthletics.com will host a live video broadcast for all three games for a cost of $9.95 for a CBS All-Access monthly subscription. UKAthletics.com will also host live stats. UTSports.com will feature a live blog.

Tennessee is coming off an 8-0 (6) rout of Furman on Tuesday. Shaliyah Geathers went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Madison Shipman went 2-for-3 with two RBIs in the win. Erin Gabriel, Cheyanne Tarango and Ellen Renfroe combined for a shutout.

Shipman is enjoying her finest season to date, hitting a team-best .444 with team highs of 17 homers, 45 RBIs (tied), and 47 runs. Her OPS is an incredible 1.472 (.910 slugging percentage and .562 on-base percentage)

Annie Aldrete ranks second on the team with a .381 batting average and is tied for the team lead with 45 RBIs. Her 11 home runs are tied with Melissa Davin's 11 for second-most on the squad and are tied for third-most ever by at Tennessee freshman (Tonya Callahan had 11 in 2005).

Jessica Spigner's 14 in 2009 and Carrie Swinford's 13 in 1996 rank first and second among UT freshman all-time, respectively.
No. 9 Kentucky is UT's fifth ranked opponent of the season. UT has gone 7-1 against ranked opponents this season (No. 11 Nebraska, No. 13 Stanford, No. 4 Florida, No. 21 Texas A&M).

The Lady Vols are hitting .319 as a team and its pitchers have combined for a 2.38 ERA against ranked opponents this season. UT has five players batting .333 or better against ranked opponents in Haley Tobler (.571 BA, one double, three RBIs), Melissa Davin (.444 BA, three doubles, three homers, four RBIs), Shaliyah Geathers (.444 BA), Annie Aldrete (.435 BA, two doubles, four homers, 13 RBIs) and Madison Shipman (.333 BA, three homers, four RBIs). Ellen Renfroe is 6-1 with a 1.63 ERA and 48 strikeouts over 43.0 innings in seven appearances against ranked teams.

Tennessee leads its all-time series against Kentucky, 35-12. The Lady Vols have won the last three meetings between the teams, including a non-conference single game matchup last season when then-No. 6 UT defeated then-No. 21 Kentucky, 6-0, in Lexington.

When the teams squared off last year, Ellen Renfroe fired a four-strikeout, two-hit shutout over seven frames, Kat Dotson hit a three-run homer and Lauren Gibson drove in two runs. UK's Kelsey Nunley threw a complete game, allowing six runs (five earned) on five hits and four walks.

Tennessee is 17-6 against Kentucky in games played in Lexington.
Kentucky is coming off an 11-8 win at Western Kentucky on Tuesday. The Wildcats went 2-1 last week against Arkansas in Lexington.

Emily Gaines is UK's top hitter, batting .393 with five homers, six doubles and 30 RBIs. Sylver Samuel (.342 BA), Lauren Cumbess (.338 BA, seven doubles, eight homers, 28 RBIs), Griffen Joiner (.328 BA, nine doubles, eight homers, 28 RBIs) round out Kentucky's top four hitters.

Kentucky has a pair of strong pitchers in Kelsey Nunley (20-4, 1.96 ERA) and Lauren Cumbess (10-0, 1.75 ERA).


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