Jade Rhodes is a power-hitting senior first baseman for the Tigers.
Currently tied for third place with Tennessee in the SEC softball standings, the Auburn Tigers have a chance to move up this weekend as they take on Kentucky for a three-game series in Lexington.
The Tigers, who are 30-4 (6-3 in league play) and ranked No. 3 in the nation, will take on the 12th-ranked Wildcats, who are 8-1 in the league and tied for first place with Florida. Kentucky is off to the best start in school history with its 31-5 record.
Game times are Friday at 5 p.m. CDT, 2 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. Last season the Tigers swept the series with 9-7, 4-1 and 5-0 victories in Auburn.
The Wildcats have built their record with strong pitching. They have a 0.57 earned run average in their nine SEC games and for the season as a whole the ERA is 1.33, which is second in the league and one spot ahead of Auburn, which has a 1.65 ERA.
Meagan Prince is 14-0 as a pitcher for the Wildcats and she has a 1.28 earned run average. Kelsey Nunnelly is 13-3 with a 0.74 ERA.
Auburn coach Clint Myers said he is impressed with UK’s top two pitchers and added that his team will be tested this weekend.
“We are on the road at Kentucky,” he said. “It is a perfect example of a Super Regional where you have to go to somebody’s place and play. We are going there with the idea we have got to win two out of three. If we win three out of three it is just like getting an extra piece of dessert.
“Getting two out of three on the road against a team like Kentucky, I could sleep well at night...maybe not as well as I could with three,” he added. “It is that kind of series.”
Myers noted that he has been pleased with his team’s pitching as the Tigers head into the series vs. an opponent that has a .318 team batting average.
“Kaylee Carlson has been magnificent and Kaylee Carlson, as a freshman, has come in and had really good outings,” the coach said.
Kaylee Carlson is shown in action vs. Florida.
“Lexi (Davis) has been Lexi and throws quality innings and quality pitches. She is learning to be a reliever after being a starter last year, but she did get the start on Sunday.”
Myers has also been pleased with senior first baseman Jade Rhodes, who has a team-high 11 home runs, is batting .388 and is the SEC Player of the Week. Rhodes has smacked two of her team’s six grandslam home runs.
“Right now she is as confident as she has ever been,” the coach said. “She is up there at the plate seeing the ball well and she is playing a great first base.”
Each of the games will be available for viewing on-line at SEC+
The Tigers go into the contest averaging 9.38 runs scored per game, which ranks No. 1 nationally.