Cats eye Women's College World Series

A spot in the Women's College World Series for the first time in program history is on the line as Kentucky heads to Los Angeles for the NCAA Softball Super Regional.

The No. 14 Wildcats square off with No. 3 UCLA beginning Saturday at 8 p.m. ET in the Bruins' Easton Stadium. The best-of-three series continues on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET and will have a third game at 6 p.m. that day, if necessary.

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Each game in the series will be televised by ESPNU.

It's the third time that UK (47-16) has reached the Super Regional in the last four years, all under head coach Rachel Lawson. The Cats defeated Ohio, James Madison and DePaul in the Lexington regional last weekend.

The Cats boast a strong hitting and pitching club, having belted 66 home runs this season compared to just 36 by their opponents. Sophomore infielder Nikki Sagermann and senior infielder-pitcher Lauren Cumbess lead the team with 13 and nine home runs, respectively, while sophomore outfielder Sylver Samuel has been a spark plug at the top of the order with a team-high 36 runs scored and 18 stolen bases.

Cumbess (10-1, 2.07 ERA) is also part of a strong 1-2 punch in the pitching circle along with UK ace Kelsey Nunley (27-8, 1.89 ERA, 195 strikeouts). The latter, a sophomore right-hander, threw every pitch for the Cats in the regional, posting three wins and a 0.49 ERA. She struck out 31 batters in 28.1 innings pitched.

UCLA (51-6) is one of the top programs in the country, having won 12 national titles. The Bruins played in the Women's College World Series in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010, winning the championship in their last trip. They started this season on a 17-game winning streak and advanced to the Super Regional by defeating Southern Utah and Notre Dame last weekend.

The Bruins are led by sophomore outfielder Allexis Bennett, who boasts a .432 batting average and typically sets the table for a gauntlet of power hitters that includes Ally Carda (13 HR, 54 RBI), Stephany LaRosa (14 HR, 45 RBI) and Mysha Sataraka (16 HR, 55 RBI).

Carda is UCLA's top pitcher, entering the Super Regional with a 31-4 record and a 1.64 ERA. She has struck out 219 batters in 209 innings pitched.

UCLA leads the all-time series with Kentucky 4-0, with all four games occurring in the Rachel Lawson Era. The two teams first met in 2009 in an early season tournament in Las Vegas with the Bruins winning 9-6. The Wildcats played the Bruins three times at Easton Stadium in the opening weekend of the 2012 season with UCLA winning all three games.

NCAA Los Angeles Super Regional
Easton Stadium – Los Angeles, Calif.
Saturday, May 24
No. 14 Kentucky (v) vs. No. 3 UCLA (h) – 8 p.m. ET – ESPNU
Sunday, May 25
No. 14 Kentucky (h) vs. No. 3 UCLA (v) – 3 p.m. ET – ESPNU
No. 14 Kentucky (v) vs. No. 3 UCLA (h) – 6 p.m. ET – ESPNU – if necessary

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