Kentucky softball team knocked out of SEC tourney; league volleyball schedule set

Is Kentucky’s body of work sufficient to deliver an NCAA Tournament berth?

For 14 consecutive seasons, the answer to that question for the UK softball team has always been yes.

In 2024, the Wildcats are testing the bounds of that tradition.

Potentially in need of some postseason resume-building, Kentucky was eliminated from the Southeastern Conference Tournament on opening night of the five-day event. No. 13 seed Ole Miss beat No. 12 seed Kentucky 7-2 at Auburn, Alabama, on Tuesday night.

Now, all Kentucky can do is wait.

The NCAA Tournament Softball Selection Show takes place Sunday at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. At that point, UK will find out of it’s part of the 64-team field for the 15th year in a row or its streak of success comes to an end.

Two factors are working in Kentucky’s favor.

First, the SEC is such a powerful conference that it’s not unusual for most or even all of its teams to earn NCAA berths, as all 13 softball-playing schools did last season.

Second, Kentucky (30-22) is positioned well nationally with an RPI of 30 as of Wednesday morning.

Mississippi (31-24) knocked out UK on Tuesday night with a slow leak of run-scoring, plating one in the first inning, two in the third, one in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh off four Wildcats pitchers.

UK starter Stephanie Schoonover (18-9) took the loss after allowing three runs on three hits in three innings. In all, Ole Miss outhit Kentucky 8-3 and benefited from a pair of UK fielding errors.

Peyton Plotts, Hallie Mitchell and Lauryn Borzilleri contributed Kentucky’s only base hits. UK scored its only runs in the third inning on an errant throw after a passed ball.

Mississippi advanced to a Wednesday night matchup with No. 5 seed Missouri.

UK baseball canceled

The Kentucky baseball team was scheduled to visit nonconference foe Xavier on Tuesday afternoon but that game was canceled because of inclement weather and will not be rescheduled.

Kentucky (35-10 overall, 19-5 SEC) will be back on the field this weekend for a three-game conference series at Florida (25-23, 10-14). Games are set for 6:30 p.m. Friday (SEC Network+), noon Saturday (SEC Network) and noon Sunday (SEC Network).

UK track at SEC Outdoors

Kentucky’s men’s and women’s track and field teams are also headed this week to Gainesville, Florida, site of the SEC Outdoor Championships Thursday through Saturday.

The meet will be broadcast on SEC Network+, starting Thursday at noon, Friday at 11:45 a.m. and Saturday at 3 p.m.

Kentucky unveils new-look SEC volleyball schedule

The UK volleyball team revealed its 16-match 2024 SEC schedule Wednesday, which includes meetings with new league members Oklahoma and Texas.

The SEC’s expansion from 13 to 15 volleyball-playing teams — Vanderbilt does not participate — does not change the number of league games for each school, which remains at 16.

Kentucky, which will be seeking its eighth consecutive conference championship, will play each of the other 14 teams once and face Missouri and Georgia twice each.

UK opens league play Sept. 27 at Auburn before visiting Florida on Sept. 29.

The Wildcats play their first SEC match inside their newly renovated Memorial Coliseum against Oklahoma on Oct. 2. Two-time defending national champion Texas makes its visit Oct 13.

In addition to Auburn and Florida, UK will play on the road against Tennessee (Oct. 16), Alabama (Oct. 20), Mississippi (Oct. 27), South Carolina (Nov. 1), Georgia (Nov. 3) and Missouri (Nov. 27).

In addition to the Sooners and Longhorns, UK will host Missouri (Oct. 6), Texas A&M (Nov. 8), LSU (Nov. 10), Georgia (Nov. 17), Mississippi State (Nov. 20) and Arkansas (Nov. 24).

Kentucky’s nonconference scheduled will be announced in the weeks ahead.

Women’s golf trailing

The UK women’s golf team entered the final day of the NCAA East Lansing (Mich.) Regional on Wednesday needing a rally to advance to the NCAA Championship.

Kentucky started the final round of the 12-team regional tied for seventh place with a 4-over par two-round total of 480. The top five teams advance to the NCAA Championship, which will be contested May 17-22 at Carlsbad, Calif.

After two rounds, the top five were Southern California (-6), Northwestern (-4), Pepperdine (-3), Michigan State (-1) and Florida (+1). That group was followed by Denver (+3), Kentucky (+4) and Oklahoma State (+4).

Marta Lopez Echevarria was Kentucky’s top individual through two rounds with an even-par total of 144.