LEXINGTON, Ky. – Head coach Rachel Lawson unveiled the full Kentucky softball schedule for the 2019 season on Wednesday afternoon, for what will be her 12th season at the helm of the Wildcats.
The Wildcats led the nation with the No. 1 strength of schedule in 2018, and will be in a good position to defend that title in 2019. Kentucky will play a whopping 38 games against 23 different teams that made the NCAA Tournament in 2018. The Wildcats will be facing half of the Women’s College World Series field, and will play 16 games against eight different teams that advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals last year.
Kentucky already announced its participation in the 2019 ESPN St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational (Tampa, Fla.) in addition to the 2019 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic (Palm Springs, Calif.). Additionally, the Southeastern Conference schedule was revealed last week to the Big Blue Nation.
The season will open on Feb. 8 as the Wildcats will participate in the 2019 Houston Invitational hosted by the University of Houston in the Lone Star State. Kentucky will play Illinois out of the Big 10 on day one along with the hosting Cougars. Day two (Feb. 9) will see UK play Houston again along with Sam Houston State. The tournament concludes with 2018 Big XII runner’s-up, Oklahoma State.
After trips to Clearwater and Palm Springs, the Wildcats will conclude the non-conference tournament portion of their schedule at the Coach B Classic in Carbondale, Illinois. Kentucky won the tournament in 2017, the last time UK participated in the event. The hosts will be Southern Illinois University, and the Wildcats will face SIU, St. Louis, Murray State and Wichita State in the event March 1-3.
Kentucky will play nine midweek games this season, against eight different teams. Five of the nine games will come at home inside John Cropp Stadium. Miami (OH) and Syracuse kick off the midweek slate of games over Spring Break on March 12 and 13. Additionally, UK will host Western Kentucky (March 26), Ohio State (March 27) and Eastern Kentucky (April 24) in Lexington. The Wildcats will travel to Marshall (March 20), Eastern Kentucky (April 3) and Northern Kentucky (April 9).
The annual “Battle of the Bluegrass” featuring the Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals will be held in the Derby City at Ulmer Stadium on April 17. The Wildcats have won the last four games in a row over U of L, including the last two held in Louisville.
UK has its SEC bye week in a unique spot this season, with the last week of the regular season being the Wildcats’ off week. Kentucky will make its second trip of the season to the state of Texas on May 4 and 5 for a two-game series against Texas Tech in Lubbock.
The Wildcats will then travel to College Station the following week for the 2019 SEC Tournament, hosted by Texas A&M University to be held May 8-11 at the newly-christened Davis Diamond.
The NCAA Tournament selection committee will announce the field of 64 for the 2019 NCAA Softball Championships on the night of May 12 before NCAA regionals get underway on 16 campus sites May 16-19.
The NCAA Super Regionals on eight different campus sites will be the best of a three-game series on May 23-26 to determine the eight teams who will compete in the 2018 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
The WCWS will commence on May 30 and run through June 5 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in OKC. The ESPN Family of Networks will televise every pitch of the NCAA Tournament, with the WCWS seen exclusively on ESPN and ESPN2.