By LARRY VAUGHT
Sweeping three games from Auburn was especially sweet for Kentucky’s seniors because they were 0-7 against the Tigers during their time at UK before winning twice Sunday and once Monday.
“That was awesome,” senior shortstop Katie Reed, who is hitting .362 and has driven in 39 runs, said. “We were just trying to get one win and then getting the sweep was huge since they are ranked higher. We can take momentum from this to the rest of the season.”
The sweep of then No. 14 Auburn moved UK (28-18) from 24th to 23rd in this week’s poll while it dropped Auburn (34-12) to No. 19.
The top 16 teams get to host NCAA Tournament regionals. Kentucky has three games at No. 3 Alabama (45-4) this weekend to close regular-season play, gets a weekend off and then opens SEC Tournament play. The Cats are currently fifth in the SEC at 12-9 — the top four teams get a first-round bye in the tourney.
Alabama leads the league at 14-4 with No. 10 LSU next at 14-7 followed by No. 17 Ole Miss (11-6) and No. 9 Tennessee (11-7). Unranked Missouri is 10-8 while Auburn and No. 7 Florida are both 9-9.
Ole Miss and Tennessee face each other this weekend before Ole Miss finishes with No. 15 Georgia and Tennessee plays Texas A&M. Missouri plays Mississippi State (27-19) and No. 14 South Carolina (34-12). Florida closes with Auburn and then Mississippi State.
Kentucky certainly could enhance its NCAA resume with a win — or wins — at Alabama, which is on a seven-game win streak.
“I think in the latest RPI we are 16th. That is heavily weighted in the decision to host (NCAA regionals),” Reed said. “We have not really talked ab out it (hosting a regional). Maybe we are right on the border but the last three wins certainly helped. If we could steal a few more wins (against Alabama) and then make a run in the SEC Tournament, it would sure help.
“Last year everybody said we were a bubble team (to host) and we ended up hosting. I still think we could potentially host this year. It’s always great to play at home in front of BBN and it would be great if it happens. If not, then we will just have to go on the road and play. But right now we are not thinking about that because we still have games to play.”
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Kentucky is scheduled to host Eastern Kentucky University Wednesday night at 6.