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Kentucky baseball, softball host Fan Day

Posted at 1:16 PM, Jan 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-18 19:09:47-05

LEXINGTON, Ky (LEX 18) — The Kentucky baseball and softball teams held their annual Fan Day Saturday morning at Nutter Field House.

The public was able to attend, free of charge, to meet the players and coaches, participate in drills, and receive autographs from players on both teams.

"It's an amazing opportunity to give back to the people who come to our games and show support," said Kentucky softball pitcher and captain, Autumn Humes. "It's awesome to get one-on-one interaction with everyone who comes to our games and sees us play so I just really enjoy stuff like this."

The programs had very different outcomes in 2019. The softball team finished the year 36-24 before being eliminated by Washington in Super Regionals. The baseball team had one of its worst seasons in recent years, finishing with a 26-29 record including a 7-23 record in SEC play.

The softball team lost some key pieces from a season ago including Abby Cheek, Katie Reed and Jenny Schaper. It put some question marks into head coach Rachel Lawson's head before the fall season began, but the team had its best fall season it's ever had, going undefeated with key wins over Louisville and Michigan (twice).

"I don't know where we stand right now because I expected us not to do so well in the beginning games, and they were amazing," said Lawson. "It was like they picked up right where the team left off last year so very hopeful because we're so fast but we have to make sure we get the experience behind us."

The baseball team will miss some guys as well, but a group of core guys will return including T.J. Collet and Jaren Shelby. The pitching rotation is still questionable, with no one, as of now, looks to have the top pitching spot in place of Zack Thompson, who was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals.

"I love talking about the elephant in the room, last year was hard. It was hard for our team, hard for our coaches, hard for me personally," said Kentucky baseball coach Nick Mingione. "Like every season, there will be another one and I'm excited about this group because we actually have some guys back with some experience, guys that have actually been in the league now and can see how hard the league punches."

The softball team will begin its season on February 7th in the NFCA Classic in Clearwater, Fla. They'll open up against Liberty University.

The baseball team will open up on February 14th at TCU.