Kelsey Nunley Earns SEC Pitcher of the Year Status for First Time
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The best
player in Kentucky softball history’s career just got harder to top, as senior
pitcher Kelsey Nunley was named the Southeastern Conference’s 2016 Pitcher of
the Year on Tuesday morning, as she becomes the first Kentucky softball in
program history to earn that honor.
Nunley just capped off the best
regular season pitching performance in program history on Sunday with her
seventh complete-game shutout of the year as she helped Kentucky clinch second
place outright in the SEC for the first time in program history. Nunley set a
new regular-season ERA record, posting a 1.26 ERA in her 31 appearances, which
was more than five tenths of a run better than anyone had ever recorded in one
season in UK history.
The Soddy Daisy, Tenn., native went
20-5 this season in the circle with 21 games started and 12 complete games. She
is currently the NCAA’s active innings-pitched leader with over 900 in her
career, and this year threw 161.1 innings allowing just 29 earned runs in those
innings and struck out an SEC-leading 185 batters.
Nunley was named the SEC Pitcher of
the Week two times in back-to-back weeks this season – the only player in the
league to win the Pitcher of the Week award in two consecutive weeks after her
complete-game shutout on the road at No. 8 LSU to pick up the win over the
Tigers, and then another shutout then next week in conference action.
She is a finalist for many national
awards, including two of the most prestigious awards in the country – the
Senior CLASS Award, and the ASA/USA Softball National Player of the Year.
Nunley is the first-ever Kentucky player to be a finalist for the National
Player of the Year Award.
Kentucky will open SEC Tournament play on Thursday afternoon in
Starkville, Miss., at 2:30 p.m. ET live on the SEC Network. The second-seeded
Wildcats will play either the seventh-seeded LSU Tigers, or 10th-seeded
Texas A&M Aggies – who play on Wednesday afternoon in the opening round of
the tournament hosted by Mississippi State this week.
For the latest on the Kentucky
softball team, follow @UKSoftball on
Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.