The University of Kentucky softball team revealed a 2017 schedule Thursday that provides all of the challenges the Wildcats have come to expect as a nationally prominent program.
More than half of Kentucky’s 55-game schedule is populated with teams that played in last season’s NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats finished 46-14 last season and advanced to the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament. Rachel Lawson was named Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year and was rewarded with a new five-year contract in June.
In 2017, UK will face five games against teams that played in last season’s College World Series and 13 games against squads that participated in super regionals.
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The schedule includes 20 games at home and 35 on the road.
Kentucky opens the season in the UCF Knights Invitational at Orlando, Fla., with five games Feb. 10-12 against Florida A&M, Pittsburgh and Central Florida.
The Wildcats follow up that season-opening event with trips to California, Florida and Illinois that will include 13 games over the ensuing three weeks.
Kentucky’s home opener is scheduled for March 9 against Dayton, which launches a six-game home stand against non-conference opponents.
UK opens SEC play March 18-20 at Georgia. The Cats will also go on the road for SEC series against Mississippi, Missouri and Mississippi State.
Kentucky will host conference series against Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida and Texas A&M.
The 2017 slate is also highlighted by several games against in-state rivals. UK will visit Eastern Kentucky, Northern Kentucky and Louisville and host Western Kentucky.
Kentucky will play 2016 World Series participants UCLA, Michigan and Georgia.
The SEC Tournament is set for May 10-13 at Knoxville, where the Cats could confront additional World Series teams in Auburn, LSU and Alabama.