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UK softball's mission in Tempe: Find way to beat 'Big D'

Kentucky plays its second-ever Super Regional in Tempe, Ariz., this weekend, but Dallas will be on the Wildcats' minds.

Arizona State ace Dallas Escobedo, that is. She hasn't allowed an earned run since May 9, a stretch of 31 consecutive innings. In the Tempe Regional, she went 3-0 with two shutouts, including the school's first post-season no-hitter.

Kentucky, 41-19 and seeded 12th, faces No. 5 seed Arizona State (48-10) in a best-of-three series starting Saturday at 10 p.m. with game two of the series Sunday at 5 and a possible third at 8 p.m.

UK counters junior Escobedo with its freshman ace Kelsey Nunley, who went 3-1 with a 0.83 ERA in the Lexington Regional, striking out 15 batters in 251⁄3 innings.

Top Cats offensively in their region were freshman Sylver Samuel, who went 5-for-9 with three runs scored and three stolen bases, and junior outfielder Ginny Carroll (.429) and sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner (.417). Junior pitcher/infielder Lauren Cumbess also did well on the mound and at the plate, with three hits and a home run and three RBI. Cumbess pitched 32⁄3 innings in the clincher.