Tide Softball is set to travel to Lexington for a weekend series against the Kentucky Wildcats. This marks the Tide's third SEC series of the season. Currently ranked 14th in the top 25, the Tide boasts a 25-6 record overall and a 2-4 record in SEC play. However, the Wildcats hold a current record of 21-11 with a 0-6 record in SEC play.  

Before their departure to Kentucky, Coach Patrick Murphy and Freshman Jocelyn Briski were available for media questioning. Murphy expressed his hope for favorable weather during the series, as he mentioned that every time they have visited Lexington, the weather has been dreadful. 

After splitting a 1-1 series with Virginia Tech, the team had an extended break before facing Kentucky. "The series against Virginia Tech was a success for both teams. They are a great team with a great offense. It felt like playing against another SEC school, but for just two games. We witnessed impressive pitching, and their lineup was great," Murphy commented. The upcoming weekend series will kick off on Thursday and conclude on Saturday, allowing the team to have Easter Sunday off and a flex day afterwards.

Despite the team's loss on the final day of the Virginia Tech series, Murphy hopes to see that same comeback and fighting spirit in future series, particularly in SEC play. He emphasized the significance of the seventh-inning comeback against Virginia Tech, comparing it to the Boston Marathon. "Imagine you and I are running, and I complete 26.2 miles while you reach the 26th mile and decide to stop. You only have 2/10 of a mile left to finish. The winning run was waiting on second base with two outs, putting immense pressure on both the hitter and the pitcher." Murphy believes that in a similar situation in the future, Abby Duchscherer will come through. It was her first time experiencing such pressure in her career and the team's first time this year. 

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Heading into the series, the main focus is on improving at-bats from all players. The goal is to have quality at-bats throughout the lineup, whether it results in a hit or not. Murphy emphasizes the importance of extending at-bats and not going down on three pitches to give the teams offense more opportunities. Kenleigh Cahalan, who hit her first career triple and two more in the previous series, has been a standout player with a keen eye for the ball. Murphy has been working closely with her to maintain her consistency at the plate, focusing on drills to continuously enhance her hitting skills. He is optimistic about her performance and looks forward to her continued success this season. 

Briski, a new team addition, is confident in her ability to take on a starting role this weekend, and Murphy agreed. He stated, she has shown maturity by consistently following the rules of practice, even texting ahead if she needs to miss due to a test or class. Murphy believes Briski's greatest strength is her quick pace in the circle, by keeping the game moving. Briski, who hails from the West Coast, is enjoying the college softball experience and appreciates the welcoming atmosphere of the team and coaches. Despite facing some adversity and an injury earlier in the season, Briski remained patient and trusted her teammates to step up. With a pitching staff of six, Briski feels confident that any one of them can get the job done when called upon. 

Before entering the circle, she reminds herself to exude confidence, especially as a freshman. Despite nerves, she knows she is there for a reason and trusts her team and coaches. She believes in herself and is determined to give her all for them.  

The Wildcats Coach Rachel Lawson has done an exceptional job preparing her team to face tough competition throughout the season, according to Murphy. With this mindset, the team is fully aware that they are up against one of the best teams in the game. Notable players on Kentucky's roster, such as Cassie Reasner, a reliable hitter, Lauryn Borzilleri, who recently achieved five RBIs in a game, Erin Coffel, who holds an all-time RBI record, and Karissa Hamilton, who has consistently delivered outstanding performances this season.  

The first day of the series is scheduled for tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. Central time. Fans can catch the game on SECN+ and ESPN. 

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