(Photo Courtesy of Kentucky Athletics)
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Another day, another honor for University of Kentucky junior catcher Griffin Joiner as the star has been named the Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I National Player of the Week for her impressive start to the 2014 season, the NFCA announced Tuesday.
Joiner, who was named the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday for the first time in her career, becomes the first Wildcat since Chanda Bell in 2012 to earn Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week honors.
The junior is just the fourth player in program history to earn a national player of the week award, joining Bell, and Megan Yocke and Molly Johnson, who were named USA Softball Player of the Week in 2011 and 2009, respectively.
Joiner had a great start to her junior season by going 10-for-15 last weekend with two doubles, three home runs and nine RBI. The native of Hopkinsville, Ky., earned a .684 on-base percentage and 1.400 slugging percentage to lead Kentucky to a 5-0 record for the first time in school history.
Joiner’s season started in style with a 2-for-2 performance with two home runs and three RBI in UK’s season opener vs. Santa Clara, followed by a 4-for-4 game against Loyola Marymount with her first career grand slam and five RBI. Joiner, who started the year on a five-game hitting streak, has recorded an RBI and an extra-base hit in three of UK’s five games this season.
A 2014 Preseason All-SEC honoree, Joiner is a career .316 hitter with 17 home runs, which ranks tied for the eighth most homers all-time in school history. In 2013, Joiner had 14 doubles and 41 RBI, which ranks tied for fifth and seventh respectively on UK’s single-season records list. The 2013 All-SEC Second Team and All-Defensive Team honoree has started every game during her UK career with a 127 career starts.
Kentucky is coming off a great opening weekend where it won all five games it played to post a school-best record of 5-0. UK’s biggest win came against No. 2 Oklahoma, tying the highest-ranked foe UK has ever defeated. The Wildcats also took down Santa Clara, Long Beach State, Loyola Marymount and George Washington.
Earlier Tuesday, Kentucky earned its highest ranking in school history sitting at No. 7 in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and No. 9 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25. The ranking marked the 17th consecutive week UK has been ranked inside the top 25, which ties the longest streak in program history.
The Wildcats will continue their 15-game road trip to start the season this weekend in Austin, Texas. The five-game, three-day tournament begins Friday against Louisiana Tech at 11 a.m. ET and No. 15/16 Texas at 5 p.m. ET. Live stats from every game will be available on UKathletics.com, while every game will be broadcast live on the Longhorn Network. Check local listings for channel information.