LEXINGTON, Ky. (4/18/13) – The No. 17 University of Kentucky softball team scored five or more runs in an inning three times, including a six-run second inning in game two, to sweep its doubleheader against Middle Tennessee State University on Wednesday with a 7-4 victory in game one and 13-1 triumph in game two. Both games were played at Blue Raider Softball Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Home runs led Kentucky (33-12, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) in game two as the Wildcats blasted five home runs to break the school record for most homers in a game. Sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner started the home run assault, blasting a leadoff shot in the second inning before junior infielder Krystal Smith hit a two-run homer later that inning. Junior pitcher/infielder Lauren Cumbess hit a two-run home run in the third inning before freshman infielder Ansley Smith hit consecutive two-run round-trippers in the third and fourth innings to tie and break the school record.
In all, the Wildcats posted 15 hits in the game, including three doubles and 12 RBI. Cumbess, senior Alice O’Brien, Joiner and Ansley Smith each had multi-hit games with Cumbess going 2-for-4 with two RBI, extending her hitting streak to a career-best 11 games. Joiner was 3-for-3 with three RBI, while Ansley Smith went 2-for-2 with four RBI and two runs scored. O’Brien, who was playing in her hometown for the first time collegiately, went 2-for-3.
Freshmen Christian Stokes, Kelsey Nunley and Sylver Samuel each had hits in the game as did Sarah Frazer and Emily Gaines.
Freshman pitcher Katie Henderson led Kentucky in the circle in game two, throwing a complete game, allowing one earned run on five hits with two strikeouts. The native of Chattanooga, Tenn., is now 3-1 on the year.
MTSU started the scoring in game two by getting a RBI single to left field to Laura Dukes to score Kayla Toney, who started the rally with a double to left-centerfield. Henderson got out of the jam with a strikeout and groundout.
The Blue Raiders didn’t have the lead for long as Joiner blasted a leadoff home run in the top of the second inning to tie the game at 1-1. The rally continued as junior Ginny Carroll was walked on four pitches, bringing up Krystal Smith, who drilled her second home run of the season to left-centerfield to give UK a 3-1 lead. Samuel then reached on a fielder’s choice, stealing second and scoring when Stokes hit a double off the wall in centerfield, later scoring when Cumbess reached on a double. O’Brien then singled to right field to put runners on the corners for Joiner, who collected her second hit of the inning to drive in Cumbess and give Kentucky a 6-1 lead.
Kentucky got five more runs in the third inning on a two-out rally. After back-to-back groundouts to start the inning, Samuel hit an infield single, scoring on a two-run home run by Ansley Smith to give Kentucky a 8-1 lead. After a walk to Stokes and a Blue Raider pitching change, Cumbess hammered her 10th home run of the game to give Kentucky a 10-1 lead. Cumbess was pinch ran for by Kara Howard, who scored on the RBI double by Joiner. A fly out to right field ended the rally with UK up 11-1.
Ansley Smith moved Kentucky’s lead to 13-1 in the fourth inning with her second two-run home run of the game. The inning started with a single by Frazer, who scored when Ansley blasted her third home run of the season to left field .
Kentucky moved it up to No. 17 in both the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 and ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 on Tuesday. Last week, the Wildcats were 18th in the USA Today/NFCA poll and 19th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Kentucky currently sits seventh in the NCAA.com RPI listings, which is its highest mark in school history. UK has posted seven wins against teams currently ranked or receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, while it has 11 wins against teams ranked or receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA poll.
Lawson and Co. have played one of the toughest schedules in the country, having played 33 games against top 100 teams in the NCAA RPI rankings. The Wildcats have played 21 games against teams currently ranked or receiving votes in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 and 17 games against teams in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25. UK has 10 games left with teams in those rankings, including one against No. 8/8 Louisville, and three-game sets against No. 11/12 Missouri, No. 4/6 Alabama and Arkansas, who is receiving votes in both.
After the doubleheader, Kentucky will continue the road trip west as it heads to Fayetteville, Ark., for a three-game set with Arkansas, who is receiving votes in both collegiate softball polls after winning its series against top-10 ranked Missouri last weekend. Game one Friday is set for a 7 p.m. ET first pitch, followed by a 1 p.m. ET start on Saturday and 2 p.m. ET start on Sunday. Live stats from all three games will be available on UKathletics.com.
Information provided by Wes Crane
Photo provided by SurfKY Graphics
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