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No. 15 softball drops home opener vs. Ole Miss 3-1

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 15 University of Kentucky softball team could not find its groove offensively as Ole Miss starting pitcher Carly Hummel limited the Wildcats to one run on four hits, helping the Rebels post a 3-1 series-opening win on Friday in the first-ever game at the new UK Softball Complex. The series will continue Saturday with a 1 p.m. ET first pitch. Live stats and live video (subscription required) will be available on UKathletics.com.

Hummel, who improves to 7-4 on the year, threw seven strong innings in the game, allowing only one earned run on a solo homer in the seventh inning by UK second baseman Christian Stokes. Stokes was the leader offensively for Kentucky, going 2-for-3 with her first home run of the season – also the first UK homer in the new stadium. Junior pitcher/infielder Lauren Cumbess went 1-for-3 in the game with a single, while junior designated player Emily Gaines went 1-for-2.

True freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley suffered the loss in the game, her first of the season, moving her overall record to 10-1. Nunley scattered eight hits, allowing three runs – all earned – with seven strikeouts. Ole Miss first baseman Londen Ladner and second baseman Melina Preciado each collected two hits, while preseason All-Southeastern Conference performer RT Cantillo went 1-for-2 with her fourth homer of the season. Ladner and third baseman Allison Brown each recorded an RBI.

The loss for Kentucky (16-4) snaps an eight-game winning streak, which tied the best winning streak in school history. UK’s 16 wins tie the most ever by a team in its first 20 games in school annuals. Ole Miss (17-9) has now won four consecutive games, including 13 of its last 14. The Rebels lead the all-time series 27-16, including a 12-8 mark in Lexington.

Ole Miss got on the board first behind the fourth home run of the season from Cantillo. After Nunley got Haley Culley to strikeout to start the inning, Cantillo came to the plate and hammered a ball deep over the wall in right-centerfield to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead. Nunley got a foul out and groundout to end the frame.

The Rebels increased their lead to 3-0 in the top of the fifth inning on two hits and a UK error. Culley singled to start the inning, advancing to second on the throwing error by third baseman Krystal Smith. Culley then moved to third on the sacrifice bunt by Cantillo before coming home to score when Brittany Broome singled just past the outstretched glove of Stokes at second base. After Nunley walked Brown, Ladner hit a double off the wall in centerfield, scoring the second run of the inning. UK got a strikeout and a fly out to end the inning.

The scored stayed 3-0 until the bottom of the seventh inning. UK centerfielder Emily Jolly started the inning with a deep fly to centerfield that was caught on the warning track for the first out. Stokes then scored the Wildcats lone run of the game, blasting a one-out laser over the right-centerfield wall.

The series will conclude with 1 p.m. ET start times on Saturday and Sunday.

For the latest on UK softball, follow "@UKSoftball" on Twitter or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.

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