LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 11 University of Louisville softball team posted three runs in the second inning to grab a 3-0 lead and rode a strong pitching performance from junior hurler Caralisa Connell to defeat the No. 20 University of Kentucky softball team 5-1 on Wednesday at Ulmer Stadium in Louisville, Ky.
Kentucky (24-10) will return to Southeastern Conference action by traveling to South Carolina for a three-game series beginning Friday. First pitch Friday is set for 7 p.m. ET, followed by a 4 p.m. ET first pitch on Saturday and a 1 p.m. ET start on Sunday.
After the series, UK will return to Lexington to face Marshall on Tuesday, April 9 in a rescheduled game from an earlier rainout before a doubleheader at Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday, April 10. UK has a big weekend planned on April 12-14 vs. Florida as it will officially open the newly constructed UK Softball Complex. The weekend will feature numerous promotions to introduce UK fans to the new facility. Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for more information on the weekend’s events. Admission to all games is free of charge.
Junior pitcher Lauren Cumbess started in the circle for Kentucky, throwing two innings, allowing two hits and three runs – all earned – with one strikeout. She was relieved to start the third inning by freshman Kelsey Nunley, who threw the final four innings of the game, allowing two earned runs on three hits with two strikeouts. Cumbess received the loss, falling to 6-3 on the year.
The Wildcats were led offensively by junior Krystal Smith, who drove home the lone Wildcat run with her second double of the season. The run was scored in the top of the sixth inning after freshman Sylver Samuel reached on an infield single, moving to second on a throwing error by the first baseman. After a groundout moves Samuel to third, Smith laced a double to right-centerfield to cut the Louisville lead to 5-1.
Connell was impressive in the circle for Louisville (29-6), throwing a complete game two-hitter, while striking out four UK batters. Connell, who earned the win to move to 19-2 on the year, kept the Wildcats hitless for five innings before Samuel and Smith got the rally started in the sixth. Kayla Soles led the U of L offensive attack, going 1-for-3 with a three-run homer. Senior Alicja Wolny and junior Hannah Kiyohara each had an RBI in the game.
The Cardinals took the lead first in the game, getting a three-run home run from Soles, her third homer of the season. The inning started with Cumbess getting a lineout to center, followed by a hit batter and a walk, setting the stage for Soles, who hammered a line drive over the wall in leftfield. Whitney Arion followed with a double to right-centerfield before Jasmine Smithson-Willett reached on a fielder’s choice to put runners on first and second with one out. Katie Keller then hit a soft popup to shallow centerfield that went off the UK second baseman’s glove but right to centerfielder Emily Jolly, who threw to third for a force out. Cumbess then got a groundout to end the inning.
Louisville posted two more runs in the fifth inning to increase its lead. Jordan Trimble started the inning with an infield single, followed by a triple to right-centerfield by Wolny, who was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a grounder by Maggie Ruckenbrod. After a groundout for the second out, Kiyohara singled to rightfield, scoring Ruckenbrod to give U of L a 5-0 lead. Nunley got a strikeout to end the inning.
Louisville leads the all-time series against Kentucky 18-13, including a 9-7 edge in the series in Louisville. The Cardinals have won eight straight home games in the series dating back to 2007, including two last season. U of L leads the all-time series in games played in Lexington 6-9. UK has played more games against Louisville than any other non-SEC team in school history.
Wednesday’s game was the first of two scheduled games this season between Kentucky and Louisville. The Cardinals will travel to Lexington on Wednesday, April 24 for a 6 p.m. ET first pitch.
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