LONG BEACH, Calif. – University of Kentucky sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley tossed the first no-hitter of her collegiate career, while the Wildcat offense had a great day at the dish with 16 runs scored on 20 hits, including seven doubles, one triple and three home runs, en route to a 6-0 victory over Santa Clara and 10-0 victory over Long Beach State on Thursday at the 49er Softball Complex in Long Beach, Calif.
Kentucky (2-0) continues its West Coast swing Friday when it travels to Cal State Fullerton to play a doubleheader at Anderson Family Field against Loyola Marymount at 1:30 p.m. ET and No.2/2 Oklahoma at 6:30 p.m. ET. The weekend concludes back in Long Beach with a Noon ET game vs. George Washington. Live stats from every game will be available online at UKathletics.com.
Kelsey Nunley was the story vs. Santa Clara, throwing her first career collegiate no-hitter. The no-hit bid was the 10th in school history for Kentucky and the first since Katie Henderson last season vs. North Carolina.
Nunley was flawless in the game with seven scoreless innings, striking out a career-best 11 batters en route to the win. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., only allowed two base runners the entire game hitting two batters. After a hit-by-pitch in the first inning, Nunley retired 15 straight batters to sail to the victory.
The UK offense provided Nunley all the support she needed against Santa Clara with six runs on 10 hits, including a two-homer game from Joiner. The junior catcher ended the game 2-for-2 with two bombs and three RBI, tying the school record for most homers in a game. The star also had two homers against North Carolina last season.
Sophomore shortstop Christian Stokes went 3-for-4 against the Broncos with two doubles, one triple and one RBI, while senior outfielder Emily Gaines also had a multi-hit game going 2-for-2 with an RBI. Fellow senior Emily Jolly and sophomore Ansley Smith each had a double and an RBI, while senior Lauren Cumbess had a double and run scored.
Kentucky started its scoring against Santa Clara with two runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Doubles got things going in the fourth inning as Jolly doubled to rightfield and later scored when Ansley Smith doubled to leftfield to give UK a lead it did not relinquish. Stokes gave UK the 2-0 lead with her second double of the game, scoring Ansley Smith.
In the fifth inning, Joiner started the scoring with a home run to rightfield, followed by a Cumbess double. Cumbess was then pinch ran for by senior Sarah Frazer, who came home to score when Gaines singled to rightfield.
The Wildcats put the game away in the sixth inning behind a two-run homer by Joiner. The inning started with a one-out triple by Stokes to leftfield and after a flyout for the second out, Joiner hammered a homer to leftfield to put the Wildcats up 6-0.
Pitching was again strong in game two Thursday as Cumbess dominated in the circle against Long Beach State, going five scoreless innings with only four hits allowed and four strikeouts. The senior allowed a base runner in the first and second innings before only allowing one more base runner the remainder of the game.
The UK offense was impressive against the 49ers, recording 10 runs on 10 hits with two doubles and a home run. Nine of the 10 UK batters that came to the plate against LBSU recorded a hit with Ansley Smith belting her first home run of the season and Steed and Stokes each recording doubles. Steed had the lone multi-hit game going 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored, while Stokes and Ansley Smith each recorded two RBI as well.
Kentucky scored first against Long Beach State on a two-run homer from Ansley Smith in the third inning. The frame started with a one-out double by Steed to centerfield before a sharp groundout by Stokes for the second out. Ansley Smith then delivered on her first homer of the season and fourth of her career down the leftfield line, putting UK on top 2-0. Joiner walked and Cumbess singled to continue the rally for Sagermann, who flied out to leftfield to end the inning.
The Wildcats blew the game open with five runs on four hits in the fourth inning. Ginny Carroll started the rally with a single up the middle, followed by a bunt by Jolly that LBSU’s catcher fielded and threw to second base late to keep runners on first and second. Samuel then had a bunt single to load the bases for Steed, who reached on an error to score two runs and put UK up 4-0. With runners at second and third and no outs, Stokes hammered a double down the leftfield line to give UK a 6-0 lead. Joiner added to the runs column with a sacrifice fly to centerfield to put UK up 7-0. A groundout and pop up ended the inning.
UK loaded the bases with no outs again in the fifth inning after a leadoff walk to Carroll and singles by Jolly and Krystal Smith. Steed then plated two runs with a double to the wall in rightfield putting two on for Stokes, who walked and advanced to second when Steed was picked off trying to steal home. After Ansley Smith grounded out, Joiner grounded out to end the frame with UK up 10-0.
The five-game West Coast swing is part of a 15-game road trip to begin the season for UK, including trips to Austin, Texas and Boca Raton, Fla., in the coming weeks. The road trip will be countered by a 14-game home stretch later in the season at John Cropp Stadium.
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