LEXINGTON, Ky. – Behind home runs from sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner and junior pitcher/infielder Lauren Cumbess, as well as a 3-for-4 night at the plate by junior outfielder Ginny Carroll, the No. 20/21 University of Kentucky softball team posted a 8-1 victory over Lipscomb at Draper Diamond in Nashville on Wednesday night.
Joiner was impressive in the game, going 2-for-3 with both hits being extra-base hits. The native of Hopkinsville, Ky., started her solid game at the dish with a home run to leftfield – her team-best eighth home run of the season – while she continued her strong game in her next at-bat with a RBI double off the wall in rightfield. Joiner now has a team-best 28 RBI on the year with a .337 average.
Cumbess added the insurance runs for Kentucky with her two-run roundtripper in the fifth inning, giving the Wildcats a four-run lead. Cumbess ended the game 2-for-4 with two RBI. The native of Normal, Ill., is now hitting .350 this season, with four homers and 22 RBI.
Carroll was also strong offensive, going 3-for-4 with three singles and two RBI, while freshman infielder Christian Stokes had two singles in the game. Pinch hitter Emily Gaines hit a sacrifice fly to collect an RBI in the sixth inning.
True freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley got the win in the game, going the final five innings, allowing two hits and no runs with five strikeouts. Nunley is now 15-3 on the year with a 1.83 ERA, striking out 101 in 123.1 innings pitched.
Junior pitcher Ellen Weaver got the start for Kentucky, making her first pitching performance since a short outing against Western Michigan on March 3. Weaver threw the first two innings of the game, allowing one run on one hit with two strikeouts.
Lipscomb scored first with a single run in the second inning. The inning started with Weaver getting a strikeout, followed by a double to right-centerfield by Gracey Aguirre. Mickey Bell then laid down a sacrifice bunt that was fielded by Steed, who threw wildly to first, allowing Aguirre to score and Bell to reach first safely. Weaver got out of the inning with a popups to leftfield and shortstop.
Kentucky (24-8) took the lead in the top of the fourth inning. Joiner started the rally with a leadoff home run to leftfield that easily cleared the wall. The rally continued as Stokes singled to rightfield, advancing to second on a groundout by Cumbess. Stokes came home to score when freshman Nikki Sagermann singled to left-centefield to give UK the 2-1 lead.
The Wildcats got three runs in the fifth inning to take a commanding lead. The inning started with a leadoff walk by Steed, who advanced to second on a groundout and later scored when Joiner laced a double to rightfield. After a groundout advanced Joiner to third, Cumbess laced a home run over the right-centerfield fence to give Kentucky a 5-1 lead.
Kentucky put another insurance run on the board in the sixth inning. Carroll started the inning with a single through the leftside and was pinch ran for by Darington Richardson, who moved to second on a stolen base and third when the Lipscomb catcher threw the ball into centerfield. Richardson then came home to score on a sacrifice fly by Gaines. A strikeout and lineout ended the inning.
UK loaded the bases in the seventh inning after a walk to Joiner, single by Stokes and single by Cumbess. After a strikeout, Carroll continued her strong night with a two-run single to leftfield to give UK a 8-1 lead.
The Wildcats will be in action again on Friday when they return to the UK Softball Complex for a matchup with Tennessee on at 5 p.m. ET. The single-game set will not count towards Southeastern Conference standings. The Wildcats will hit the road for six straight following Friday’s contest before returning home for a three-game set with highly ranked Florida beginning Friday, April 12 at 6 p.m. ET.
Lipscomb won the lone meeting between the two schools, defeating UK 3-0 in a neutral site game in 2010.
Kentucky will play host to the SEC Tournament this season for the first time in school history. The event, which is considered one of the most prestigious softball tournaments in the nation, will be May 8-11 in Lexington. The championship game will be featured on ESPN2, while all other games will be shown on ESPNU.
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