LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky sophomore infielder Christian Stokes went 4-for-4 at the plate, including her fourth home run of the season and two runs batted in, while fellow sophomore infielder Nikki Sagermann hit her fifth home run in five games, pacing No. 9 Kentucky to an exciting 11-8 victory over WKU on Tuesday at the WKU Softball Complex in Bowling Green, Ky.
The win for Kentucky (39-9) is its 39th of the season, which breaks the record for the most regular-season wins in school history. The 2013 team won 38 regular-season games en route to a program-best 41 total wins. UK will look to increase its win total this weekend vs. No. 8 Tennessee. The series will be the final regular-season home games for UK and starts with a 6 p.m. ET first pitch on Friday, followed by a 5 p.m. ET start on Saturday and 2 p.m. ET series finale on Sunday.
The Wildcats fell behind the Hilltoppers 2-0 after the first inning, but responded with nine runs over the next three innings to take a commanding 9-2 lead. WKU (31-16-1) did not go down without a fight, scoring two runs in the fifth and four runs in the sixth to cut Kentucky’s lead to one run, before UK’s offense posted two runs in the top of the seventh and sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley threw a 1-2-3 seventh inning to seal the victory.
Offensively, Kentucky was paced by four Wildcats earning multi-hit games, including a career-best four hits from Stokes. The native of Chesterfield, S.C., homered on the first pitch she saw in the contest, before two singles and an RBI double to end the game with two RBI and three runs scored. Junior catcher Griffin Joiner went 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Sagermann hit her team-best 11th home run in a 2-for-4 game with two RBI. Senior Lauren Cumbess went 2-for-4 in the game with two singles, while fellow senior Emily Jolly had a hit, RBI and three runs scored. Sophomore infielder Ansley Smith had a hit and RBI, while utility player Maisie Steed had a hit and RBI in her lone at-bat.
Nunley started the game in the circle, tossing the first five innings, giving up four runs – all earned – on eight hits with four strikeouts. She was replaced to start the sixth inning by freshman Meagan Prince, who allowed four earned runs on three hits with one strikeout. Nunley came back on to pitch a perfect seventh inning to gather her team-best 20th win of the season. Nunley is the only pitcher in school history to win 20 games in a season, accomplishing the feat in each of her first two seasons with UK.
WKU started Emily Rousseau in the circle with the senior throwing four innings, allowing nine runs – eight earned – on 11 hits with five strikeouts. Freshman Hannah Miniard came on in relief to throw three innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits with a strikeout. Rousseau got the loss, moving to 16-12 on the season.
At the plate, WKU was paced by a three-run home run from designated player Kaylan Davis, while Amanda Thomas was 3-for-4 with an RBI and Kelsie Mattow had two hits and an RBI.