After a sometimes bumpy regular season and less-than-stellar showing in the SEC Tournament, Coach Rachel Lawson’s softball Cats were ready for the real post-season to begin. Entering the tournament with a #14 national seed, UK could erase memories of the SEC tourney with 3 victories this weekend which would allow them to advance to the Super Regionals. But first things first; the Cats had to win their opener versus DePaul.
Kentucky was definitely ready to get their post-season started and came out firing on all cylinders. Any concerns there may have been about the Cats getting tight after having waited and hour and a half past their expected start time were immediately eliminated as they scored 5 runs in the first inning. The first run was perhaps the most surprising, at least for DePaul. Katie Reed walked, and then sacrifice bunt by Bailey Vick advanced Reed to 2nd. Brooklin Hinz walked and Abbey Cheek came to the plate with runners on 1st and 2nd.
Cheek managed to just get her bat on the ball, landing just a few feet in front of DePaul’s catcher, Jessica Cothern. By the time Cothern had fielded the ball, Reed had already made her way to 3rd, so the throw was made to 1st. Cheek beat the throw and while DePaul’s first basemen seemed to disagree with the call, Reed came home and Hinz and Cheek advanced. This interesting set of events resulted in no errors on DePaul (I guess we’ll just have to call it a fielder’s choice, with the “choice” being to stand in one spot and never throw the ball).
From that point forward, DePaul settled down and the Cats cooled down somewhat and the score held steady at 5-0 until the bottom of the 5th inning. Alex Martens hit a double down the right field line allowing Abbey Cheek to score and brought the Cats’ total to 6.
We're reached the end of the fifth at a jam-packed John Cropp Stadium.
Kentucky in front. pic.twitter.com/9PDJIGEJ4o
— Kentucky Softball (@UKsoftball) May 19, 2017
Kentucky’s Meagan Prince pitched 6 innings, allowing only 2 hits and 1 walk while striking out 5. Offensively, the Cats had 8 hits, 3 of which were doubles to go along with 3 stolen bases. Alex Martens and Jenny Schaper led the team with 2 RBIs each.
With the win in this double-elimination regional, the Cats will meet the winner from game 1, Illinois, who defeated Marshall University 3-2 in 12 innings. Should Kentucky win the matchup with Illinois, they will advance to the regional final on Sunday.
Next game: Illinois, Saturday 12:00 p.m.
If the Cats beat Illinois, their next game will be Sunday at noon. Should they lose to Illinois, they will play again at 5:00 p.m. Saturday in an elimination game.
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