Prince’s Gem, Ray’s Clutch Hits Lift Kentucky to Series Win

Box Score (PDF)

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In front of a national television audience, junior pitcher Meagan Prince threw a complete game gem and outfielder Breanne Ray had two clutch hits in the early innings as the No. 15 Kentucky softball team picked up its second win in a row over South Carolina to claim the first Southeastern Conference series win of the season.

With the win, Kentucky moves to 21-3 on the season as its best start in program history rolls on. The Wildcats are now 2-0 in SEC play and Prince, who was sensational again in the circle, moves to 9-0 on the season.

Prince threw all seven innings of the game, only allowing six hits, one run – which was not earned – one walk and two strikeouts. The Martin, Tenn., native threw 91 pitches, and saw her ERA dip below two for the first time all season, as her season ERA us now 1.66.

Outfielder Breanne Ray had two clutch hits on the day, scoring an RBI single in the first inning and an RBI single in the third inning to move the needle of the game in Kentucky’s favor. The two RBIs are her third and fourth on the season for the junior.

Kentucky and South Carolina will wrap up its three-game set on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET from Beckham Field in Columbia. The game will be shown live on the SEC Network, WatchESPN and ESPN3 with Cara Capuano and Cheri Kempf on the call.  

Key Stat

Three. Kentucky scored three runs in the first inning of Saturday’s game, to once again get ahead of the Gamecocks early in the contest. UK now has a 20-0 record when scoring first this season, and has scored in the first inning 16 times this season.

Key Play

Junior outfielder Breanne Ray brought around the winning run in the top of the first inning as she laced a single to the right fielder, who struggled locating the ball once it hit the ground, allowing Nikki Sagermann to score from first. Reed’s run was the eventual game-winning run as that hit would serve as the first of two RBI hits for Ray on the day.

Key Player

Meagan Prince was the key player in Saturday’s win, going the distance on just 91 pitches while not allowing an earned run. Prince is now 9-0 on the season and has pitched at least six innings in the last seven of her starts.

Run Recap

Katie Reed singled to the left side with one out in the top of the first inning to kick start the Kentucky offense. Nikki Sagermann drew a walk to put runners on first and second as Sagermann drew her third walk of the series to lead off her day. Sophomore Brooklin Hinz singled up the middle to score Katie Reed from second, as Hinz scampered to second on the throw. With one out and runners on second and third, Breanne Ray laced an RBI single to the left side to score Sagermann and Hinz on a throwing error. UK 3, USC 0

In the top of the third inning, Ray led the UK attack with a two-out single to right and advanced to second on the throw, scoring Christian Stokes from first on great baserunning. Then, freshman catcher Jenny Schaper doubled to the wall in left center to score Ray and put Kentucky up 5-0. UK 5, USC 0

South Carolina scored its only run of the game in the bottom of the third after the Gamecocks had the bases loaded with no outs to start the rally. The Gamecocks only got one run in the inning on a fielding error by the Wildcats with Prince getting the strikeout and groundouts necessary to end the inning. FINAL – No. 15 Kentucky 5, South Carolina 1

For the latest on the Kentucky softball team, follow @UKSoftball on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.