Nunley, Hinz Post First Career RBI to Pace Softball to Split
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Junior pitcher Kelsey Nunley picked up her first win of the season with six dominating innings in the circle against Georgia Southern, while freshman outfielder Brooklin Hinz had a three-hit day, including the first RBI of her young career, pacing Kentucky to a doubleheader split on Saturday at the Renegade Classic.
Kentucky (2-1) started the day with a 3-2 loss against No. 5 Florida State, falling to 2014 USA Softball Player of the Year Lacey Waldrop in the circle. The Wildcats answered against Georgia Southern, posting nine runs on 14 hits for a convincing 9-0 run-rule victory. UK will conclude play in the Renegade Classic on Sunday with a 10 a.m. ET battle against GSU before a 12:30 p.m. ET game against FSU.
UK allowed only two earned runs over 12 innings, getting strong pitching performances from Nunley and sophomore pitcher Meagan Prince. Nunley went six innings against GSU, who won the 2014 SoCon Regular Season Championship, allowing only one hit and one walk with seven strikeouts. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., ended the game by retiring 15 straight GSU batters. The junior is now 1-0 on the year and has 58 career wins in the circle, which ranks second most in program history.
Prince started against the highly ranked Seminoles and pitched well, allowing three runs - two earned - on seven hits with seven strikeouts. The loss for the native of Martin, Tenn., moves her to 1-1 on the season with a 1.62 ERA. Prince won Kentucky's season opener vs. Florida A&M on Thursday with seven strong innings in the circle, including a career-best 11 strikeouts.
Offensively, Hinz and senior catcher Griffin Joiner each had three hits and a pair of RBI. Hinz, a true freshman from Olathe, Kan., went 3-for-6 on the day with the first two RBI of her career, while Joiner also went 3-for-6 with two RBI, adding a double and a triple. The native of Hopkinsville, Ky., is the first UK player with two extra-base hits in the same game since Krystal Smith accomplished the feat in last year's Women's College World Series.
Five other Wildcats posted RBI in the game, including Nunley, who went 1-for-5 on the day with two RBI - the first two RBI of her career. Sophomore Breanne Ray added her second pinch-hit RBI single of the season, while juniors Sylver Samuel and Nikki Sagermann each had three hits and an RBI. Junior infielder Ansley Smith had two hits and an RBI, while fellow juniors Maisie Steed and Christian Stokes added singles.
Florida State's Waldrop showed why she earned player of the year honors last season in the day's first game, tossing seven innings, allowing two runs - none earned - on four hits with 12 strikeouts and one walk allowed. Waldrop had a stretch of retiring 14 straight Wildcat batters in the game before a furious rally by UK in the top of the seventh inning.
The rally started with a walk to Joiner before Hinz singled to put two runners on base. After the second out of the inning on a strikeout, senior outfielder Kara Howard reached on an error that allowed UK to cut the lead to 3-1. Smith followed with a single to rightfield to cut the lead to 3-2 before Waldrop got Stokes out to end the game.
Kentucky jumped on top early in the day's second game, posting three runs on Georgia Southern's Kierra Camp in the first inning. Camp went 4.1 innings in the game, allowing five runs - all earned - on eight hits with three strikeouts. She gave way in the fifth inning to Maria Thompson, who pitched the final two outs of the fifth and the first out of the sixth, allowing four runs - all earned - on six hits with one walk. Thompson allowed three runs in the bottom of the sixth, including a two-run double by Joiner that ended the game.
For the latest on UK softball, follow @UKSoftball on Twitter and Instagram or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.
Kentucky - 2-1
Florida State - 2-0
Georgia Southern - 0-2
Kentucky - No. 7 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 6 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25
Florida State - No. 5 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 5 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25
Georgia Southern - not ranked
Thursday, Feb. 5
Kentucky def. Florida A&M 4-2
Saturday, Feb. 7
Florida State def. Kentucky 3-2
Kentucky def. Georgia Southern 9-0 (6)
Sunday, Feb. 8
Kentucky vs. Georgia Southern - 10 a.m. ET
Kentucky at Florida State - 12:30 p.m. ET