Nunley, Joiner Power No. 6 Softball Past No. 5 Florida State
UK-FSU Box Score | UK-GSU Box Score | Season Stats (PDF)
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - University of Kentucky senior catcher Griffin Joiner lifted an 0-2 pitch to the wall in rightfield with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning, scoring three runs, while junior pitcher Kelsey Nunley tossed seven strong frames with only two hits allowed, propelling the Wildcats to a 3-1 victory over No. 5 Florida State on Sunday at JoAnne Graf Field on the final day of the Renegade Classic.
The win for Kentucky (4-1) came after the Wildcats earned a dominating 10-0, six-inning victory over Georgia Southern earlier in the day. Kentucky's victory over FSU was the 56th for head coach Rachel Lawson over a top-25 team, including her 31st over a top-10 team and 16th over a top-five team. The top-five victory for Kentucky is its first since taking down No. 3 UCLA twice last season in the NCAA Los Angeles Super Regional. Kentucky has defeated a top-10 team each of the last seven seasons under Lawson's direction.
The victory concludes a successful first weekend for Kentucky, who on top of defeating highly ranked FSU, took down Georgia Southern - the 2014 SoCon Regular Season Champions - twice and one victory over Florida A&M - the 2014 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament Champions. In each of the last two seasons the Wildcats have posted a win in the opening weekend of the year over a Women's College World Series participant from the previous season. Last season, the Wildcats defeated Oklahoma in the season's opening weekend, who was the defending national champions. Kentucky
Joiner provided all the offense Kentucky needed against the Seminoles, making the most of her lone hit by belting a bases-clearing double to the wall in rightfield to put the Wildcats on top 3-1. The inning started with a leadoff single by senior outfielder Kara Howard, who moved to second on a passed ball and to third when junior Sylver Samuel reached on an error. After junior Nikki Sagermann walked to load the bases, Joiner scorched a 0-2 pitch over the rightfielder's head.
Nunley made sure the three runs were all Kentucky needed to win, tossing seven brilliant innings in the circle. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., allowed just two hits and one run - none earned - with four walks and three strikeouts. The victory moved Nunley to 2-0 on the season in 13 innings pitched with a 0.00 ERA and opponents hitting just .070 against her.
Florida State tossed Jessica Burroughs in the circle, who went seven innings, allowing three runs - none earned - on three hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Burroughs moves to 1-1 on the season. Offensively, Bailey Schinella went 1-for-2 with an RBI and a walk, while Morgan Klaevemann went 1-for-3 with a run scored. The loss marks only the third time in the last two seasons that FSU has dropped a home game.
The Wildcats run ruled Georgia Southern for the second day in a row in Sunday's first game, getting strong pitching from sophomores Shannon Smith and Meagan Prince, while Joiner, junior Christian Stokes and freshman Brooklin Hinz each had multi-RBI games. Joiner went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run, while Hinz was 2-for-4 with two RBI and Stokes was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Samuel went 1-for-4 against GSU with a run scored, while Sagermann was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and junior Maisie Steed was 1-for-2 with a run scored and a RBI.
Smith started the game for Kentucky in the circle, going three hitless innings with two strikeouts and three walks allowed. Prince came in to start the fourth inning and allowed two hits with four strikeouts to pick up the win. Smith received a no-decision in the game, while Prince got the win to move to 2-1 on the year with a 1.31 ERA.
Kentucky will return to action next weekend when it travels to Kennesaw, Ga., to play five games in three days in the Phyllis Rafter Memorial Invitational. All five games will be played at Bailey Park on the campus of Kennesaw State University. UK will play Southern Illinois and Morehead State on Friday and Kennesaw State and IUPUI on Saturday. Sunday will be a bracketed game based on previous results.
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