Stokes' Career Day Leads to Sweep of No. 10 Arizona, LBSU
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – University of Kentucky junior shortstop Christian Stokes went 5-for-5 against Long Beach State to tie the school record for hits in a game, while fellow junior Kelsey Nunley tossed 6.2 strong innings in the circle earlier in the day to defeat No. 10 Arizona, leading the No. 9 Wildcats to a strong opening day performance for Kentucky in the 2015 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
Kentucky (8-2) defeated highly ranked Arizona for the first time in program history to start the day, 5-2. Nunley tossed 6.2 innings in the circle to pick up her third win of the season, while true freshman Erin Rethlake came off the bench to record the final out and pick up her first career save.
The Wildcats earned their third run-rule victory of the season in the nightcap against Long Beach State, taking down the 49ers 13-1 in six innings. Stokes was the star for Kentucky, going 5-for-5 with four RBI and a double to tie the school record for most hits in a game. The school record was held by Beth Fogle, who had five hits against Morehead State in March of 2002.
Kentucky started the day with an impressive win over No. 10 Arizona, marking the second top-10 team the Wildcats have defeated this season. The win was the 57th for Kentucky over a ranked foe under eighth-year head coach Rachel Lawson, including the 32nd over a top-10 team. Kentucky is now 1-2 all-time against Arizona, earning its first win over the storied program. In the last three years, Kentucky has defeated 13 top-10 teams.
Nunley picked up the win in the circle, tossing 6.2 innings with only two earned runs allowed on seven hits and five strikeouts. Nunley was replaced with a runner on and two outs in the seventh inning by true freshman Erin Rethlake, who got shortstop Kellie Fox to groundout to end the threat. The win moves Nunley to 3-0 on the season with a 0.89 ERA in 23.2 innings pitched. Rethlake earned the save in her first collegiate appearance.
Offensively, the Wildcats posted six hits, including a home run and two doubles. Sophomore Breanne Ray started the scoring for Kentucky by blasting her first home run of the season in the second inning to put the Wildcats up 2-0. The roundtripper for Ray was the second of her career and marked the sixth and seventh RBI of the season. Junior infielder Nikki Sagermann went 1-for-4 in the game with a ground-rule RBI double, while freshman Brooklin Hinz also had an RBI double. Junior Maisie Steed, senior Kara Howard and freshman Rachael Metzger also had hits in the game.
Arizona started Trish Parks in the circle with the freshman tossing three innings, allowing four earned runs on four hits with three strikeouts. Parks, who picked up the loss to move to 4-1 on the season, was replaced to start the fourth inning by Siera Phillips, who allowed two hits and one earned run with one strikeout.
The Wildcats scored a season-best 13 runs against Long Beach State after three runs in the first inning, one in the fourth, three in the fifth and six in the sixth inning. Stokes’ five hits and four RBI led the way for Kentucky, while Sagermann went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Ray went 3-for-3 in the game with an RBI and run scored, while Hinz, Steed, Ansley Smith, Sylver Samuel and Nunley each recorded hits.
Prince started in the circle for Kentucky and went 4.1 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Prince earned the win in the game, moving to 4-2 on the year with a 2.76 ERA. Rethlake took over with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning, walking a run in before getting the final five outs of the game to shut the door and seal the UK victory.
LBSU started Christian Carbajal in the circle, who went four innings, allowing four runs – two earned – on eight hits with one strikeout. Carbajal picked up the loss in the circle to move to 2-2 on the year. Lacey Alderman started the fifth inning and went 1.1 innings with six earned runs allowed on five hits, while Sydney Shipley grabbed the final two outs and allowed three earned runs to score on two hits.
Offensively, Lauren Lombardi, Darian Tautalafua and Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi each record hits, while Haley Tobler walked with the bases loaded to post the team’s lone RBI.
Kentucky will return to action 1 p.m. ET on Friday to face LIU Brooklin before battling Oregon State at 3:30 p.m. ET. Live stats from both games will be available online at UKathletics.com.
The Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic is one of the largest and most competitive Division I softball tournaments outside of the NCAA and Southeastern Conference tournament. This year's event features 35 teams, including 18 that made last season's NCAA tournament and three of the eight Women's College World Series teams. The entire tournament is held at Big League Dreams Park across five fields. This is Kentucky’s first year to play in the event.
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