Cumbess, Jolly Homer as Softball Claims Home Opener vs. Butler
Feb. 28, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky senior outfielder Emily Jolly launched a two-run home run in the second inning, while senior pitcher/infielder Lauren Cumbess hammered a solo homer in the third inning, propelling No. 8 Kentucky to a 9-7 victory over Butler in its home opener on Friday at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Ky.
The game was played as part of the UK Tournament, which will feature seven games over three days in round-robin format. The UK-Butler game was the first game of the tournament with EKU and Pittsburgh joining the action Saturday and Sunday. Butler will start Saturday with an 11 a.m. battle against Pittsburgh, before a 1 p.m. game against EKU. Kentucky will then play back-to-back games Saturday afternoon against Pittsburgh and EKU starting at 3 p.m. Pittsburgh and EKU start the schedule Sunday with a Noon first pitch, before Kentucky and Pittsburgh end the tournament with a 2 p.m. contest.
Admission to every game this weekend at John Cropp Stadium is free of charge, while live stats of every game will be available online at UKathletics.com. Live video (subscription required) is available for UK games only.
The win was the 300th of head coach Rachel Lawson's career. Lawson, who is the winningest head coach in school history with 208 wins, has a 300-240 career record in her 10 seasons as a head coach (seven at Kentucky, three at WKU.) Lawson became the winningest head coach in UK history last season and posted win No. 200 of her UK tenure two weeks ago vs. Louisiana Tech.
Kentucky (14-2) was led offensively by Cumbess, who recorded her fifth multiple-hit game of the season, going 2-for-4 with her second home run of the year. Jolly's home run was a two-run shot in the second inning as the senior finished the game 1-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored. Sophomore outfielder Darington Richardson had a two-RBI triple in the game, while speedy outfielder Sylver Samuel had a hit and a run scored. Senior outfielders Ginny Carroll and Emily Gaines each had hits in the game, while junior catcher Griffin Joiner went 1-for-3. Senior Sarah Frazer went 0-for-3 in the game, but collected her first career RBI.
Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley started the game in the circle for UK, throwing 3.2 innings with three runs allowed - none earned - on three hits with four strikeouts, before being removed in the fourth with the bases loaded for freshman hurler Meagan Prince. Prince received the win in the game, throwing the final 3.1 innings pitched with four runs allowed - two earned - on four hits with five strikeouts. The win moves Prince to 3-0 on the season.
Butler (4-10) tossed three different pitchers in the game, starting with Leah Bry, who went two innings, allowing five earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts for the loss. Allie Tarrant threw 0.2 innings, giving up three earned runs on two hits, while Kacey Starwalt tossed the final 3.1 innings only allowing one run with a strikeout.
Offensively, Butler got a multiple-hit game from Alex Kotter, who finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Maria Leichty posted the only other RBI for Butler.
Kentucky started the scoring in the second inning, getting four runs on three hits and a Butler error. Back-to-back one-out singles from Gaines and Samuel started the rally before Carroll walked to load the bases. After a wild pitch and a throwing error on the catcher allowed two runners to score, Jolly hammered a home run over the scoreboard in leftfield to put UK up 4-0.
The Wildcats posted four more runs in the third inning to take complete control of the game. Cumbess started the rally with a home run to centerfield, followed by back-to-back walks and a two-run triple by Richardson to put UK up 6-0. Frazer grounded out to score Richardson from third and give UK the eight-run lead.
Butler posted three runs in the fourth inning and four more in the seventh inning aided by UK mistakes. The Bulldogs scored their runs in the fourth inning on a UK error, ball-four wild pitch and illegal pitch, while three of the runs scored in the seventh inning were the result of a UK fielding error.
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Kentucky - No. 8 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 8 in USA Today/NFCA Top 25
Butler - not ranked
Pittsburgh - not ranked
EKU - not ranked
Friday, Feb. 28
Kentucky def. Butler 9-7
Sunday, March 2
Pittsburgh vs. EKU - Noon ET - Live Stats
Kentucky vs. Pittsburgh - 2 p.m. ET - Live Stats
Admission to every game this weekend at John Cropp Stadium is free of charge.
The entire UK team will sign autographs following the games on Saturday and Sunday.