Homers Power No. 9 Softball to DH Sweep at Tennessee Tech
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Four Wildcats hit home runs Saturday, including two-run shots by senior catcher Griffin Joiner, junior shortstop Christian Stokes and freshman infielder Haley Andrus, and a solo bomb by freshman infielder Rachael Metzger, powering the No. 9 University of Kentucky softball team to a doubleheader sweep at Tennessee Tech.
The day started with Kentucky earning a 5-1 victory over the Golden Eagles before the offense exploded for 10 runs in the day's second game for a 10-0 five-inning run-rule victory - UK's fourth run-ruled win of the season. The wins moved Kentucky's record to 13-3 on the season, and marked the 498 and 499 victories in program history.
The Wildcats posted five runs on eight hits in game one to roll to a 5-1 victory. Senior outfielder Kara Howard led UK offensively, going 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Joiner went 1-for-1 with a run scored and two RBI. Sophomore outfielder Breanne Ray had a hit and RBI in the game, while juniors Sylver Samuel, Nikki Sagermann and Maisie Steed, along with Metzger, each had hits.
Nunley was the star in the circle, tossing all seven innings with one run allowed - none earned - on five hits and five strikeouts. The win moved Nunley to 5-1 on the season with a 1.97 ERA in 42.2 innings pitched, adding 35 strikeouts.
Homers paced Kentucky in the day's second game as the Wildcats blasted four roundtrippers, including the first career home run for Andrus, who came on to pinch hit in the fifth inning and launched a two-run shot over the wall in leftfield. Metzger started the home run parade with a solo shot in the second inning, adding an RBI single to go 2-for-3 in the game with two RBI and a run scored. Stokes went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI, while Samuel was 2-for-4 with a triple and RBI, and Joiner was 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and three RBI. Junior outfielder Darington Richardson had a single and scored a run in the game, while Sagermann and Howard each had hits.
Sophomore pitcher Meagan Prince went all five innings in the circle for Kentucky, pitching her first shutout of the season. The native of Martin, Tenn., allowed five hits and struck out three batters in the game to move to 7-2 on the season with a 2.20 ERA in a team-high 47.2 innings pitched.
Joiner was the leader offensively in both games, going 3-for-4 with five RBI, while Metzger and Howard each went 3-for-5 on the day with two RBI. Overall, Kentucky hit .373 as a team Saturday with 15 runs scored on 19 hits, including 15 RBI and three stolen bases. In the circle, UK tossed 12 innings on Saturday, not allowing an earned run on 11 hits with eight strikeouts, while TTU hit just .217 against UK pitching.
The victories conclude Kentucky's early season non-conference schedule as the Wildcats will now focus their attention on Southeastern Conference play. UK will open up league play next weekend with a three-game series at highly ranked Texas A&M. It will be Kentucky's first-ever trip to College Station, Texas to face the Aggies, who are in their third season in the SEC.
Kentucky was originally scheduled to play in the 2015 Frost Classic this weekend, which featured 10 teams playing 25 games across three fields at Frost Stadium and nearby Warner Park Softball Complex. However, due to the Chattanooga area getting several inches of snow Wednesday night into Thursday morning, the tournament was canceled.
Kentucky will open its 2015 home schedule on March 11 against EKU. Season tickets for the 2015 season are on sale now for $35 per seat and are general admission tickets (no reserved seating). Season tickets include all regular-season home games, including four three-game home sets in SEC play against LSU, Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia
Tickets are available by calling the UK Ticket Office at 1-800-928-2287, in person at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office or online at www.ukathletics.com/tickets. Single-game tickets go on sale Monday, Feb. 16 at 9 a.m. ET and are $5 for adults, $2 for seniors (ages 65 or older) and youth (ages 6-18) while children ages five and under will be admitted free of charge.
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