No. 9 Softball Drops Series Opener to No. 16 Missouri
March 14, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Senior outfielder Emily Gaines went 2-for-3 with two doubles plus an RBI, and freshman Breanne Ray collected her first collegiate hit, but the No. 9 University of Kentucky softball team could not slow down No. 16 Missouri on Friday, falling 7-2 in its series-opening game at University Field in Columbia, Mo.
The three-game series continues with a 3 p.m. ET start on Saturday before a 1 p.m. series finale on Sunday. Live stats from every game will be available on UKathletics.com, while live video streaming (subscription required) will be available at the links provided below.
Kentucky (19-4, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) could not get the big hit in the game, stranding 11 runners on base. The Wildcat offense collected nine hits on the night, scoring two runs in the seventh inning on back-to-back bases loaded walks to sophomore Nikki Sagermann and Gaines. Eight Wildcats recorded hits in the contest, paced by Gaines, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles and a RBI. Sophomore Ansley Smith went 1-for-1 with a walk and a sacrifice, while Sagermann had a hit and a RBI. Senior Lauren Cumbess, junior Griffin Joiner and sophomore Christian Stokes also collected singles, while Ray had a single to right field in the seventh inning for her first collegiate hit, leading to a two-run UK rally in the final frame.
Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley started in the circle, going three innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits with one strikeout. Freshman Shannon Smith replaced Nunley to start the fourth inning, allowing three earned runs on four hits with two strikeouts. Nunley picked up the loss, moving to 7-2 on the season, while Shannon Smith received a no-decision.
Missouri (16-5, 2-2 SEC) started freshman Tori Finucane with the rookie going all seven innings, allowing two runs on nine hits with five strikeouts. Finucane picked up the win, moving to 7-3 on the year.
Offensively, the Tigers had seven runs on nine hits, getting multiple-hit games from outfielders Taylor Gadbois, Emily Crane, who had three RBI, and Mackenzie Sykes. Third baseman Angela Randazzo also had two hits, including a home run and three RBI.
Missouri scored first to start the game, getting a leadoff double by Gadbois, who scored when Crane hammered a double into the gap in left-centerfield, moving to third when the UK outfielder misplayed the ball. After Crane was called out at third on a fielder's choice by Randazzo, who moved to second on the play, Sykes hit an infield single to put the Tigers up 2-0.
The Tigers posted two more runs in the third inning on a two-run home run by Randazzo, before increasing their lead to 6-0 in the fourth inning with a run on a bases-loaded walk and wild pitch.
After Missouri scored a single run to go up 7-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Kentucky rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh. The inning started with a one-out walk to Maisie Steed, who moved to second when Ray placed a hit in right field. A passed ball moved both runners into scoring position with two outs for Cumbess, who was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Sagermann and Gaines followed with walks to cut the lead to 2-1 before a strikeout ended the game.
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Kentucky 19-4, 2-2 SEC
Missouri 16-5, 2-2 SEC
Kentucky - No. 11 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 9 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25
Missouri - No. 18 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 16 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25
Friday, March 14
Missouri def. Kentucky 7-2