Steed's 4-RBI Day Powers No. 12 Softball to Series Sweep of Ohio
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LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky junior utility player Maisie Steed posted a career-high tying four runs batted in behind a three-hit day, including her third home run of the season, giving true freshman pitcher Erin Rethlake all the run support she needed to pick up her second win of the season as the No. 12 Wildcats defeated Ohio 6-0 on Sunday, completing the three-game series sweep.
The victory for Kentucky (18-5) comes after a doubleheader sweep Saturday against the Bobcats, winning the first game 7-2 and the second battle 6-4. The Wildcats have won five consecutive games, which ties its longest winning streak of the season. UK is also 4-0 at John Cropp Stadium this year and 38-17 all-time in the three-year-old stadium.
Steed had a monster day at the plate for the Wildcats, going 3-for-4 with a home run, double and four RBI. The impressive offensive showing started with her first at-bat of the day when the native of Power Springs, Ga., hit a home run in the opening frame to put the Wildcats up 1-0 - a lead they would not relinquish. Steed laced a two-RBI single in her second at-bat to put UK up 3-0 and then drove a RBI double to the wall in leftfield in her third at-bat to give UK a four-run lead.
For the weekend, Steed hit .556 (5-for-9) with two doubles, two homers and eight RBI, adding excellent defense with zero errors in the three-game series. Steed has been on a hot streak the past few weeks with a hit in 13 of her last 17 games, including a home run in three of her last five games. During that five-game stretch, Steed not only has three homers, but also has recorded seven total hits with nine RBI and five runs scored.
There were several other offensive stars for Kentucky on Sunday, including fellow junior shortstop Christian Stokes, who went 3-for-4 with two runs scored taking her average for the three-game series to .583 (7-for-12) with a triple, home run and two RBI. Juniors Nikki Sagermann and Darington Richardson each recorded RBI in the game with Sagermann blasting her fourth home run of the season, while Richardson recorded her first RBI of the year. Senior outfielder Kara Howard recorded a single and scored two runs.
Overall, Kentucky hit .325 as a team over the weekend with 19 runs scored on 25 hits, including four doubles, one triple and five home runs. In the circle, UK only allowed six earned runs combined over 21 innings pitched with 25 strikeouts, limiting opponents to a .208 average.
Rethlake was impressive in the circle Sunday, tossing five scoreless innings to start the game with only two hits allowed and four strikeouts. She was replaced by junior Kelsey Nunley to start the sixth inning with Nunley tossing two scoreless innings with only one hit allowed and three strikeouts. Rethlake picked up the win in the game, moving to 2-0 on the season with a 0.68 ERA in 20.2 innings pitched. Nunley picked up the wins in both games Saturday and tossed nine scoreless innings over this weekend with 10 strikeouts. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., is 8-2 on the season with a 1.79 ERA in 66.1 innings pitched.
Ohio (5-15) tossed three different pitchers in the game, starting with senior Lauren McClary, who went three innings allowing three runs - all earned - on three hits with two strikeouts. Freshman Sydney Compston tossed two innings with two hits allowed and one earned run, while senior Kaylin Clarke tossed the sixth inning, allowing two runs on four hits with one strikeout.
Offensively, Ohio posted three hits with two going for extra bases. Senior outfielder Timmie Rappe went 1-for-3 with her first triple of the season, while senior infielder Raven King was 1-for-2 with her fourth double of the year. Senior Adrienne Gabele recorded a single in the game.
Kentucky has a busy week ahead while campus is on spring break. The Wildcats will play a doubleheader Tuesday at Murray State starting at 2 p.m. ET and then travel back to Lexington for a single game vs. Indiana on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network with Mark Neely and Jenny Dalton-Hill calling the action. UK will conclude the week with a three-game series at No. 12/14 Auburn, starting Friday at 8 p.m. ET. Including UK's games this weekend against Ohio, the Wildcats will play nine games in nine days with five of those games away from John Cropp Stadium.
Live stats from every game will be available on UKathletics.com, while tickets for Wednesday's game vs. Indiana 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 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. Gates open one hour prior to first pitch and all ticket sales at John Cropp Stadium on gamedays are cash only.
For the latest on UK softball, follow @UKSoftball on Twitter and Instagram, or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.
Kentucky - No. 14 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25; No. 12 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25
Saturday, March 13
Kentucky def. Ohio 7-2
Kentucky def. Ohio 6-4
Sunday, March 14
Kentucky def. Ohio 6-0