Co-Captains Cumbess, Joiner Lead No. 8 Softball Past Indiana
March 18, 2014
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – University of Kentucky senior pitcher Lauren Cumbess threw seven scoreless innings in the circle, while junior catcher Griffin Joiner blasted a three-run home run in the top of the fifth inning and had four runs batted in overall, leading No. 9 Kentucky to a 5-0 victory on Tuesday over Indiana at Andy Mohr Field in Bloomington, Ind.
The midweek non-conference win over Indiana (8-18-1) concludes an eight-game road trip for Kentucky (22-4) that began two weekends ago with a series win at Mississippi State. The Wildcats took two of three games from the Bulldogs, marking the first time in program history UK has started league play on the road with a series win. After winning its first non-conference midweek game of the season last Tuesday at Marshall, the Wildcats claimed a key Southeastern Conference road set at No. 16 Missouri last weekend, sweeping a Saturday doubleheader to clinch consecutive road sets in league play for the first time in school history. UK ends the road swing with a 6-2 record.
The Wildcats will return from Indiana to start a 15-game home stand on Friday, beginning a stretch of 21 of its next 25 games at home. Included in the home stretch is a three-day, round-robin tournament at John Cropp Stadium this weekend, featuring Kentucky, Kent State, Saint Francis (Pa.), Fairfield and Kansas. Head coach Rachel Lawson and Co. will also play four home SEC series during that stretch.
Cumbess paced UK with a brilliant performance in the circle, tossing seven scoreless innings allowing only two hits with five strikeouts. The senior had a stretch of four straight strikeouts to start the game and retired 11 straight batters later in the game. All told, Cumbess faced just 24 batters in the game, retiring 21 with one reaching on an error and two on singles. The win moves Cumbess to 7-0 on the season.
Offensively, Joiner led UK by going 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and four RBI, extending her hitting streak to a team-high six games. Four other Wildcats posted multiple-hit games with sophomore outfielder Sylver Samuel and Cumbess going 2-for-3, while fellow sophomores Ansley Smith and Nikki Sagermann went 2-for-4. Senior outfielder Emily Jolly went 1-for-1 in the game with a single.
Indiana started Lora Olson in the circle, going 4.2 innings, allowing three runs – none earned – on seven hits with six strikeouts. Meaghan Murphy threw the final 2.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits with two strikeouts.
Kentucky scored first in the game with a two-out rally in the fifth inning. After two quick outs to start the frame, Samuel hit a sharp grounder to the Indiana second baseman, who could not field the ball, allowing the ball to roll into right field with Samuel safe at second base. Ansley Smith followed with an infield single, setting the stage for Joiner, who hammered her seventh home run of the season over the wall in left field to put UK up 3-0.
The Wildcats added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning. Samuel started the inning with an infield single, but was thrown out at second base on a steal attempt. Ansley Smith kept the rally alive with a single to left field, scoring when Joiner lined a double to the wall in right-centerfield. Joiner moved to third on an infield single by Cumbess and scored on Sagermann’s fielder’s choice to put UK up 5-0.
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Kentucky – No. 11 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 9 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25
Indiana – Not ranked
Tuesday, March 18
Kentucky def. Indiana 5-0