Rethlake's Complete Game Lifts No. 12 Softball Over Indiana
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LEXINGTON, Ky. - True freshman pitcher Erin Rethlake tossed seven strong innings in the circle, including a career-high tying four strikeouts for the first complete-game win of her career, while senior catcher Griffin Joiner hit a two-run double in the first inning, lifting the No. 12 University of Kentucky softball team to a 4-1 victory over Indiana on Wednesday at John Cropp Stadium.
The victory for Kentucky (21-5) continues its season-best winning streak of eight games. The eight-game winning streak is the eighth winning streak in program history of eight or more games with seven of those winning streaks coming under eight-year head coach Rachel Lawson. The eight-game stretch is tied for the third-longest winning streak in program history. The stretch started when Kentucky defeated highly ranked Texas A&M in the three-game series finale the first week or March. UK is also 5-0 at John Cropp Stadium this season.
The Wildcats will now turn their attention back to Southeastern Conference play, traveling to No. 9 Auburn for a three-game series this weekend. The three-game set starts at 7 p.m. ET on Friday before a 7 p.m. ET first pitch on Saturday and 2 p.m. ET series finale on Sunday. All three games will be available through the SEC Network+ through WatchESPN. Live stats will also be available at UKathletics.com.
Rethlake was impressive in just her third start of the season, tossing her first complete-game effort with only one earned run allowed and a career-high tying four strikeouts and no walks. The native of Huntington, Ind. - throwing against her home-state school - allowed seven hits in the game, including three in the first inning before settling down to get the win. The victory moves Rethlake to 3-0 on the season with a 0.76 ERA in 27.2 innings pitched with 21 strikeouts.
The top of the order came through offensively for Kentucky in the game with juniors Christian Stokes, Sylver Samuel and Maisie Steed each recording hits in the Nos. 1, 2, 3 spots in the order, respectively. Samuel was the lone Wildcat to post a multi-hit night, going 2-for-2 with a run scored, while Stokes was 1-for-3 with a run scored and Steed was 1-for-3. Stokes has a hit in six of her last seven games, while Steed has a hit in 15 of her last 20 games.
The middle of the Kentucky order drove in the runs as sophomore Breanne Ray, junior Nikki Sagermann and Joiner each had an RBI in the Nos. 4, 5, 6 spots, respectively. Ray went 0-for-1 in the game with a sacrifice fly and a walk, while Sagermann was 1-for-3 with a run scored and RBI single. Joiner had a multi-RBI night with a two-run double in the first inning, finishing the game 1-for-2. Senior Kara Howard went 1-for-2 in the game with a single.
Indiana tossed Lora Olson in the circle with the senior throwing all six innings with four runs allowed - three earned - on seven hits with two strikeouts. Olson picked up the loss in the game, moving to 6-13 on the season. Offensively, IU got a 2-for-3 night from catcher Kelsey Dotson, who recorded the lone IU RBI in the game. Outfielder Brianna Meyer went 1-for-3 with a run scored, while Erin Lehman, Shannon Cawley, Taylor Uden and Rachel O'Malley each went 1-for-3.
The victory over Indiana completes a seven-game non-conference stretch for Kentucky that started with its home opener vs. EKU last Wednesday. Currently, Kentucky is in a stretch of nine games in nine days, which started last weekend when UK swept a three-game series with Ohio - the 2014 Mid-American Conference Tournament Champions. The three-game series at Auburn this weekend will conclude the stretch.
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Kentucky - No. 13 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25; No. 12 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25
Tuesday, March 17
Kentucky def. Murray State 5-2
Kentucky def. Murray State 1-0
Wednesday, March 18
Kentucky def. Indiana 4-1