Gaines' Grand Slam Leads No. 8 Softball Past Kent State
March 21, 2014
LEXINGTON, Ky. - University of Kentucky senior outfielder Emily Gaines, who won Kentucky's last home game with a walk-off home run against Eastern Kentucky back in February, launched a two-out, pinch-hit grand slam to left-centerfield in the fifth inning, propelling No. 8 Kentucky to a 9-2 victory over Kent State on Friday in day one action of the Kentucky Tournament at John Cropp Stadium.
Kentucky (23-4) had a great day at the plate, posting seven runs on 10 hits with eight different UK players posting hits. Gaines paced UK at the plate with a career-high four runs batted in after launching a grand slam in her lone at-bat, leading UK to break the game open with a seven-run fifth inning. The homer was her second of the season and the first grand slam of her career. Fellow seniors Ginny Carroll and Emily Jolly each recorded multiple-hit games with Jolly posting an RBI and a run scored. Junior Griffin Joiner had a hit and an RBI, while sophomores Sylver Samuel, Maisie Steed, Nikki Sagermann and Christian Stokes each had hits.
Senior Lauren Cumbess was great in the circle for Kentucky, going seven innings, allowing two runs - both earned - on four hits with seven strikeouts. The native of Normal, Ill., picked up the win in the game, moving to 8-0 on the year in the circle. Cumbess has earned the win in each of UK's last three games.
The win continues a four-game winning streak for Kentucky as it starts a 15-game home stretch this weekend with the three-day Kentucky Tournament. UK will be back in action later Friday night against Saint Francis (Pa.) after the conclusion of the Saint Francis-Fairfield game, which started at 5:40 p.m. ET.
The 13-game, three-day tournament features Kentucky, Fairfield, Kansas, Kent State and Saint Francis (Pa.). The event begins Friday with five games starting at 10 a.m. ET, followed by a five-game slate on Saturday and three games on Sunday. Live stats from every game will be available on UKathletics.com, while live video streaming (subscription required) for UK's games will also be available. Kentucky's game Saturday against Saint Francis will be streamed live on ESPN3.com.
The action continues Saturday at 10 a.m. with Kent State and Fairfield, followed by Kent State and Saint Francis at Noon and Kentucky and Fairfield at 2 p.m. Kansas and Saint Francis play at 4 p.m. Saturday, while UK concludes the day with a 6 p.m. battle with Kansas. On Sunday, Fairfield and Saint Francis start the day with a 10 a.m. battle, before UK plays a doubleheader against Kansas and Kent State starting at Noon.
After a solo home run from Maddy Grimm to put Kent State up 1-0 in the fourth, Kentucky's offense exploded for seven runs in the fifth inning. The inning started with a single by Stokes, who moved to second on a fielder's choice by Steed with both base runners safe on the play. Jolly then placed a perfect bunt single to the right side to score a run and put runners on the corners with no outs. Kentucky executed a double steal perfectly to score Steed from third to put UK up 2-1, before Samuel got hit by a pitch and Joiner singled through the right side of the infield to plate UK's third run. After a walk loaded the bases, Gaines stepped up and hit a pinch-hit grand slam to left field, putting UK up 7-1.
The Golden Flashes posted a run in the top of the sixth on a solo home run to cut UK's lead to 7-2 before the Wildcats posted two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on two hits and three KSU errors.
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Kent State 12-11
Saint Francis 13-4
Kentucky - No. 10 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 8 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25
Fairfield - Not ranked
Kansas - Not ranked
Kent State - Not ranked
Saint Francis - Not ranked
Friday, March 21
Kansas def. Kent State 6-2
Kansas def. Fairfield 6-4
Kentucky def. Kent State 9-2
Fairfield vs. St. Francis - 4 p.m. ET - Live Stats
Kentucky vs. St. Francis - 6 p.m. ET - Live Stats - Live Video (subscription required)
Saturday, March 22
Kent State vs. Fairfield - 10 a.m. ET - Live Stats
Kent State vs. St. Francis - Noon ET - Live Stats
Kentucky vs. Fairfield - 2 p.m. ET - Live Stats - ESPN3.com
Kansas vs. St. Francis - 4 p.m. ET - Live Stats
Kansas vs. Kentucky - 6 p.m. ET - Live Stats - Live Video (subscription required)
Sunday, March 23
Fairfield vs. St. Francis - 10 a.m. ET - Live Stats
Kentucky vs. Kansas - Noon ET - Live Stats - Live Video (subscription required)
Kentucky vs. Kent State - 2 p.m. ET - Live Stats - Live Video (subscription required)
Home team in bold
Admission to every game this weekend at John Cropp Stadium is free of charge.
The entire UK team will sign autographs following the day's last game on Saturday and Sunday.