Steed, Hinz Homer as No. 12 Softball Drops DH at No. 9 Auburn
AUBURN, Ala. - University of Kentucky junior utility player Maisie Steed belted a three-run home run - her fifth of the season - while freshman outfielder Brooklin Hinz launched the first home run of her career, but it wasn't enough as No. 12 Kentucky dropped a doubleheader at No. 9 Auburn on Saturday at Jane B. Moore Field.
The doubleheader loss completes the three-game series between Kentucky (21-8, 1-5 SEC) and Auburn (32-2, 6-0 SEC) with the Tigers winning all three games to claim the Southeastern Conference series. AU won game one Friday night, 5-0, before a 4-1 victory in Saturday's first game and a 9-7 triumph in the finale to sweep the series.
The series completed a grueling stretch for the Wildcats, who played nine games in nine days, including five of those games on the road. UK came out of that stretch with a 6-3 record and entered the AU series with its longest winning streak of the season. Kentucky is the only team in the SEC to play its first two conference series against top 20 teams on the road.
Kentucky will return to action next weekend when it starts a stretch of nine of the next 10 games at John Cropp Stadium, starting with No. 1 LSU. The Wildcats and Tigers will play a three-game series starting Friday at 6 p.m. ET on the SEC Network+ through the WatchESPN app, while Saturday's game will be at Noon ET on the SEC Network. Sunday's series finale will be at 1 p.m. ET on the SEC Network+. Live stats from all three games will be available online at UKathletics.com.
Single-game tickets are available and 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. Tickets 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. Tickets will be sold - cash only - on game days at the ticket booths outside John Cropp Stadium with gates opening one hour prior to first pitch.
Both Kentucky home runs game in the seventh inning of the series finale as UK rallied for five runs in the inning to cut into the Auburn lead. The inning started with a leadoff single by junior Christian Stokes, who went 3-for-4 in the game, marking the seventh time this season the shortstop has record three or more hits in a game. After a walk to junior Nikki Sagermann, Steed blasted her fifth home run of the season to record three RBI. Steed, who is riding a four-game hitting streak, has a hit in 20 of her 26 games played and has reached base safely in a team-high 12 straight games, while Stokes is riding a four-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in 10 straight games.
Hinz had a strong showing in the day's second game, going 2-for-3 with two RBI, including the first home run of her young collegiate career. The laser shot was a two-run home run in the seventh inning and cut the Auburn lead to two runs. Senior catcher Griffin Joiner went 1-for-2 in the game to extend her hitting streak to four games, while sophomore Breanne Ray had an RBI single in the first inning and Sagermann went 1-for-3 in the game with a run scored and a walk.
Stokes was the offensive star in game one, going 2-for-4, while Steed, Joiner, Ray and freshman Erin Rethlake each had singles. Ray was the lone Wildcat to record an RBI in the day's first game, launching her fourth home run of the season.
Junior pitcher Kelsey Nunley started the day's first game for Kentucky, tossing five innings with only two earned runs allowed - four total runs - on seven hits with three strikeouts and six walks allowed. Rethlake came on in relief with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, getting three straight outs, including a strikeout. Nunley received the loss, moving to 9-4 on the season.
Sophomore Meagan Prince started Saturday's second game in the circle, allowing six runs on six hits with two walks in one inning of work. Rethlake replaced her to start the second inning and tossed the remaining five innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits with two strikeouts. Prince received the loss in the game.
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