Cumbess' Do-It-All Effort, Prince's Save Clinch Series at Ole Miss
April 12, 2014
OXFORD, Miss. - Senior pitcher Lauren Cumbess delivered a game-winning, two-run triple in the first inning and followed the clutch hit with five impressive innings in the circle, before freshman pitcher Meagan Prince closed out the game to earn the first save of her career, leading No. 11 Kentucky to a 3-1 series-clinching win over Ole Miss on Saturday at the Ole Miss Softball Complex in Oxford, Miss.
Kentucky (35-8, 9-5 Southeastern Conference) claimed the series against Ole Miss (20-21, 3-11 SEC) after a pair of 3-1 victories Friday and Saturday. The series win marks the seventh straight for the Wildcats over the Rebels with UK claiming series wins in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and now 2014. The stretch of seven consecutive series wins is the longest for UK over any league team in program history. Kentucky is now 12-4 against Ole Miss under head coach Rachel Lawson's seven-year tenure.
The series win is the fourth of the season for Kentucky in five league sets. The Wildcats started league action by winning two of three games at Mississippi State, who was receiving votes at the time, before claiming two wins at then-No. 16 Missouri the following weekend. After dropping a series to then-No. 21 Auburn two weekends ago, UK has responded with series wins over then-No. 18 Texas A&M and Ole Miss. The four series wins this season in conference action ties the third most SEC series wins in school history. UK also won four league sets in 2000, 2009, 2010 and 2013. The Wildcats won five conference series in 2011 and a program-best six in 2012.
Entering Lawson's tenure at Kentucky in 2008, the Wildcats had only won nine or more conference games twice in program history, but have now accomplished that task in six straight years under Lawson's guidance.
The Wildcats will go for the series sweep over Ole Miss at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday in the series finale. Live stats and free radio from the game will be available online at UKathletics.com.
Kentucky scored all the runs it needed in the first getting, getting three runs on three hits. After a groundout to start the frame, speedy outfielder Sylver Samuel extended her hitting streak to a career-high tying six games with an infield single, moving to second on a throwing error by the Ole Miss second baseman. Junior catcher Griffin Joiner followed with a double to leftfield, scoring Samuel and giving Kentucky a 1-0 lead. After senior Emily Gaines walked and sophomore Nikki Sagermann hit into a fielder's choice for the second out, Cumbess lined a ball off the glove of the Ole Miss' first baseman and into the rightfield corner, clearing the bases and giving the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.
The triple by Cumbess was the first of her career and took her RBI total to 27 this season. The senior now has 104 career RBI, moving into eighth place all-time in UK's career RBI list. Cumbess is currently riding a five-game hitting streak and has a hit in 18 of her last 22 games, including eight multi-hit games during that stretch.
The senior was also impressive in the circle, tossing five innings, allowing one earned run on three hits with four strikeouts to pick up the win. The native of Normal, Ill., is now 10-0 on the season with a team-best 1.52 ERA. Cumbess was replaced to start the sixth inning by freshman pitcher Meagan Prince, who threw the final two innings to pick up her first career save. Prince allowed two hits with two strikeouts in the game, lowering her ERA to 3.10 this season.
Joiner and Cumbess were the lone Wildcats to post RBI in the game while Samuel went 1-for-4 with a run scored. Senior outfielder Ginny Carroll went 1-for-4 in the game with a single, while sophomore infielder Ansley Smith had a single and was hit by a pitch. Gaines was 0-for-1 in the game but walked three times and has now reached base safely in 17 straight games.
Ole Miss started redshirt freshman Emily Gaitan in the circle, who went two innings allowing three earned runs on four hits with two strikeouts. Sophomore Madi Osias came out of the bullpen to start the third inning, tossing four scoreless frames with one hit allowed before senior Shelby Jo Fenter tossed a perfect seventh inning with a strikeout. Gaitan received the loss in the game, moving to 4-6 on the season.
Offensively, the Rebels posted a run on five hits, getting a double from designated player Lauren Lindsey and a 2-for-3 games from catcher Marina Parra. Shortstop Haley Cullet went 1-for-3 in the game with the single by rightfielder Jamie Morgan had a bunt single and a RBI groundout.
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Kentucky - 35-8, 9-5 SEC
Ole Miss - 20-21, 3-11 SEC
Kentucky - No. 11 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 11 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25
Ole Miss - not ranked
Friday, April 11
Kentucky def. Ole Miss 3-1
Saturday, April 12
Kentucky def. Ole Miss 3-1