Three-Run Homer Dooms Softball in Opener vs. No. 14 Georgia
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- University of Georgia designated player Kaylee Puailoa hit a three-run home run in the second inning, giving junior pitcher Chelsea Wilkinson all the run support she needed in a complete-game shutout in the circle, lifting the No. 14 Bulldogs to a 3-0 series-opening win against No. 17 Kentucky on Friday night at John Cropp Stadium.
The series will continue Saturday at 3 p.m. ET before a 1 p.m. ET finale Sunday. Both games will be available on the SEC Network+ through WatchESPN with Dave "Buzz" Baker and former Michigan assistant coach, Purdue head coach and Louisville associate head coach Carol Bruggeman on the call.
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.
UK marketing is running several promotions throughout the weekend at John Cropp Stadium, including the first 100 UK fans into the stadium Sunday will receive a set of 2015 Kentucky Softball Trading Cards. Saturday and Sunday are Family Fun Days at the park, featuring pregame and postgame youth activities, including face painting, hair bow making, inflatables, autographs and pictures with the team. After Sunday's game - weather permitting - all kids eighth grade and younger can run the bases.
Wilkinson was the star of the game, tossing seven scoreless innings in the circle with three hits allowed and seven strikeouts to move to 23-8 on the season. The Bulldogs earned seven hits in the game, but none as big as the three-run home run by Puailoa in the second inning, scoring the only runs in the game. The inning started with a walk and infield single before a strikeout brought up Puailoa, who hammered a pitch over the wall in right-centerfield. Puailoa was 2-for-3 in the game, while sophomore Sydni Emanuel was 3-for-3 with a run scored and infielders Tin Iosefa and Anna Swafford each had hits.
Junior pitcher Kelsey Nunley was great in the circle for Kentucky except for one pitch to Puailoa. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., tossed all seven innings, allowing three runs -- all earned -- on seven hits with four strikeout and two walks. Nunley stranded six Bulldog runners on base in the game.
Offensively, Kentucky recorded three hits. Junior infielder Nikki Sagermann was 1-for-3 with her eighth double of the season, while junior outfielder Sylver Samuel went 1-for-2 with a walk and freshman designated player Brooklin Hinz was 1-for-2 with a walk.
For more information on the Kentucky softball team, follow @UKSoftball on Twitter and Instagram of Kentucky Softball on Facebook.
Kentucky 29-18, 5-14 SEC
Georgia 37-13, 12-9 SEC
Kentucky -- No. 17 USA Today/NFCA Top 25; No. 19 ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25
Georgia -- No. 14 USA Today/NFCA Top 25; No. 14 ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25
Friday, April 24
Georgia def. Kentucky 3-0
Saturday, April 25
Georgia at Kentucky -- 3 p.m. ET -- Live Stats -- SEC Network+
Sunday, April 26
Georgia at Kentucky -- 1 p.m. ET -- Live Stats -- SEC Network+