Steed's Three-Run Homer Not Enough as UK Falls to Georgia, 6-4
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Junior Maisie Steed launched a three-run home run in the sixth inning as part of a four-run inning for No. 17/19 Kentucky, but it was not enough in a 6-4 loss to No. 14/14 Georgia on Saturday afternoon at John Cropp Stadium.
Steed's blast, her seventh of the season and UK's first long ball in a week, helped the Kentucky offense break out of a recent scoring drought in which the Wildcats scored just one total run in its last four games.
The offensive explosion by both teams came after UK's Meagan Prince and UGA's Brittany Gray were locked in a scoreless pitcher's duel through the first four innings. Both teams notched just two hits apiece before combining for 14 hits in the final three frames.
The series concludes on Senior Day Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Before the game, seniors Griffin Joiner and Kara Howard will be honored. The contest will be streamed 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 day at the ticket booths outside John Cropp Stadium with gates opening one hour prior to first pitch, at Noon.
UK softball will have several promotions at Sunday's regular season home finale at John Cropp Stadium, including the first 100 UK fans receiving a set of 2015 Kentucky Softball Trading Cards. Sunday is Family Fun Day 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.
Kentucky got on the board with a big four-run sixth inning. Freshman Rachael Metzger drew a one-out walk, followed by a double by Joiner down the rightfield line. Junior infielder Nikki Sagermann's single up the middle plated the first UK run, while Steed followed with a three-run blast over the fence in straightaway left to bring the Wildcats to within two at 6-4. It was Steed's seventh home run of the season and gives her 27 RBI on the season, both second on the team.
Down by two, the Wildcats put up a threat in the seventh. With two on and one out, Metzger sent a blast to left that was hauled in at the wall with a leaping catch by UGA leftfielder Cortni Emanuel. On the 11th pitch of the at-bat, Joiner grounded out to halt UK's comeback attempt.
Prince started in the circle and pitched 5.1 innings and gave up five runs on seven hits. The sophomore had six strikeouts and three walks. She was relieved in the sixth by Rethlake, who pitched 1.2 innings and gave up one run and three hits with three strikeouts.
Steed was 2-3 at the plate, and junior Christian Stokes also notched two hits, going 2-4 for her team-leading 12th multi-hit game of the season.
Gray started in the circle and gave up three runs on four hits in 5.1 innings. She struck out two and walked three and was relieved by Chelsea Wilkinson, who won Friday's series opener. Wilkinson allowed one run on two hits in the final 1.2 frames.
The Bulldogs scored the game's first run in the fifth inning. Niaja Griffin led off with an infield single, and with two outs, Alex Hugo singled through the left side. Tina Iosefa followed with a bloop double, just out of the reach of centerfielder Sylver Samuel. Both runners scored to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 advantage.
Georgia tacked on four runs in the sixth. The inning started with a single by Kaylee Puailoa and Paige Wilson reached on a fielder's choice. With one out, Griffin singled to score one, and after Erin Rethlake replaced Prince in the circle, Sydni Emanuel singled to score a second. With two outs, Hugo hit a blooper that dropped in right two plate two more.
A 13-minute rain delay halted the action after the end of the second inning.
Through the first four innings, Georgia's best scoring chance came in the second. Wilson drew a walk, and with two outs Griffin singled up the middle. Wilson tried to go to third though, and she was gunned down easily by Samuel on a nice throw to Sagermann.
For more information on the Kentucky softball team, follow @UKSoftball on Twitter and Instagram of Kentucky Softball on Facebook.
Kentucky 29-19, 5-15 SEC
Georgia 38-13, 13-9 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 def. Kentucky 6-4
Sunday, April 26
Georgia at Kentucky -- 1 p.m. ET -- Live Stats -- SEC Network+