Ray, Hinz Post Multi-RBI Games as Softball Drops Series to UT
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- After freshman outfielder Brooklin Hinz hit a two-run single in the top of the seventh inning to give No. 21 Kentucky a 5-4 lead, No. 12 Tennessee got a two-run home run in the bottom of the frame from sophomore catcher Annie Aldrete, leading the Lady Vols to a 6-5 walk-off win Saturday at Lee Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.
The victory clinches the series for Tennessee (38-13, 14-9 Southeastern Conference), who claimed the first game of the series Friday night with a 7-1 victory. The series will conclude Sunday with a 1 p.m. ET first pitch on ESPN with Adam Amin and former Texas A&M All-American pitcher Amanda Scarborough calling the action. Live stats will be available online at UKathletics.com.
The game started with four scoreless innings in the circle before both offenses exploded in the final three innings to make for a thrilling ending. The scoring started when Kentucky sophomore outfielder Breanne Ray blasted her sixth home run of the season in the top of the fifth inning. The rally started with a one-out double off the top of the wall from junior Nikki Sagermann, who moved to third on a groundout before an intentional walk put runners on the corners for Ray. The native of Benton, Ky., hammered a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right-centerfield to give UK its first lead of the series at 3-0.
The Lady Vols answered in the bottom of the fifth inning when UK junior pitcher Kelsey Nunley hit infielder Scarlet McSwain with a pitch before a flyout to leftfield for the first out. After outfielder Tory Lewis reached on an error, shortstop Meghan Gregg grounded out to first base to put runners at second and third with two outs. UT outfielder Shaliyah Geathers delivered with a double to leftfield to cut the UK lead to 3-2. Nunley got out of the jam with a pop out.
UT took the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning after a walk, error and bloop single to centerfield loaded the bases. It was again the bottom of the order for Tennessee coming through with Gaffin hitting a one-out single to centerfield to tie the game before Lewis reached on an RBI fielder's choice to give the Lady Vols a 4-3 lead. Nunley got a strikeout and lineout to end the threat.
The excitement wasn't over, however, as Kentucky rallied in the top of the seventh inning getting a leadoff walk to Sagermann before junior utility player Maisie Steed singled to rightfield to put two runners on base. After a pop out for the first out, Ray singled up the middle to load the bases before junior infielder Christian Stokes -- who went 2-for-4 in the game -- struck out for the second out. That set the stage for Hinz, who crushed a 0-1 pitch to leftfield to score two runs and put Kentucky up 5-4.
Unfortunately for Kentucky, the lead was short lived, as infielder Megan Geer singled to start the bottom of the seventh before Aldrete took the first pitch she saw over the wall in leftfield for a two-run walk-off homer to end the game 6-5.
Nunley received the loss in the game, moving to 12-14 on the year. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., tossed six innings in the circle with six runs allowed -- three earned -- on six hits with three strikeouts and three walks allowed. The win went to Gaffin, who allowed three hits and one run with one strikeout. Tennessee started Erin Gabriel, who went three scoreless innings with four hits allowed and four strikeouts, while Cheyanne Tarango tossed three innings and allowed four earned runs on three hits with two walks allowed.
Kentucky outhit Tennessee 10-6, getting multi-hit games from Steed, who was 2-for-4 with a run scored, Ray, who was 2-for-3 with three RBI, Stokes and Hinz, who was 2-for-4 with two RBI.
For more information on the Kentucky softball team, follow @UKSoftball on Twitter and Instagram of Kentucky Softball on Facebook.
Kentucky 29-22, 5-18 SEC
Georgia 38-13, 14-9 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, May 1
Tennessee def. Kentucky 7-1
Saturday, May 2
Tennessee def. Kentucky 6-5
Sunday, May 3
Tennessee at Kentucky -- 1 p.m. ET -- Live Stats -- ESPN