Nunley Dominates, Stokes Provides Offense as UK Rolls Bama 5-0
May 4, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – University of Kentucky freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley tossed her 18th complete game of the season, throwing seven scoreless innings allowing four hits with five strikeouts, while fellow freshman Christian Stokes launched her fifth home run of the season in UK’s three-run second inning, lifting the 19th-ranked Wildcats to a 5-0 series-opening win over No. 7 Alabama on Saturday at Rhoads Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
The series will continue with game two of the doubleheader at approximately 3 p.m. ET Saturday before concluding Sunday with a 2:30 p.m. ET first pitch. Live stats and live video (subscription required) will be available through the links provided below.
The win for Kentucky (36-16, 11-10 Southeastern Conference) was its third all-time against the perennial national power. UK’s last win against Alabama was in 2004, while this is the first time UK has ever defeated the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.
The win marks UK’s eighth over a ranked foe this season and 39th all-time under sixth-year head coach Rachel Lawson. The win is the 23rd for Lawson against a top-10 team during her tenure and the fourth this season.
Nunley was fantastic in the circle for Kentucky, throwing all seven innings, allowing no runs on four hits with five strikeouts. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., is now 23-7 on the season with a 1.89 ERA, striking out 164 in 215.1 innings pitched. The win for Nunley was her third consecutive over a highly ranked foe after taking down No. 7 Louisville and No. 11 Missouri last week.
Offensively, Kentucky was paced by Stokes, who went 2-for-3 with two RBI and her fifth home run of the season. Fellow freshman Sylver Samuel also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-2, while sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner went 1-for-4 with a two-RBI single. Senior Alice O’Brien had a single and scored a run in the game, while junior outfielder Ginny Carroll doubled.
Kentucky scored first in the game, getting three runs on two hits in the top of the second inning. O’Brien started the rally with a bloop single to leftfield before freshman Nikki Sagermann laid down a bunt that the Alabama third baseman fielded and threw to second base too late to get the out. After a pop up for the first out, both runners advanced into scoring position on a passed ball before freshman Ansley Smith hit a sacrifice fly into centerfield to get UK on the board. The next pitch of the game was then hammered into left-centerfield by Stokes for her fifth home run of the season, giving UK the 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats added two more runs in the fifth inning. After a leadoff walk to Smith to start the frame, Stokes singled to right-centerfield putting runners on the corners for Samuel, who bunted Stokes over to second base. Freshman Maisie Steed then walked to load the bases for Joiner, who singled into left-centerfield to score two and give Kentucky a 5-0 lead.
Alabama leads the all-time series against Kentucky 38-3, including a 18-1 record in Tuscaloosa, Ala. UK’s first win against the Tide came in game one of a doubleheader in 2004. Alabama leads the series 2-19 in Lexington and 1-0 at neutral sites. Alabama swept Kentucky last season in Lexington. The two teams have met every year UK has had a team except 2011.
Kentucky will play host to the SEC Tournament this season for the first time in school history. The event, which is considered one of the most prestigious softball tournaments in the nation, will be May 8-11 in Lexington. The championship game will be featured on ESPN2, while all other games will be shown on ESPNU. Ticket information is available at www.UKathletics.com/secsoftball.
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Kentucky 37-16, 12-10 SEC
Alabama 40-11, 12-10 SEC
Kentucky – No. 19 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 20 in USA Today/NFCA Top 25
Alabama – No. 8 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 7 in USA Today/NFCA Top 25