Stokes’ Big Day, Prince’s Complete Game Wraps Up Series for UK
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Senior shortstop Christian Stokes’ big day at the plate and multi-RBI game in addition to a complete game from junior pitcher Meagan Prince clinched No. 12 Kentucky’s third straight Southeastern Conference series win on Saturday at Bogle Park as the Wildcats powered past the Arkansas Razorbacks, 7-1.
Kentucky now sits at 29-4 overall in 2016 with a 7-1 record in SEC play, tied with the Florida Gators atop the SEC standings. With the loss, Arkansas drops to 13-18 overall and 0-5 in league action. Prince continues her perfect start to the 2016 season, collecting her 13th win in 13 tries in the circle, going the complete game in just 79 pitches with only one walk and four strikeouts. Prince with Saturday’s outing is now 13-0 and sports a 1.32 ERA, which is top 10 in the SEC for pitchers who have met the minimum requirement.
Stokes paced the UK offense on the day, with a game-winning 2-RBI triple to the wall in leftcenter field in the top of the second inning to put the Wildcats up early, and give UK a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. The South Carolina native went 1-for-3 at the plate with those two RBI and also had five defensive putouts in the field, in addition to the game-winning assist at shortstop to record the 21st Arkansas out of the game.
Kentucky and Arkansas will conclude its three-game series on Sunday afternoon at Bogle Park in Fayetteville at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT. The game will be shown live on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
Seven. Seven different players had a hit for Kentucky on Saturday, with Jenny Schaper as the only Wildcat to record multiple hits in the game. Of the eight hits that Kentucky registered on Arkansas starter Grace Moll, four of them were RBI hits, and two of them were multi-RBI knocks.
Christian Stokes had the key play in the game in the top of the second inning, as she stepped to the plate with runners on second and third and two outs. Stokes then crushed a 2-1 pitch to the gap in leftcenter field that rolled all the way to the wall and score two runs.
Jenny Schaper was the key player in Saturday’s 7-1 win at Bogle Park, going 2-for-3 on the day and the only UK player to record multiple hits in the game. Schaper hit a home run in Friday’s win over Arkansas, and has upped her batting average to .304 - as she is now hitting above .300 for the first time since February.
In the top of the second inning, Nikki Sagermann and Brooklin Hinz led off the inning with walks to put runners at first and second with no outs. Sagermann then stole a base to put runners on the corners, and a Breanne Ray groundout to the left side moved Hinz to second. Stokes then came to the plate with two outs and laced a two-RBI single to leftcenter field to score two and put UK up. UK 3, ARK 0
Arkansas scored its only run in the bottom of the second after a double and a single. UK 3, ARK 1
In the top of the fourth, Sagermann led off the inning with an advancement to first on an E5 and trekked to second on a wild pitch. A double by Breanne Ray to leftcenter field scored Sarah Rainwater – who was pinch running, and gave UK the 4-1 lead. UK 4, ARK 1
The fifth inning proved to be another scoring inning for the Kentucky offense, as Maisie Steed unloaded on a pitch to deep left field, over the secondary fencing in the ballpark and out of the stadium. The homer for Steed was her third of the season, and third in the last four weeks. UK 5, ARK 1
Leading 5-1, Kentucky scored two more times in the top of the seventh, after Steed and Sylver Samuel got on second and third to begin the inning. After a groundout by Katie Reed and a strikeout by Abby Cheek, sophomore slugger Brooklin Hinz roped an RBI double to the gap, scoring Steed from third and Samuel from second to plate the final two runs of Kentucky’s day. FINAL – No. 12 Kentucky 7, Arkansas 1
For the latest on the Kentucky softball team, follow @UKSoftball on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on the web at UKathletics.com.