Stokes’ Seventh-Inning Bomb Lifts No. 13 Kentucky Past
HUNTINGTON, W. Va. – Senior captain Christian Stokes belted a solo home run with two outs in the top of the seventh inning in a scoreless game, which proved to be the only run of the game as the No. 13 Kentucky softball team powered past the Marshall Thundering Herd, 1-0 at a capacity Dot Hicks Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
In a game that proved to be a pitcher’s duel from the start, Erin Rethlake took the circle for Kentucky for her fourth start of the season. Rethlake got through her portion of the game unscathed without allowing a hit or a run to the nine batters she faced, before Kelsey Nunley was called upon to close the game out.
Nunley picked up the win on 5.1 innings pitched, walking none and striking out five Herd batters. The senior only allowed two hits to the 18 batters that she faced and now with the win, sits at 10-1 on the season. Her ERA is down to a season-low mark of 0.58 after today’s performance.
The Wildcats with Wednesday’s win move to 23-3 on the season, continuing its best start in program history through that many allotted amount of games. UK is a perfect 3-0 in Southeastern Conference action and remains in first place in the league through six weeks of competition.
UK returns to the field on Friday against the Ole Miss Rebels, who are receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today poll released on Tuesday. The weekend’s three-game series will commence on Friday night at 6 p.m. ET at John Cropp Stadium. The game will be shown live on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app with Mark Buerger and Carol Bruggeman on the call.
0.58. That is the current ERA of Kentucky starting pitcher Kelsey Nunley after today’s shutout posted by the Soddy Daisy, Tenn., native. Nunley was spectacular in the circle, picking up the win for her sixth-straight time in the circle for UK.
The key play in the game was by junior outfielder Breanne Ray in the bottom of the fourth inning. After the Thundering Herd got its leadoff runner on in via a walk to lead off the inning in a scoreless game, Ray came diving in from right field fully on her stomach to rob the Herd of a bloop single that would have created problems for UK. Ray laid out fully to secure the catch, and kept the Herd off the board.
Christian Stokes was the key player in the game, belting the game-winning solo home run to leftcenter field in the top of the seventh to clinch the win for Kentucky. The home run is the fifth of the season for Stokes, and her second game-winning homer in the top of the last inning. She also had a homer to push UK past No. 22 Arizona State, 5-3 on the opening weekend of play. The ball was scorched off the bat of Stokes and hit off the scoreboard in left center past the 220 sign that draped the fence.
The only run scored was Christian Stokes’ home run in the top of the seventh inning with two outs to leftcenter field. FINAL – No. 13 Kentucky 1, Marshall 0
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