March 15, 2013
Box Score|UK-LSU Box Score (PDF)
BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 17 University of Kentucky softball team took an early lead in the game, but No. 13 LSU scored seven unanswered runs, including a three-run fifth inning, to earn a 7-1 victory in game one of a three-game series on Friday night at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, La.
Kentucky (19-5, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) will look to even the series Saturday at 5 p.m. ET. The game will be shown on regional television by Cox Sports Television and will also be shown as part of the Southeastern Conference regional TV package on CSS. CST is currently carried on cable systems in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Virginia. CSS is shown in the state of Kentucky, to see listings in your area, go here.
LSU (21-5, 3-1 SEC) got a fantastic effort in the circle from its All-American pitcher Rachele Fico, who went seven innings, allowing only one UK hit and one run with nine strikeouts. Offensively, LSU was led by multi-RBI games from centerfielder A.J. Andrews, first baseman Sandra Simmons and third baseman Tammy Wray. Andrews was 1-for-4 in the game with two RBI, while Simmons was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI and Wray 1-for-2 with two RBI.
UK started true freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley in the game. The rookie hurler went four innings, allowing six runs – four earned – on eight hits with two strikeouts. Nunley was replaced by fellow freshman Katie Henderson, who threw the final two innings, allowing two hits and one unearned run.
Junior infielder Lauren Cumbess collected the lone hit for the Wildcats, while freshman Nikki Sagermann earned a bases-loaded walk for an RBI.
Kentucky got on the board in the top of the first inning, getting a bases load walk. The inning started when freshman Maisie Steed lined out to rightfield, before senior Kara Dill started a rally with a one-out walk. A two-out single to centerfield by Cumbess put runners on the corners for senior Alice O’Brien, who would walk to load the bases. That would bring up Sagermann, who also walked to earn an RBI and score a run.
The Tigers took the lead in the bottom of the second inning with a two-out rally. After Nunley got the first two outs of the inning quickly, she gave up a two-out walk to Simmons and then a double to Wray to tie the score. Lauren Houston then fisted a single just over the left side of the infield, scoring Wray and giving the Tigers a lead. Simone Heyward then hit a chopper to third that took such a high bounce off the infield dirt that UK third baseman Krystal Smith didn’t have a play at first. After Heyward stole second, Andrews grounded out to second to end the frame.
LSU scored two more runs in the third inning. The inning started with a groundout to third before Nunley hit the next three batters she faced to load the bases for Simmons, who doubled to leftfield to score two runs. A walk to Wray then loaded the bases for Houston, who lined into a double play to end the inning with LSU up 4-1.
The Tigers got three more runs in the fifth inning after back-to-back singles to start the inning. Wray then laid down a perfect bunt, advancing to first safely and scoring a run. After UK head coach Rachel Lawson made a pitching change, LSU got a single and a double to score two more runs and take a 7-1 lead.
LSU leads the all-time series against Kentucky 33-6, including a 19-3 mark in Baton Rouge. The Wildcats swept the Tigers last season in Lexington, getting great pitching and clutch hitting. Bell threw a no-hitter in the series finale to clinch the sweep – the first ever series win against LSU – while 2012 senior Brittany Cervantes hit .571 for the series with two homers, two doubles and four RBI to guide the offense. Five of UK’s six all-time wins vs. LSU have come in the Rachel Lawson Era. The two teams have met annually since 1998.
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 for the tournament can be found here.
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