March 15, 2014
Box Score (Game 1) | Box Score (Game 2)
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The No. 9 University of Kentucky softball team got a game-winning home run by senior co-captain Lauren Cumbess in game one, while sophomores Nikki Sagermann and Christian Stokes each blasted homers in game two, leading Kentucky to a doubleheader sweep and series win over No. 16 Missouri on Saturday at University Field in Columbia, Mo.
Kentucky (21-4, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) won both games Saturday in dramatic fashion, winning both games by one run. The Wildcats claimed game one, 3-2 in a come-from-behind effort, getting a two-run, game-tying double by junior catcher Griffin Joiner in the fourth inning before a solo home run by Cumbess in the top of the seventh to clinch the win.
Missouri (16-7, 2-4 SEC) had the come-from-behind dramatics in game two, eliminating a 7-2 UK lead with three runs in the sixth inning and two runs in the seventh inning to force extra innings. The Wildcats answered in the eighth inning, getting a leadoff triple by sophomore Sylver Samuel, who scored when sophomore Ansley Smith grounded out. Cumbess made sure the lead held up, getting a pop up, foul out and lineout to seal the 8-7 win.
Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley was impressive in game one, going seven innings, allowing two earned runs on nine hits with one strikeout. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., moved to 8-2 on the season with the win, including a 3-1 mark in league action.
Freshman Meagan Prince got the start in the circle in game two, tossing 6.1 innings, allowing seven runs - six earned - on 10 hits with two strikeouts. Cumbess relieved Prince with one out in the seventh inning and was dominate, retiring all five batters she faced to claim the win and move to 6-0 on the year.
Offensively, Kentucky was led by Cumbess and senior infielder Ginny Carroll in game one with both collecting multiple-hit games. Cumbess was 2-for-3 with her third home run of the season, while Carroll had two singles. Joiner went 1-for-3 with two RBI and a double.
The UK offense exploded in game two, scoring eight runs on 13 hits. Samuel led Kentucky with a 3-for-5 game, including the key triple in the eighth inning - her first career triple. Carroll went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored, while every player in the UK lineup recorded a hit, including Sagermann going 1-for-5 with a three-run homer and Stokes going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and a double.
The series win for Kentucky is its second consecutive to open up conference play. UK, which is the only team in the conference to start league play with two straight road series, is off to its second best league start in program history at 4-2. The consecutive road series wins mark the first time in school history UK has won two straight road series in conference play.
Kentucky's wins Saturday move its record to 7-3 this season against teams either ranked or receiving votes when UK played them. The Wildcats entered the weekend with a win over then-No. 2 Oklahoma, and two victories over then-No. 15 Texas and Mississippi State, who is receiving votes. The two wins over No. 16 Missouri were the 44th and 45th over ranked foes in the Rachel Lawson era. Kentucky has posted five or more wins over ranked teams five consecutive seasons under Lawson.
Casey Stangel got the loss in game one for Missouri, going seven innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts. Offensively, Angela Randazzo paced MU in the first game, going 2-for-2 with an RBI, while Mackenzie Sykes was 1-for-2 with an RBI.
Stangel picked up the loss in game two, throwing the eighth inning, allowing a run on one hit. Freshman Tori Finucane, who earned the win in Friday night's game, tossed seven innings, allowing seven earned runs on 12 hits with five strikeouts in a no-decision. Outfielder Emily Crane was the leader offensively, going 3-for-5 with an RBI, while Randazzo had two RBI and Carlie Rose went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer that tied the game at 7-7 in the seventh inning.
Kentucky concludes its eight-game road swing Tuesday as it travels to Bloomington, Ind., to face the Hoosiers at 5 p.m. ET. Following the midweek non-conference battle, UK will return to Lexington for a 15-game home stand, starting a stretch of 21 of its next 25 games at John Cropp Stadium.
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Kentucky 21-4, 4-2 SEC
Missouri 16-7, 2-4 SEC
Kentucky - No. 11 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 9 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25
Missouri - No. 18 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 16 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25
Friday, March 14
Missouri def. Kentucky 7-2
Saturday, March 15
Kentucky def. Missouri 3-2
Sunday, March 16
Kentucky def. Missouri 8-7 (8)