April 13, 2014
OXFORD, Miss. – University of Kentucky sophomore infielder Nikki Sagermann hit two solo home runs, including the game-winning shot in the 10th inning, while senior outfielder Emily Gaines had two hits and four RBI and fellow senior Lauren Cumbess launched a three-run home run, pacing No. 11 Kentucky to a 11-4 victory in 10 innings to complete a series sweep vs. Ole Miss on Sunday in Oxford, Miss.
Kentucky (36-8, 10-5 Southeastern Conference) trailed Ole Miss (20-22, 3-12 SEC) 4-2 heading into the sixth inning with the Rebels turning to senior pitcher Shelby Jo Fenter in the circle. After Fenter got the first out of the inning on a lineout to rightfield, Sagermann hit her seventh home run of the season to leftfield to cut the lead to 4-3 before fellow sophomore Christian Stokes belted her third homer of the season a few pitches later to tie the game 4-4.
The score stayed tied at 4-4 heading into the top of the 10th inning before Sagermann hammered a leadoff home run over the wall in centerfield to give UK a 5-4 lead it did not relinquish. The solo shot wasn’t the end of the rally as UK posted seven runs in the inning, getting a RBI single from senior Ginny Carroll, a two-RBI single from Gaines and a three-run homer by Cumbess.
The seven-run 10th inning gave UK an 11-4 lead heading to the bottom of the frame, which was all the support sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley needed, keeping the Rebels scoreless in the 10th to earn her 17th win of the season.
Kentucky’s 36 wins this season ties the second most of any team in program history in regular season action. The Wildcats had 36 regular-season wins in 2000 before the 2013 team posted 38 regular-season wins. Entering Rachel Lawson’s tenure at Kentucky in 2008, the Wildcats had only won 10 or more conference games twice in program history, but have now accomplished that task in six straight years under Lawson’s guidance after earning its 10th SEC win Sunday.
UK claimed the series against Ole Miss after a pair of 3-1 victories Friday and Saturday. The series win marked the seventh straight for the Wildcats over the Rebels with UK claiming series wins in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and now 2014. The stretch of seven consecutive series wins is the longest for UK over any league team in program history. Kentucky is now 13-4 against Ole Miss under Lawson’s seven-year tenure.
The series win was the fourth of the season for Kentucky in five league sets. The Wildcats started league action by winning two of three games at Mississippi State, who was receiving votes at the time, before claiming two wins at then-No. 16 Missouri the following weekend. After dropping a series to then-No. 21 Auburn two weekends ago, UK has responded with series wins over then-No. 18 Texas A&M and Ole Miss. The four series wins this season in conference action ties the third most SEC series wins in school history. UK also won four league sets in 2000, 2009, 2010 and 2013. The Wildcats won five conference series in 2011 and a program-best six in 2012.
Cumbess paced the Kentucky offense in the game, going 3-for-6 with three RBI and a run scored, including a three-run home run. The senior extended her hitting streak to six games and now has nine multi-RBI games this season. Gaines had two hits in the game to extend her reach-base-safely streak to 18 games with a two-run homer and two-run single, while Sagermann had two hits – both solo home runs – to move her home run total to eight this season with a team-best 34 RBI.
Stokes was the only other Wildcat to post a multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and her third home run of the season, while sophomore outfielder Sylver Samuel went 1-for-4 with two runs scored, extending her hitting streak to a season-best seven games. Junior catcher Griffin Joiner went 1-for-5 in the game with a single and run scored, while Carroll had a RBI single and Jolly went 1-for-4 with a walk and a single.
Freshman pitcher Shannon Smith started in the circle for Kentucky, throwing 2.1 innings, allowing two runs – all earned – on three hits with two strikeouts. Nunley replaced Smith with two runners on in the third inning and allowed two runs before moving to first base for freshman Meagan Prince to throw a near perfect sixth and seventh innings. Nunley reentered the game in the bottom of the eighth inning and tossed three strong innings to pick up the win, moving to 17-4 this season in the circle. Nunley threw 5.2 innings on the day, allowing two earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts.
Ole Miss started Carly Hummel in the circle with the senior throwing 8.2 innings, allowing three runs – all earned – on seven hits with six strikeouts. Hummel threw the first five innings of the game before making way for Fenter, who recorded an out to start the sixth and then gave up back-to-back homers and was removed from the game. Hummel reentered in the sixth and pitched well until giving up the home run to Sagermann to start the 10th. Hummel received the loss, moving to 9-9 on the year. Madi Osias tossed the final inning, allowing six earned runs on four hits with two strikeouts.
Offensively, senior Londen Ladner paced Ole Miss, going 3-for-4 with two RBI, while Allison Brown and Courtney Syrett each record RBI as well.
The Wildcats will be back in action next weekend when it hosts Arkansas in SEC play. The series starts Friday with a 6 p.m. ET first pitch before a 6 p.m. ET start on Saturday and 1 p.m. ET series finale on Sunday.
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Kentucky – 36-8, 10-5 SEC
Ole Miss – 20-22, 3-12 SEC
Kentucky – No. 11 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25; No. 11 in NFCA/USA Today Top 25
Ole Miss – not ranked
Friday, April 11
Kentucky def. Ole Miss 3-1
Saturday, April 12
Kentucky def. Ole Miss 3-1
Sunday, April 13
Kentucky def. Ole Miss 11-4 (10)