April 19, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas softball team hit two solo home runs in the fourth inning to take a one-run lead it would not relinquish, defeating the No. 17 University of Kentucky softball team 4-1 in the series-opening game Friday at Bogle Park in Fayetteville, Ark.
The series continues Saturday with a 1 p.m. ET start and concludes Sunday with a 2 p.m. ET first pitch. Live stats and live video from the games will be available through the links provided below. Fans can also follow all the action by following @UKSoftball on Twitter.
Freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley started in the circle for Kentucky (33-13, 9-7 Southeastern Conference), throwing a complete game, allowing four runs – two earned – on five hits with seven strikeouts. The rookie hurler moves to 20-5 on the year with a 2.03 ERA.
Arkansas (29-16, 7-9 SEC) got a great pitching performance in the circle from Kimmy Beasley, who threw a complete game, allowing only one run on four hits with an impressive 11 strikeouts. Beasley is now 7-6 on the year with a 2.70 ERA.
Offensively, UK was paced by sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner, who went 2-for-3 with a run scored, while senior Alice O’Brien went 1-for-3 with an RBI. Junior pitcher/infielder Lauren Cumbess collected a hit in the game, extending her career-best hitting streak to 12 games.
Kentucky grabbed the first lead of the game with a two-out run in the fourth inning, moving to 19-3 this season when it scores first. After back-to-back strikeouts to start the inning, Joiner started a rally with a single that deflected off the pitcher’s glove, moving to third when Cumbess singled off the wall in centerfield. O’Brien then delivered the RBI with a single to leftfield, scoring Joiner. Beasley got out of the jam with a fly out to rightfield.
Arkansas answered by taking the lead 2-1 in the bottom of the frame, getting home runs from Sierra Bronkey and Jennifer Rambo. Nunley started the inning with a strikeout before giving up a high fly to rightfield by Bronkey that just got over the outstretched glove of Steed. After another strikeout, Rambo launched her fourth home run of the season over the wall in right-centerfield to give UA the 2-1 lead. After two walks and an infield single loaded the bases, Stephanie Canfield popped up to third to end the threat.
The Wildcats almost took the lead back in the sixth inning before a great defensive play in centerfield by Canfield. After a single to rightfield by Joiner, who was pinch ran for by Sarah Frazer, Cumbess took a 0-2 pitch to deep centerfield before Canfield jumped and caught it at the wall, appearing to rob a home run. Arkansas got out of the inning when O’Brien lined out sharply to rightfield.
Arkansas posted two insurance runs in the sixth inning. After a one-out single and a two-out walk, Devon Wallace hit a deep fly to centerfield that was misplayed, allowing two runs to score and sealing the win for the Razorbacks.
The Razorbacks lead the all-time series against Kentucky 28-16, including a 15-7 record in games played in Fayetteville. Sixth-year head coach Rachel Lawson is 6-8 against the Razorbacks at UK, including a 3-3 mark in Fayetteville as UK’s head coach. The Razorbacks lead the series 12-9 in games played in Lexington. The Wildcats have won five of the last eight games played between the two teams. UK took two of three games from Arkansas in 2010 before winning both games of a doubleheader in 2011. Last season, the two teams split a doubleheader in Lexington.
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 is available at www.UKathletics.com/secsoftball.
For the latest on UK softball, follow "@UKSoftball" on Twitter or like Kentucky Softball on Facebook.
Kentucky: 33-13, 9-7 SEC
Arkansas: 29-16, 7-9 SEC
Kentucky: No. 17 USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association; No. 17 ESPN.com/USA Softball
Arkansas: Receiving votes in both polls
Kentucky at Arkansas – 1 p.m. ET
Live Stats | Live Video
Kentucky at Arkansas – 2 p.m. ET
Live Stats | Live Video