Staff report | @KYKernelSports
The No. 17 ranked UK softball team won all five of its games in its last early season tournament, extending their season-long win streak to eight games.
The Cats began play in the Under Armour Invitational by beating Illinois and host USF, who played in Women’s College World Series last season.
Both games would go to extra innings, but the Cats would get some much needed offense from sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner, who went 2-3 against Illinois with her fourth home run of the year. Joiner’s 14 RBI’s is just shy of her season total from last year.
The Cats defeated Illinois 5-4 on an Alice O’Brien RBI single that brought home Joiner in the eighth.
In the second game of the day junior Lauren Cumbess was the MVP at the plate and on the mound, going 2-4 with two RBIs, while coming on in relief to throw five hitless innings, picking up the 6-3 win in nine innings
On Saturday the Cats would pick up two more wins, beating Loyola Marymount and Central Michigan.
Freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley picked up her ninth win of the year in comeback fashion. After giving up three runs in the first Nunley did not allow a run in the final six innings, helping to lead the Cats to a 4-3 victory. On the year Nunley is 9-0 with a 2.28 ERA.
Cumbess shined again in game two, pitching seven innings and allowing only one run on three hits while striking out seven. Cumbess picked up her second win of the weekend and is off to a 4-1 start on the year with a 2.39 ERA.
O’Brien led the Cats offensively with her two-RBI single in the third inning. The Cats would get all three runs in the third and hold on for a 3-1 win over Central Michigan.
In the last game of the weekend the Cats had to come from behind for the third straight game, defeating Western Michigan 8-4 on Sunday.
With the win the Cats have won 13 of their last 14 games, the only loss coming to No. 1 Oklahoma.
Nunley pitched another gem for the Cats, coming on in relief to pitch 6.2 innings and allowing only two runs on four hits. The win was the tenth for Nunley on the season, her third of the weekend.
The Cats will now head back to Lexington for their home opener on Wednesday at 5 p.m. against Marshall.