By Derek Terry
A grand slam from senior pitcher Lauren Cumbess and a home run from freshman outfielder Breanne Ray helped propel No. 11 UK softball to a 10-0, five-inning win over Mississippi Valley State on Wednesday at John Cropp Stadium.
The Cats scored four runs in both the second and third innings to help secure the win. Cumbess led the team with four RBIs. Ray, sophomore infielder Nikki Sagermann and senior outfielder Emily Gaines all drove in one run.
The Cats struck first when senior outfielder Ginny Carroll and Sagermann came around to score on a throwing error by Mississippi Valley State senior pitcher Cassandra Rivera in the bottom of the first inning.
UK had a chance to add to the scoreboard in that inning, but senior outfielder Emily Jolly struck out with the bases loaded to end the scoring threat and leave the score at 2-0.
The Cats loaded the bases in the bottom of the second and Cumbess promptly unloaded them for the first grand slam of her career.
“It felt great,” Cumbess said. “I’ve always had one-run or two-run home runs, but never a grand slam. It was nice to finally hit a grand slam.”
Mississippi Valley State loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the third inning, but Cumbess worked out of the jam by striking out senior outfielder Brianna Holmes for the first out and forcing freshman catcher Courtenay Brooks to line into a double play to end the inning.
UK head coach Rachel Lawson was pleased with Cumbess.
“Lauren was incredible,” Lawson said. “Anytime you can get an athlete that can pitch as many quality innings as she did and then come up and hit a grand slam, it’s a pretty special day.”
Cumbess pitched four shutout innings to earn the victory. Her record improved to 9-0 on the season.
UK’s 10 runs in the game tied a season high. UK will start a three-game series against Ole Miss at 7 p.m. Friday in Oxford, Miss.