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Kentucky Kernel

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No. 15 Kentucky softball finishes undefeated at Wings ETC Classic in South Carolina

Kentucky pitcher Stephanie Schoonover pitches during the Kentucky vs.Parkland softball game on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2023, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 9-0. Photo by Sydney Yonker | Staff

No. 15 Kentucky softball (11-2) had an undefeated weekend at the Wings ETC Classic tournament on the campus of USC Upstate in Spartanburg, South Carolina, from Friday, Feb. 23-25.

The Wildcats won all five of their games – two against Akron, two against the host USC Upstate and one against Monmouth.

Game one of the tournament was against Akron on Friday afternoon, which Kentucky won 7-3.

The key play of that game was a three-run home run by senior Grace Lorsung in the first inning that created a lead that the Cats kept for the rest of the game.

Freshman Ally Hutchins and junior Taylor Ebbs each hit a home run in the fifth inning as well. 

Fifth-year Jaden Vickers pitched six of the seven innings in the game, striking out 12 of the 23 batters she faced.

Later that evening, Kentucky took the field again to face USC Upstate.

The Wildcats dominated throughout that game, scoring nine runs on eight hits which led to a win by mercy rule after only five innings of play.

Senior Erin Coffel drove in three of the nine runs, hitting a leadoff homer in the first and a two-run double in the second.

In the fifth inning, Kentucky freshman Peyton Plotts hit her first collegiate home run, putting the Wildcats in a position for the game to end early by mercy rule.

Senior Stephanie Schoonover pitched a complete game shutout, only allowing two baserunners and striking out eight.

The following morning, Kentucky played its third game of the tournament against Monmouth, with Vickers getting another start in the circle.

Kentucky Wildcats catcher Kayla Kowalik (99) swings the bat during the No. 16 Kentucky vs. Dayton softball home opener game on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff (Jack Weaver)

The team scored in each of the first four innings, including a home run by Coffel in the fourth.

Vickers pitched a complete game, allowing only three hits and one walk, while striking out four.

The Cats faced Akron again on Saturday afternoon in a game that was much closer than the previous day’s game between the two teams.

After a scoreless first inning, Kentucky jumped out to a 5-0 lead by the middle of the third inning. 

Coffel and Ebbs each hit a homer to help create that lead.

Things took a turn after that, as the Zips hit two home runs of their own and a sacrifice fly to tie the game.

Kentucky did not give up, however, as Ebbs and Hutchins each hit an RBI single in the seventh to help secure the 7-5 victory.

Schoonover was credited with the win, pitching four innings and striking out eight. 

Freshman Sydney Langdon and junior Alexia Lacatena also pitched during the game, with Langdon striking out three batters during her time in the circle.

The Cats closed out the tournament on Sunday with another game against USC Upstate, this time with Langdon starting at pitcher.

The game got off to a shaky start for Kentucky, as the Spartans held a 2-0 lead after the first inning and into the second.

Nonetheless, the third and fourth innings saw the Wildcats scoring seven runs, three of which came from a home run by Lorsung – her third of the year.

USC Upstate came back in the fifth inning and scored four runs to cut the lead to one, which lasted until the seventh inning.

Kentucky scored four runs in the top of the seventh on four different scoring plays to complete the 11-6 victory.

Langdon pitched 4.1 innings and recorded her first collegiate win, only allowing two hits and striking out eight of the 19 batters she faced.

Following the tournament, the Cats stand at 11-2 with the eighth best overall win percentage in the SEC.

Kentucky will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, to play five games in the Queen City Classic from March 1-3. The first game of the tournament, against Fordham, is scheduled to begin on Friday at 3 p.m. EST.

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