Kentucky and Georgia split games in Sunday doubleheader


Kentucky Wildcat junior Kayla Kowalik (99) beats a throw to first base during the UK vs. Morehead State game on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at Cropp Softball Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 13-1. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Barkley Truax

It was a tale of two games between the No. 10 Wildcats and No. 20 Bulldogs during Sunday’s doubleheader in Lexington. 

Originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon but postponed due to rain, Kentucky defeated Georgia in their first matchup of their Sunday doubleheader 11-3 after five innings. 

Freshman shortstop Erin Coffel added to her home run total in the first match up, smashing a hit to left field with two runners on base in the bottom of the third, giving Kentucky the 5-1 advantage. Later on in the bottom of the fifth, Coffel took another shot to left field, she singled and led Kayla Kowalik home. Coffel would finish the game leading Kentucky with four RBI’s.

Kentucky seemed to be running off the momentum from Coffel’s home run for the remainder of the first game and finished with 11 runs on 10 hits with only one error. The Cats scored six runs in the fifth to put the game away early. 

Kentucky came out just as strong in the second game, at first. Georgia would score eight unanswered runs in their come-behind victory.

Kowalik went yard at Kentucky’s first at bat of the game, crushing the ball right down center field. Lauren Johnson would double down the right field line, bringing Coffel and Tatum Spangler home and giving Kentucky a 3-0 lead after one.

The bats couldn’t be stopped down the stretch for Kentucky, batting .538 heading into the third inning. The long afternoon for Georgia’s bullpen continued as Coffel was walked with the bases loaded, bringing Miranda Stoddard home. Even though Kentucky left bases loaded to end the third, they began the fourth up 7-1 and threatened to close Georgia out in five for the second time Sunday afternoon. 

After a quiet fourth inning for both squads, another single, this time from Coffel brought Kowalik home and had Georgia with their backs against the wall down 8-1 with two runners on base. Georgia pulled through, extending the game two more innings. 

Georgia’s Lacey Fincher solo homered to center field to begin the sixth, halting the Bulldog’s four inning skid without a run. That was only the beginning, however, as Jayda Kearney hit a three-run home run, cutting the Kentucky lead to three.

Georgia’s comeback was in full swing as the seventh inning began as Sydney Kuma’s single brought home a runner and all of a sudden, Kentucky was only up by two. Sara Mosley took that personally, as she crushed a three-run home run to center field and gave Georgia their first lead in either game Sunday, 9-8.

Kentucky had runners on the corners in the bottom of the seventh, Spangler’s grounder gave birth to a double-play to end the ballgame. Kentucky and Georgia split the day’s games heading into the rubber match tomorrow.

After a strong showing in both games this afternoon, Kowalik cemented her 60th hit this season, which is the most by any division one softball player in the nation. The Cats finished the second game with eight runs, 12 hits and two errors. 

Kentucky will be back at John Cropp Stadium tomorrow afternoon for the third and final game of the series against Georgia at 7:00 p.m. on SECN+ and ESPN+.