Softball concludes ‘Bama series with thriller win


Kentucky Wildcat Kayla Kowalik (99) slides into third plate during the University of Kentucky vs. Alabama softball game on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. UK lost 11-6. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Seth Martin


It was a massive walk-off victory on Monday night as No. 7 Kentucky won their first SEC series of the season against No. 3 Alabama at John Cropp Stadium.


The Lady Cats have now racked up three top-five wins in SEC play, bolstering their case as one of the nation’s elite teams this season. After only being able to notch one win in a tough series at Florida, Kentucky showed improvement this time around, winning two straight vs Alabama to clinch the series after dropping the first game. 


The Wildcats benefited from strong pitching in the series, as they looked to contain the more volatile Bama offense.


In game one of the series on Saturday, Kentucky fell victim to an offensive explosion from the Tide. 


The Crimson Tide would jump out to a 6-0 lead by the middle of the fifth inning, but Kentucky wouldn’t go down without a fight. 


In the bottom of the fifth, the Wildcats put up four runs to make the score 6-4, making things more interesting going into the sixth. These four runs would be fueled by a couple RBI’s from sophomore Rylea Smith and senior Mallory Peyton, not to mention the help from a couple errors on Bama’s part. 


After a scoreless sixth inning from both sides in a close game, Alabama would put the game almost out of reach as they powered in five runs in the top of the seventh, raising their lead up to 11-4 entering the final frame of play for the Wildcats.


The seven run lead was too much for the Cats as they were only able to put up two runs, including another RBI from senior Mallory Peyton, before falling to a final score of 11-6.


In game two of the series, Kentucky would get the ball rolling as they notched their first win of two in the series, winning 4-2 in a low scoring affair.


This time around the Lady Cats would be the ones jumping out to an early lead, leading 4-0 after four innings of play thanks to RBI’s from sophomore Miranda Stoddard, junior Kayla Kowalik, and senior Mallory Peyton who had two RBI’s herself. 


Despite a couple scores late from the Tide, fifth year Senior Autumn Humes improved to 11-2 as a starter on the season, allowing only six hits compared to her five strikeouts.


In the final and biggest game of the series, Kentucky would become the comeback cats as they came back from a 4-0 deficit to the Tide to win 5-4 in extra innings.


Kentucky would finally get things going in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a two run home run from freshman standout Erin Coffel, cutting Bama’s lead in half heading into the seventh. 


After fifth year senior Autumn Humes made quick work in her first inning of the day getting three outs in three batters. It was down to the Wildcat’s offense to save the day in the bottom of the seventh.


The Lady Cats would put up two separate solo home runs from junior Renee Abernathy and sophomore Rylea Smith to tie things at 4-4. Next up in the order was Erin Coffel, who the Crimson Tide would intentionally walk before finishing up the inning to head to extra innings. 


In the eighth and final inning of play, Kentucky would earn the walk off win after loading the bases. Sophomore Rylea Smith would yet again make an impact, hitting the game winning single RBI as junior Tatum Spangler would slide in for the game winning run


After a thrilling series and final game, Kentucky will set their sights on a quick mid-week matchup vs Morehead State on March 31, which will be available for viewing on SEC Network with first pitch at 7 p.m. ET. 


The SEC slate won’t get any easier as Kentucky will then travel to Knoxville, Tennessee to take on No. 21 Tennessee in a weekend series. 


All three games will be available for viewing on national television, with the first game being on ESPNU, April 2.