Softball up to 9-0 following dominant weekend in North Carolina


Kentucky sophomore Kayla Kowalik returns to the dugout during the home opener against Texas A&M on Saturday, March 7, 2020, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 11-9. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Eric Decker

Kentucky softball swept another doubleheader on Sunday, pushing their spotless record to 9-0 behind a combined 24-0 score over North Carolina Central and Mount St. Mary’s. The No. 12 Wildcats won both of their games by a combined score of 24-0.

The first matchup for the No. 12 Cats came against the Eagles – just as it had the day prior – and again lasted only five innings before the mercy rule took effect. Triples by Renee Abernathy and Lauren Johnson helped sparked the Cats offense in each of the first two innings, putting them in front 5-0.

A nine spot from Kentucky’s offense in the fourth inning was the catalyst in ending the contest early. Grace Baalman and Kayla Kowalik each ripped three-run homers in the frame to push the lead to 14-0.

After a rough debut at Samford, Sloan Gayan was able to bounce back with an efficient appearance on the mound. The sophomore went three innings, allowing only two baserunners while notching four strikeouts during her outing. Stephanie Schoonover recorded the final six outs to cap game one.

The Wildcats were then able to close out Mt. St. Mary’s 10-0 in game two behind another stellar performance in the circle from Autumn Humes. The fifth-year senior earned her fourth win of the young season, striking out nine batters in five shutout innings for the complete-game.

Kowalik opened up the scoring in inning two by ripping her second three-run home run of the game, giving her six RBI between the two games.

Erin Coffel continued the scorching start to her collegiate career with a two-run home run in the fourth and an RBI triple in the fifth that forced the mercy rule after the bottom of the inning.

The Tar Heel state affairs proved to be fantastic for the Cats, as they built both confidence and momentum with six victories – four via the mercy rule – by 66 runs (76-10). They will now travel to Florida this weekend for another five games. The Aggies of New Mexico State and Panthers of Florida International are first in line, with first pitches being set for 12:00 p.m. E.T. and approximately 2:30 p.m. E.T. on Friday.