UK softball begins season with a major win against a top-10 team, an undefeated weekend


Kentucky junior Grace Baalman pitches during the game against Virginia Tech in the NCAA tournament Regionals on Saturday, May 18, 2019, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Rick Childress

The No. 15 ranked UK softball team began their season this weekend with some statement wins.

The Wildcats were undefeated against college competition during the season-opening NFCA Lead-Off Classic in Clearwater, Fla.

After sweeping opening day on Friday—defeating Liberty University and Texas State—and stunning N.C. State with a walk-off grand slam on Saturday, the Cats topped off their weekend with a 7-0 shutout win over No. 7 Minnesota—a Golden Gophers team that saw its season end last year in the College World Series.

Sophomore Meghan Schorman and junior Grace Baalman combined to throw seven scoreless innings against the Gophers on Sunday. Schorman struck out four and gave up only four hits in 4.1 innings, while Baalman finished the remainder of the game, striking out three and surrendering no hits.

Senior Autumn Humes delivered the Cats in their 6-2 walk-off win over N.C. State on Saturday. With bases loaded in the eighth inning of 2-2 game, Humes smashed a ball over the left field wall, giving the team their third victory.

Freshman Rylea Smith was similarly heroic on Friday as her walk-off single to center field brought in the game-winning run in a 2-1 victory over Texas State.

Through their first weekend of play, neither Schorman or Baalman have given up a run. The only runs scored against the team while they were pitching were on errors.

The Cats only blemish of the weekend came when they shut out in an exhibition game against the USA National Team on Saturday.

Next weekend the team travels to Tempe, Ariz. for the Littlewood Classic. There they’ll play five games in three days.

Here’s their upcoming schedule:

Friday: Kentucky vs. Boise State, 4 p.m.; Kentucky vs. Arizona State, 9 p.m.

Saturday: Kentucky vs. Illinois State, 4 p.m.; Kentucky vs. Arizona State, 9 p.m.

Sunday: Kentucky vs. Detroit Mercy, 2:30 p.m.