Kentucky softball shuts out NKU 13-0


Kentucky freshman Kayla Kowalik gets ready to hit during the game against Miami University (OH) on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 9-1. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Mohammad Ahmad

After losing its series against Ole Miss this past weekend, the No. 23/24 UK softball team (25-15, 8-7 SEC) got back on its feet with a 13-0 run-rule victory over the Northern Kentucky University Norse (11-21, 4-4 Horizon) in Highland Heights on Tuesday evening. 

Freshman pitcher Tatum Spangler (4-0) remains undefeated after a maestro performance on the mound Tuesday. She pitched all five innings of the game, allowing only a walk and four hits to go with three strikeouts. It’s the freshman’s first career shutout in her second-ever complete game pitched.

Spangler got some strong help on the other side of the ball as well– Jenny Schaper was popping the bat as she hit a season-high two home runs and tied her career high for RBI in a game with five. 

Schaper wasn’t alone: four Cats had multi-hit games Tuesday evening. Schaper, Abbey Cheek and Kayla Kowalik each had two hits while Alex Martens added three. 

Things got going in the second inning when Katie Reed hit a sacrifice bunt to bring home Jaci Babbs for the first run of the day. Spangler and Maclai Branson each hit sacrifice flies to bring home a run a piece to make it 3-0 Cats.

Cheek showed off her power at the plate an inning later with a solo home run. The Cats’ all-time leader in home runs, Cheek now has a team high 15 homers just this season. Reed brought home another run off of a groundout to make it 5-0 Cats.

The Wildcats sealed the deal the following inning. Lauren Johnson hit an RBI triple– her first this season. Schaper popped her first home run of the day, a two-run shot, to make it 8-0 Cats. Martens grounded out to second to bring home another run.

Schaper put the icing on the cake in the fifth inning. She smashed a three-run shot to decorate her stat-line and make the score 12-0 Cats. Martens hit a double to bring home one more run before the game was in the books. 

Kentucky won its 11th run-rule game this season, which is the most the Cats have ever had under head coach Rachel Lawson in one season. All in all, the offense had 14 hits Tuesday– the fifth time this season it’s had at least 14 hits in a game. 

The Wildcats will continue their road trip and head into Baton Rouge to take on the Louisiana State University Tigers this weekend. UK and LSU will play a three-game series beginning on Friday night at 7 p.m. ET. SEC Network+ will have the broadcast.