Cats split first two series games, end losing streak


Kentucky junior Alex Martens swings at a pitch 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

The No. 18 UK softball team (22-12, 7-4 SEC) entered its road series against the No. 13 Arkansas Razorbacks (24-11, 5-6 SEC) on a four-game losing streak. After extending that losing streak with a 1-0 loss Friday night, the Cats found their rhythm once more with a 16-2 blowout victory Saturday afternoon.

Friday’s game was a tightly contested matchup. Both starting pitchers came out firing in a pitchers’ duel between Cats’ pitcher Grace Baalman (5-6) and Razorbacks’ pitcher Autumn Storms (12-3). Both teams remained scoreless for the first five innings.

Danielle Gibson got it going for the Razorbacks with a solo shot home run in the fifth inning to put Arkansas up for good, 1-0.

Despite the loss, that’s the only blemish Humes had on her performance Friday. She pitched a complete game and notched a career-high nine strikeouts, all while allowing only four hits and two walks. Storms matched that with six strikeouts of her own in the shutout.

The Cats seemingly put that loss behind them Saturday afternoon. In the first two innings, scoring was the order. After Katie Reed and Abbey Cheek each scored on a passed ball in the first inning, Alex Martens drove in an RBI single that same inning.

An inning later, the game was already out of reach. Jenny Schaper and Reed drove in RBI singles and Reed scored again on a throwing error. Martens had another RBI single before Mallory Peyton slammed a two-run home run to put the Cats up 9-0.

Ashley Diaz drove in two runs on a single in the bottom of the second to cut the Cats’ lead to 10-2. That wouldn’t matter for Arkansas, though, because the Cats threw an afterparty for the next two innings.

In the third inning, Cheek hit a solo home run to make it 11-2. An inning later, Lauren Johnson scored on a fielder’s choice and pitcher Autumn Humes hit a groundout RBI. Cheek showed off her hitting power again with a three-run home run to make it 16-2. The game was mercy-ruled after five innings.

Humes (8-5) pitched the entire game and collected four strikeouts in the process. The 16 runs scored by UK is a season high. It’s also a program-best for an SEC game.

The Cats will have a chance to claim the series tomorrow at 2 p.m.