Baalman shines in UK softball’s series loss to Georgia


Junior Third-baseman Abbey Cheek swings at the ball on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Ky won 8-0. Photo by Edward Justice | Staff

Erika Bonner

In a tight series matchup, the UK softball team took a tight 1-2 loss to Georgia over the weekend.

The Cats grabbed a 4-2 win in the series on Saturday after their 1-0 loss Friday evening. A key play for the Wildcats was an Alex Martens two-RBI single to tie the game up at two.

Abbey Cheek made the difference with her two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning to take the Wildcats up 4-2 after being entered to pinch-hit.

A concern for Kentucky head coach Rachel Lawson after game one was that her hitters needed to make more of an impact at the plate, and they did just that. After only having two hits on Friday, the Cats improved with six in their game two win, and eight in Sunday’s loss.

“I think they’re just figuring out what to do and when to step up,” Lawson said. “So I was really pleased with the number of runners we had on.”

Despite their loss, along with an impressive defensive effort from short-stop Katie Reed, an important part for Kentucky in game three was Grace Baalman. In addition to allowing zero runs until the seventh inning, Baalman assisted the Cats’ only run, an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning. It made for her second RBI of the season.

“I really think that she’s definitely somebody who has the makings to be an All-American as she gets a little more experience and a little older,” said Lawson. “Even today, she came in and she got our RBI to drive in the run, so I think she can do a lot of things.

Georgia responded in the top of the seventh by scoring three runs to take the lead to 3-1. The Bulldogs ended up with a total of 10 hits.

“Georgia’s an excellent hitting team. I think that they were able to get into their offense when they got their lead-off batter on and that’s what they do well, and that’s why they’re one of the best offensive teams in the country,” said Lawson.

Kentucky’s next matchup will be on Tuesday when the Cats will take on Northern Kentucky University at 6 p.m. They will look to go 5-0 against teams in the state of Kentucky, as they’ve already defeated Louisville, Eastern Kentucky twice, and Western Kentucky so far this season.