UK softball goes 4-0 in John Cropp Classic


University of Kentucky freshman Grace Baalman pitches during the home opener against the University of Dayton on Thursday, March 1, 2018 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

The UK softball team had a 4-0 weekend at home in the 2018 John Cropp Classic, extending the Cats’ win-streak to nine, as they played Ohio University and Southeast Missouri State twice each in the John Cropp Classic.  

The Cats’ first game of the weekend resulted in a 5-3 win over Ohio. Kentucky scored early in the first inning on a Katie Reed triple and a Jenny Schaper double. The rest of their runs were earned in the fifth inning, when Reed doubled to left field and Schaper homered, making the score 5-0.

OU scored its three runs in the final two innings of the game.

Autumn Humes entered the game in the seventh inning and earned her first career save, which was the second save by UK pitching in back-to-back games.

Kentucky’s pitching made another sensational showing in the second game of Saturday’s play as Grace Baalman held SEMO scoreless for six complete innings. She allowed just three hits and three walks, and also set a career-high of eight strikeouts.

Things were slow at the plate for Kentucky against the Redhawks as the Cats were down 2-0 until the fifth inning and didn’t earn a hit until Schaper’s lead-off single in the fourth inning. Schaper came around to score on a Brooklin Hinz single, and Hinz tied the game on a Mallory Peyton RBI single.

The Cats would then score again in the sixth on a Bailey Vick infield single, and added another run in the seventh inning when Erin Rethlake singled to seal the deal at 4-2.

The 14-3 Cats began Sunday’s games with strong hitting as they had 12 hits and 11 runs in their 11-2 win over SEMO.

Hinz scored Vick in the first inning on a single to the right side for Kentucky’s first run of the day. Catcher Rachael Metzger earned her first hit on a two-run homer to left field in the second inning to bring the Cats to a 3-0 lead. 

The Redhawks scored two in the third before Kentucky earned a whopping five runs in the fifth inning on singles from Schaper and Hinz, and a three-run homer from Abbey Cheek. Another homer from Peyton in the seventh inning brought Kentucky’s lead up to 11-2.

To end the weekend, Kentucky had another dominant game at the plate. The Wildcats defeated OU 11-1 and racked in a total of 14 hits in the four-and-a-half inning game.

“The biggest thing was they just executed what they were capable of, so I think that’s kind of the big deal with the dominance,” said Kentucky head coach Rachel Lawson. 

The first inning resulted in four runs on two singles and a double from Reed, Schaper and Metzger. Another single from Hinz scored a run in the third, and then came a homer to left field to drive in another run, making the score 6-0.

Four more runs were added to the scoreboard for the Cats in the fourth and final inning at bat for the Cats. Reed scored unearned after Hinz hit into a double play before Metzger doubled to right field, scoring Cheek.

“I think for our team, the thing we keep talking about is that it’s really important that we play together, we play as a team,” Lawson said. “We’re a team that when we’re playing great defense and we get good effort on the mound, then what happens offensively, if we can work together as a team we can put up a lot of runs.” 

The Cats’ next game will be Tuesday, March 6, against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at 4 p.m.