UK softball just falls short of comeback in final Friday home game

Chase Campbell

Starting their weekend series against No. 4 Texas A&M, No. 18 UK softball took to the field Friday for their last home series of the season. The Cats clawed for almost every inning, but early lapses in defense hurt UK as they fell short of the victory, 4-2.

The Cats couldn’t seem to get a consistent offense going early, as they had four different innings where they only had three at-bats. Shortstop Katie Reed said that this was the main problem for their offense.

“In the first couple innings, we had trouble putting the ball in play, and we didn’t really make them play defense,” Reed said.

UK head coach Rachel Lawson emphasized the “timely hits” that the Cats failed to get were costly against a powerhouse team like the Aggies.

“That was really the story of the game, when they had an opportunity, when they put some people on base, and they had an opportunity to knock them in, they did that,” Lawson said. “We didn’t put a lot of runners on base until the seventh inning.”

UK didn’t struggle for the entire game, however. After going down 4-0 through three innings, the Cats held the Aggies scoreless for the rest of the game. Kelsee Henson scored the first run for the Cats off a wild pitch in the bottom of the third, but UK still looked overwhelmed.

It wasn’t until the seventh inning where the Cats would challenge A&M’s lead, when they loaded the bases with only one out, trailing by two. Left fielder Bailey Vick, who boasts the best batting average on the team, was struck out swinging by freshman closer Payton McBride, giving the Cats their second out. This shut off UK’s momentum and the rest was history.

The Cats weren’t without their exciting plays, however. They notched two double plays, and an extended play in the bottom of the seventh, where the runners were scrambled by the fielders, but all ended up at their bases after several changes in direction.

Whatever the result of this game, UK still remains optimistic.

“They’re ranked No. 4 in the nation, so it’s not going to hurt our RPI at all,” senior pitcher Meagan Prince said after the game. “But it did show a lot of our girls that we can compete with other top five teams.”

The Cats will have another shot at the Aggies on Senior Day at 3 p.m. on Saturday.