UK softball sweeps Missouri after huge comeback

Kentucky freshman Abbey Cheek hits the ball during the Wildcat’s game against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels John Cropp Stadium on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Taylor Pence

Chase Campbell

At the top of the sixth inning in UK softball’s series finale on Sunday, the game looked entirely over.

In enemy territory, the Cats were down five runs for four straight innings, and anything they did was matched by a Missouri offense that was clicking on every at-bat. A 3 RBI homerun had devastated UK in the first inning, and it seemed that the Tigers would fend the Cats off.

However, the Cats’ offense had a different idea, as they came back on the Tigers to win the series finale 10-8 to complete the sweep.

After a double from Erin Rethlake to open the sixth inning, Mizzou switched pitchers, giving freshman Parker Conrad a shot at the mound while the game still appeared to be over. This was not the case, and the UK batters had just found their new favorite pitcher.

After shortstop Katie Reed flied out, left fielder Bailey Vick got a double, and pushed Erin Rethlake home. It wasn’t much, but it seemed to be a run that would make the score look slightly more forgiving.

Catcher Jenny Schaper grounded out after that at-bat, and with one runner on base with two outs left, it seemed near impossible for the Cats to come back from this one.

What ensued were four at-bats that would change the course of the game.

Senior Breanne Ray was able to get on base after a Missouri error, as well as push Vick home. Ray would end up reaching third base before the ball would be put in play again, thanks to a wild pitch. This wouldn’t have mattered, however, because on a full count, slugger Abbey Cheek hit a homerun that brought the Cats to within one.

Missouri was still in control, their grip was just a bit loosened, so they kept Conrad at the mound. After the Tigers walked Alex Martens, junior Rachael Metzger hit a homerun of her own, putting the Cats up one with two innings to go.

After that, UK played their lockdown defense that they’re so well known for, as they held Missouri scoreless for the last two innings to complete the series sweep.

After two impressive wins by the Cats on Friday and Saturday, not many expected Sunday to be the game with the highest combined runs for UK all season. Their next highest scoring game was all the way back against Memphis, where they won 12-0.

After such an exhilarating series the Cats will get a bit of a break, as they’ll travel to Richmond to take on in-state opponent Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday, April 25. Being in the Ohio Valley Conference, the Colonels will likely be a bit of a breather from the gauntlet of the SEC.