Kentucky unable to win offensive battle against Missouri, loses 8-7


Kentucky pitcher Miranda Stoddard (1) pitches during the UK vs. Oklahoma softball game on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Oklahoma won 9-1. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Ian Alvano

After 15 runs and 17 hits in an offensive affair, Missouri defeated No. 9 Kentucky 8-7. With the win, the Tigers took the series before the finale on Monday afternoon.  

Kentucky now moves to 30-13 (9-8 SEC) on the season. UK improved from its performance on Saturday afternoon, after they were blanked 13-0 by the Tigers.   

Tatum Spangler started the night in the circle for Kentucky and proceeded to go the whole game, giving up eight runs on eleven hits. This was Spangler’s first start for UK this year.  

“Tatum’s done an exceptional job for us; she’s been great in a closing role. Now that we’re pushing to the postseason, we want to make sure that she gets her innings, she gets in shape, so she can start carrying us through the postseason,” said head coach Rachel Lawson after the game.  

Kara Daly opened the scoring for Mizzou in the top of the second with a deep drive that just snuck past the foul pole in left field. Kentucky was immediately able to get the runs back in the bottom half of the inning.  

Meeko Harrison’s RBI single tied the game up at one, then Kayla Kowalik’s two-run line drive homer put Kentucky up two. The blast was Kowalik’s fourth of the year.  

A familiar face came back to haunt Kentucky in the second game of the series.  

After Kimberly Wert’s seven-RBI outing on Saturday, she punished the Cats again in the top of the third. Her two-run shot tied the game at three and gave her a total of nine RBIs in two games. The Tigers added another run in the fourth to put them up 4-3.  

Rylea Smith’s second infield single of the day tied the game up again in the bottom of the fourth, before a five-run fifth inning got underway at John Cropp Stadium.  

Mizzou got two runs to open the fifth. Alex Honnold’s grounder hit Spangler in the circle and Hannah McGivern came around to score. In the next at bat, Daly hit another groundball to Spangler and her errant throw to first brought home another run for the Tigers.  

Spangler was able to help her own cause in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI groundout. Off the bench, Renee Abernathy came in to pinch-hit with two outs. She hit a rope to dead center to put Kentucky up 7-6. John Cropp Stadium erupted with “Go Big Blue” chants after Abernathy’s bomb.  

Abernathy said her approach for coming in that spot was, “I was just trying to stay calm in that moment, hit the ball hard and score a run for my team. Keep it simple.”  

The lead did not last long for UK.  

Brooke Wilmes’ solo home run tied the game for the third time in the top of the sixth. The Wildcats were not able to get a runner on in the bottom half of the inning. 

Missouri re-took the lead in the seventh after Emma Raabe’s late RBI single. Kentucky’s batters went 1-2-3 in the seventh and the Cats were unable to mount a comeback.  

Kentucky will look to salvage a win in the series in the finale on Monday night versus Mizzou. A loss would take Kentucky to .500 in league play.