Strong start propels No. 3 Auburn over No. 12 UK softball 9-0

Jack Pilgrim

The third ranked Auburn Tigers came to town for a top 15 matchup against UK, where an abundance of fans piled into John Cropp Stadium expecting a game to fit the bill. It wouldn’t take long, however, for the highly anticipated matchup to turn into a blood letting.

A three-run home run to center field by Auburn’s Jade Rhodes gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead in the first inning, and they never looked back.

In the fifth inning, the Tigers turned on the jets, scoring five runs on just three hits. A fielder’s choice scored the first run, and then a UK error scored another. A single up the middle scored an additional two runs, and then another unearned run extended the lead to 8-0 into the middle of the third.

To top things off, Auburn scored another run in the fourth inning off of a Rhodes single, pushing the lead to what eventually became the final score, 9-0. 

UK pitcher Meagan Prince had been dominant on the mound all season long, but the Tigers got the best of her, as she gave up eight runs, six of which were earned. She also gave up four hits, three walks, and a home run in her first loss on the mound this year.

Senior CLASS Award finalist Kelsey Nunley came in to replace Prince in the third, where she came in for just 0.2 innings before being replaced by Shannon Smith to finish the game. Nunley’s ERA now stands at an astounding .074 after giving up no runs in yet another performance.

In one of the few bright spots of the game, Smith competed very well on the mound for the Cats, as she gave up just one run, two hits, and one walk, along with striking out five batters.

Maisie Steed and Sylver Samuel were the only UK batters with hits today, as they both went one for two at the plate. Nikki Sagermann also got on base twice with two walks.

With the loss, UK moves to 31-6 on the year and 8-2 in conference play. Despite the loss, the Cats are still tied for first in the SEC with Florida, and can take over that top spot with success in the rest of the series against the Tigers.

The Cats will look for revenge tomorrow, as they will face off against the Tigers again at 3 p.m. ET, and again on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.