Cats overcome early struggles to complete sweep at Arkansas


Shortstop Christian Stokes turns a double play during the game between the University of Kentucky softball team vs. University of Arkansas at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Ky.,on Saturday, April 19, 2014. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff 

Anthony Crawford

No. 12 UK Softball was able to cap the weekend off on a high note closing out its series against Arkansa on the road with a 12-4 victory.

The win finishes the sweep for the Cats in Fayetteville, Arkansas, marking the third straight weekend win for the team with two coming on the road. The victory also puts UK at 30-4 on the season and 8-1 in SEC play.

The Cats started the day finding themselves in a hole after the first inning. The Razorbacks were able to score four runners early in the game thanks to a questionable start by UK’s pitching staff.

Junior Shannon Smith got the start but was replaced after only one third of the inning. Smith walked two batters and hit another en route to allowing all four of Arkansas’ runs.

With the sweep in jeopardy, Smith was replaced by senior Kelsey Nunley who was able to right the ship for the Cats, allowing no additional runs in the first inning.

Nunley went on to have a dominant outing for the Cats with nine strikeouts while allowing only two hits and no runs. The win today moves her to 13-2 on the season.

After falling behind in the game early, UK was forced to play with its back against the wall for most until of the game. The Cats struggled to get much going until the top of the fourth quarter.

The Cats started the inning in good position with Katie Reed, Nikki Sagermann and Brooklin Hinz being walked in consecutive  at bats. A groundout then scored Reed to put UK on the board and moved Sagermann and Hinz into scoring position.

After an out, freshman Jenny Schaper stepped up and hit a two RBI hit into right center field to score both Sagermann and Hinz and put UK in position to tie the game. Abbey Cheek took advantage of the opportunity and delivered a two-run homer to give UK the lead.

UK continued rolling in the fifth inning, following a five-run fourth inning with another five runs. Arkansas faced some trouble on the mound, walking three-straight batters again to load the bases.

Junior Christian Stokes then stepped up to the plate and provided the highlight of the day for the Cats with a grand slam to right field. The Cats would score once more in the inning to give them a 10-4 lead.

The Cats would elect to not sit on a their lead as they would go on to score a run each in the last two innings, leading to a comfortable victory that only saw one innning that was less than dominant.

The Cats will stay on the road to face the Ohio Bobcats on Tuesday at 3 p.m.