No. 15 UK Softball edges past IU in home opener


Junior pitcher Kelsey Nunley (33) pitches during the softball game against WKU on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 in Lexington. Photo by Hunter Mitchell | Staff

Jack Pilgrim

Junior pitcher Meagan Prince entered the game 9-0 on the year and found a way to dominate on the mound yet again in her ninth appearance in the UK Softball home opener at John Cropp Stadium. Including Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over Indiana, she has given up just four runs total in her last seven games.

On the year, Prince’s ERA stands at just over 1.86, good for second on the team behind UK pitching star Kelsey Nunley’s 0.81. Had she not given up six runs against New Mexico in February, her ERA would be down to just one, good for top 25 in the nation.

Heading into the 7th inning, Prince was working on a perfect game, which would have been her second no-hitter of the year. A one out Hoosier infield single broke up the feat, and a batter later, an RBI single down the left field line ended the shutout bid.

Nunley replaced Prince with two outs, and proceeded to strike out Indiana for the last out of the game.

Despite the late two hits and run, this was yet another unbelievable performance for the UK pitching corps, a group that has been unbelievable the entire season.

In years past, Nunley would have to carry the weight alone, as pitching depth was a major issue for the team. With Nunley, Prince, Erin Rethlake, and Shannon Smith, UK easily has one of the best pitching corps in the SEC, if not the entire NCAA.

Through four innings, the Cats couldn’t get much of anything going on offense. UK had a runner on base in each of the first three innings, but couldn’t convert and bring any of the Cats home.

Despite the slow start, UK found a spark with senior infielder Maisie Steed’s solo shot home run to left field in the bottom of the fifth inning. This gave Steed her second straight game with a home run.

The Cats didn’t let the scoring stop with the home run, as freshman outfielder Hannah Huffman scored on an error and freshman Abbey Cheek scored on a stolen base, pushing the UK lead to three runs.

In the fifth inning, freshman infielder Katie Reed got back on track with her hitting ways, smacking a two-out infield single past the short stop. After a school record 18 games in a row with a hit, Reed was in a three game hitless slump before the fifth inning single. With the hit, her batting average is now an astounding .455 on the year.

With the win, No. 15 UK moves to 19-3 on the year, the best start in UK softball history.

UK will now hit the road to begin SEC play, where they will head to Columbia, South Carolina, to face the Gamecocks. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. on Friday, the first of three games against the Gamecocks this weekend.