Cats’ pitching continues dominant streak

UK pitcher, 5, Meagan Prince, led the Cats to their shutout victory. Photo by Kalyn Bradford | Staff

John Rowland

After picking up two wins on Friday, the No. 18 UK Softball (13-2) team picked up another win Saturday morning against the Eastern Illinois Panthers (4-10) by a final score of 9-1.

In previous outings of the Chattanooga Classic, the UK pitching staff has been dealing some great games. Erin Rethlake threw a no-hitter against the Lipscomb Bison while Kelsey Nunley and Meagan Prince combined to allow only one hit against Miami of Ohio.

Shannon Smith (UK) would be handed the ball against Eastern Illinois. The Panthers quickly recorded their lone hit on the afternoon. April Markowski took the fifth pitch of the contest to left field for a home run. After this, Smith would only allow two walks and sit down 11 Panthers via strikeout in the five inning win.

The Cats answered the homer and put up three runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Maisie Steed scored both Sylver Samuel and Abbey Cheek on a single to center. With runners now on the corners, Steed was thrown out in a double steal attempt, but Nikki Sagermann scored on the play. 

Matching the first frame, UK tallied three more runs to the scoreboard in the second. Katie Reed continued her hit streak as she singled, scoring both Breanne Ray and Jenny Schaper. Samuel would reach on a fielder’s choice that scored Reed.

During the bottom of the fourth, Samuel scored again along with Reed. With both runners on second and third, Cheek grounded out but scored both the runners on the play. UK secured the run-rule win in the bottom of the sixth as Ray crossed home on Rachael Metzger’s single.

In its second matchup of the day, UK squared off against the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Mocs (10-5). The Cats walked away victorious, claiming a 6-2 win.

Kelsey Nunley kept up her great start to the season, recording her sixth win of the year. She allowed two runs and two hits. She also struck out a career-high 12 batters and dealt four walks in her seven-inning outing. 

Jordan Fortel (UTC) blasted a home run to center field in the first inning while Anyssa Robles scored on Nunley’s wild pitch in the sixth frame. Ashley Conner hit a double before Robles would bat. She would be left stranded at third after a strikeout ended their half of the sixth.

Despite facing a 1-0 deficit heading in to the third, UK broke away, scoring three runs combined in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

The lone run in the third was counted when Christian Stokes scored on Steed’s single. The runs in the fourth inning came when Nikki Sagermann hit a homerun to left. In the fifth, UK’s three runs came across when Breanne Ray hit a sac fly, scoring Samuel. Later, Schaper reached on an error while Cheek and Samuel crossed the plate. 

UK will wrap up play in the Chattanooga Classic tomorrow against the Evansville Aces.