UK softball continues hot start, defeats Iowa 11-3


Kentucky junior Lauren Johnson runs to third base during the home opener against Texas A&M on Saturday, March 7, 2020, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 11-9. Photo by Jordan Prather | Staff

Aaron Benjamin

No. 19 Kentucky softball defeated the Iowa Hawkeyes 11-3 on Saturday morning at the Sleepy Hollow Sports Complex in Leesburg, Florida. 

The win pushed the Wildcats to 4-0 in the dawn of the new season after a 3-1 victory over the Liberty Flames on Friday afternoon.  

Kentucky would swing the bats first. After a strikeout by senior catcher Kayla Kowalik, the Cats got on the board via an RBI single by Erin Coffel. Iowa would not produce anything in its half inning off UK pitcher Sloan Gayan, leaving the score 1-0 after the first six outs.  

In the second inning, Kentucky picked it up, scoring four runs. The first would come from a bases loaded walk thrown by Iowa pitcher Devyn Greer. The next three runs would be produced off the bat of graduate student Lauren Johnson, who tripled, allowing for fellow Cats Rylea Smith, Kowalik, and junior Miranda Stoddard to touch home plate. Again, the Hawkeyes did not have much of a fight, putting up one hit while leaving three batters on base. 

Going to the third, with the score now 5-0 Kentucky, there wasn’t much action. The Wildcats started the top half of the inning going 1-2-3, with three straight groundouts. Iowa would match its second inning stat line, unable to score a run to get on the scoreboard. 

Into the fourth, Kennedy Sullivan got UK going with a walk, before Kowalik and Smith rattled off back-to-back singles. Johnson would hit one more single, scoring Sullivan, followed up by a Coffel sacrifice fly to right field. 

Iowa would step up to the plate in the bottom of the fourth and show some spark. Started by a Riley Sheehy walk, Brylee Klosterman would double, putting runners on second and third. The next hit, a two-RBI single by Grace Banes would put the Hawkeyes on the board. After the Cats pitching change to Alexia Lacatena, Kalena Burns would double home Banes, making three runs for Iowa and shrinking UK’s lead to 4.  

In the top of the fifth, UK’s bats would come alive with two outs. First, freshman Margaret Tobias would single. She would be hit in on a Sullivan double. Kowalik was next to the plate, one-upping her teammate while also scoring her, lining a triple. Another double from Smith would bring yet another player home. 

Iowa would then look to senior Breanna Vasquez to come in and stop the scoring, replacing Denali Loecker. She would surrender runs as well, with the next at being a Johnson triple to right field. The Cats put up four runs on five hits and left one runner stranded in the inning. 

Iowa would not get anything going in the bottom half of the inning, meaning the Cats would win via mercy rule, 11-3.  

Up next, Kentucky will face the No. 13 Virginia Tech Hokies. The game is scheduled to take place on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 10:30 a.m. EST at the Sleepy Hollow Sports Complex in Leesburg, Florida to finish off Kentucky’s involvement in the season opening Northern Lights Southern Nights set of games.