No. 18 Kentucky softball comes up short 6-3 against No. 1 UCLA


Kentucky outfielder Vanessa Nesby (11) jumps on the outfield wall on a home run during the UK vs. Oklahoma softball game on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Oklahoma won 9-1. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Jonathon Bruner, Reporter

No.18 Kentucky softball (9-2-1) was defeated 6-3 by No. 1 UCLA (14-0) in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Friday.

The Wildcats starter, sophomore Izzy Harrison, was the losing pitcher in the game, bringing her record to 1-1 on the year as she struggled in her outing, only recording two outs while walking three and giving up two runs.

Harrison was relieved by senior Sloan Gayan, who would give the Wildcats more length, going an inning and a third, but would still allow two runs to the Bruins.

The next pitcher out of the Wildcats bullpen was graduate student Kennedy Sullivan, who would give the Cats the remaining four innings of the game. Sullivan would weather the storm for the most part but was still responsible for two runs. 

The Wildcat offense would get on the board in the second inning when junior Grace Lorsung would send a home run over the left field fence, making the score 2-1 in favor of the Bruins. 

The rest of the Wildcats’ runs would come in the fifth inning, as Kentucky Softball all-time hits leader Kayla Kowalik added to her record total by getting a hit that would bring home junior Vanessa Nesby, bringing the Cats to a 6-2 deficit.

Senior Rylea Smith would bring in the last run of the night with a single, scoring sophomore Margaret Tobias, making the score 6-3.

The Wildcats would threaten again in the seventh inning as they would bring the tying run to the plate with runners on second and third with no outs, but they ultimately left those runners stranded, which would secure the victory for the Bruins.

The Wildcats will continue competing in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Saturday, Feb. 25, when they take on No. 17 Northwestern at 8:30 p.m. EST.