No. 16 Kentucky softball suffers game one loss to No. 10 Georgia in Athens


Olivia Hall

Kentucky Wildcats infielder Erin Coffel (21) runs to second base during the No. 16 Kentucky vs. Louisville softball game on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 7-4. Photo by Olivia Hall | Staff

Colton Johnson, Reporter

No. 16 Kentucky softball (21-8-1) fell 9-5 to No. 10 Georgia (28-6) on Saturday in game one of its second road SEC series at the Jack Turner Softball Stadium in Athens, Georgia.

The loss brings Kentucky’s conference record to 4-3 after the Wildcats lost their first home SEC series 2-1 to No. 21 Texas A&M (22-12).

Kentucky would remain scoreless in the bottom of the first despite graduate student Kayla Kowalik and junior Erin Coffel both reaching base on forced walks.

Sophomore Izzy Harrison would start on the mound for Kentucky, retiring two of the first three batters and surrendering a walk in the process.

Kentucky Wildcats pitcher Alecia Lacatena (35) and catcher Kayla Kowalik (99) talk during the No. 16 Kentucky vs. Louisville softball game on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 7-4. Photo by Olivia Hall | Staff (Olivia Hall)

Georgia would open the scoring shortly after when a forced walk and a single were followed by a grand slam from Bulldog senior Sydney Kuma, giving Georgia a four-run advantage. 

Sophomore Taylor Ebbs would then reach scoring position early in the top of the second after a fielding error.

Kentucky would get on the board shortly after when sophomore Margaret Tobias sent an RBI single into right field, plating Ebbs to shorten the Bulldog lead to three.

After holding Georgia hitless in the bottom of the second, junior Vanessa Nesby would open the third inning by sending a single into right field. 

A stolen base would put Nesby in scoring position, and she would be plated shortly after when junior Grace Lorsung sent an RBI double into right field to make the score 4-2.

Georgia would extend its lead early in the bottom of the third when a single was followed by a two-run home run by redshirt senior Jaiden Fields.

Sophomore Lyndi Rea Davis would send another ball past the fence shortly after, forcing a pitching change for Kentucky to graduate student Kennedy Sullivan.

After a double by Kuma, Bulldog junior Sydney Chambley would add another run to Georgia’s lead with an RBI single to make the score 8-2.

Ebbs would then force a walk in the top of the fourth, with Kowalik sending a double into left center to put runners at the corners.

Nesby would send a two RBI single into right center to plate Ebbs and Kowalik, with Coffel hitting an RBI double shortly after to plate Nesby and make the score 8-5.

Sullivan would hold the Bulldogs scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, with a scoreless fifth inning from both teams following shortly after.

Kentucky wouldn’t score in the top of the sixth despite both Ebbs and Kowalik adding another hit to their tally.

Defensive struggles would plague Kentucky in the bottom of the sixth with Bulldog graduate student Ally Kurland reaching base on a fielding error. 

A series of errors after a single by Bulldog senior Sara Mosley would plate Kurland to give Georgia a 9-5 lead and end the UK rally.

Despite sophomore Hallie Mitchell reaching base on a throwing error, Kentucky would fail to score a run in the top of the seventh as the game ended with a 9-5 loss for the Cats. 

Kentucky will look to draw even in the series as it takes on Georgia in game two on Sunday at 6 p.m. EST with the game being streamed on SEC Network +.