Seven-run inning helps No. 16 Kentucky softball defeat Bellarmine 13-4


Samuel Colmar

Kentucky Wildcats pitcher Alecia Lacatena (35) pitches the ball during the No. 16 Kentucky vs. Dayton softball home opener game on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 5-4. Photo by Samuel Colmar | Staff

Parker Scott, Reporter

No. 16 Kentucky softball (25-10-1) exploded for 13 runs against Bellarmine (4-32) on Wednesday at Knights Field in Louisville.

Every Wildcat starter reached base during the game, which was Bellarmine’s first time ever hosting a power-five team.

Senior Sloan Gayan was Kentucky’s starting pitcher, earning her fourth start of the season.

Junior Grace Lorsung singled and scored fellow junior Erin Coffel, who had reached on an error, to immediately put the Cats on the board in the first.

Bellarmine answered with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first to give the Knights a 2-1 lead after the first inning.

Kentucky Wildcat Sloan Gayan (17) pitches during the University of Kentucky vs. Alabama softball game on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. UK lost 11-6. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

The second inning saw three runs scored by the Wildcats, the first coming from an RBI triple by sophomore Margaret Tobias, with freshman Chelsea Mack being the one to cross home plate.

Redshirt freshman Jenna Blanton, the next batter up after Tobias, then hit a home run to right field to add on the other two runs and put Kentucky up 4-2.

The shot was Blanton’s first career home run, a milestone for her first collegiate season following a medical redshirt due to elbow surgery.

Kentucky had an inning to remember in the third, scoring seven runs, all with two outs, and recording five hits to effectively seal the game.

The first run came when sophomore Hallie Mitchell, who was pinch hitting for Tobias, walked with the bases loaded to score junior Vanessa Nesby.

Blanton continued her hot streak immediately after with a two-run single that scored Lorsung and junior Meeko Harrison to increase the lead to 7-2 in favor of the Cats.

Coffel, the team leader in both home runs and RBIs, lived up to her role as Kentucky’s main power hitter by crushing a grand slam for her 14th home run of the season.

The defense held the Knights scoreless after the massive offensive effort to maintain the 11-2 lead.

After the offense failed to add any more runs in the top of the fourth, Bellarmine hit another two-run homer to slightly chip into the large lead built by the Cats.

Sophomore Alexia Lacatena replaced Gayan starting in the fifth inning and held the Knights scoreless for the remainder of the contest.

Neither team scored again until the top of the seventh when Kentucky scored twice from a double by Coffel and a single by Lorsung that brought in one run each.

Coffel and Blanton combined for nine RBIs during the game while Blanton and Lorsung tied for the team lead in hits with three each.

Kentucky will host No. 6 Tennessee for a weekend series starting on Friday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m. at John Cropp Softball Stadium.