LEXINGTON, Ky. – Head coach Rachel Lawson earned her 300th win at the helm of Kentucky softball on Saturday afternoon, as the No. 13 Wildcats downed the Ole Miss Rebels 3-1 at John Cropp Stadium to even the series and set up a rubber match on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET in Lexington.
Kentucky scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the first inning, and then rode the arm of junior lefty pitcher Meagan Prince the rest of the way. Prince earned the win, throwing her team-leading seventh complete game of the season, allowing just one run – which was not earned, on five hits, three walks and five strikeouts. Prince now leads Kentucky with 11 wins on the season, and is 11-0 while sporting a 1.47 ERA in her 13 appearances on the season.
Kentucky with the win moves to 24-4 overall on the season, and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference play. The Rebels drop to 24-6 overall and 1-4 in SEC competition this season. Rebels pitcher Elisha Jahnke picks up the loss, dropping her to 5-3 on the season.
With the win, Lawson becomes the first head coach in program history to earn 300 wins at the helm of Kentucky. She is currently in her ninth season at UK, and became the team’s all-time winningest head coach in 2013.
With Ole Miss’ 3-1 win on Friday and Kentucky’s 3-1 win on Saturday, that sets up a rubber match for the two sides on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington. The game will be shown live on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app with Mark Buerger (pxp) and Carol Bruggeman (color) on the call from JCS.
Four. For the fourth time in five SEC games this season, Kentucky scored in the top or bottom of the first inning to start the game off. UK scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning today, as Brooklin Hinz, Jenny Schaper and Abbey Cheek all notched RBI singles in the top of the first frame.
The key play in the game on Saturday was an infield single by catcher Jenny Schaper with the bases loaded to score Christian Stokes from third and put UK up 3-0 to close out the first inning.
Meagan Prince was the key player in the win, earning her 11th win of the season. With her 11 wins in 2016, she already matches her career high for wins in a season, set back in 2015. Prince had command of the zone all game long, striking out five batters, and not allowing an earned run in the win. The Martin, Tenn., native notched her seventh complete game of the season, the most on the Kentucky staff.
Sylver Samuel got the Kentucky rally going in the bottom of the first inning with a single through the left side for a base hit. After a stolen base, Katie Reed walked to put runners on the corners with one out for the Wildcats. Abbey Cheek then singled through the left side to score the speedy Samuel, and put UK up, 1-0. Christian Stokes was then hit by a pitch and Brooklin Hinz collected an RBI on a groundball to second to score Reed. Jenny Schaper then stepped to the plate with two outs and singles to the shortstop to score Stokes and give UK three runs in the bottom of the first. UK 3, OM 0
In the top of the third, Ole Miss left fielder and leadoff hitter Elantra Cox stepped to the plate with one out and hit one off the end of the bat to left field, shallow and blooping. After a diving attempt that nearly came up successful, the UK defense then had a throwing error trying to get Cox at second and the ball went into left field. The runner came around to score and give Ole Miss its only run of the game. FINAL – No. 13 Kentucky 3, Ole Miss 1