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Cheek’s RBI double, Prince’s save give UK 3-2 win over No. 4 Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Junior pitcher Meagan Prince stepped into the circle with two on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, getting out of the jam with a grounder to second base to close the game as the No. 11 Kentucky softball team picked up a critical road win at No. 4 Alabama on Friday night to open this weekend’s three-game set.

Senior pitcher Kelsey Nunley earned her team-high 18th win of the season to move to 18-4 on the year, going 6.2 innings, allowing just five Alabama hits, two earned runs and striking out seven batters in the game. Nunley pitched every pitch of the game until there were two outs in the seventh with runners on second and third after a walk and an infield single plus an error put runners on second and third. Prince walked Haylie McCleney before getting Chandler Dare to ground out to Katie Reed at second base to end the game.

With the win, Kentucky stays tied for third in the Southeastern Conference in the standings, and now boasts a 14-5 SEC record. Alabama falls to 10-6 on the season in league action and sits 39-9 overall – the same overall record as UK.

The win over No. 4 Alabama is Kentucky’s third in the last four tries at Alabama’s Rhoades Stadium, on the heels of taking two of three from the Crimson Tide last time UK visited Tuscaloosa in 2013. The top-5 win in Kentucky’s second of the season, after beating No. 4 Oregon in the Kajikawa Classic, 8-6 back in February.

Saturday’s second game of the series will start at 6 p.m. ET and televised by the SEC Network with Jenn Hildreth and Kayla Braud on the call. Sunday’s series closer will start at 2:30 p.m. ET. Both games will also be available to fans on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

 

Key Stat

  1. Freshman Abbey Cheek now has 47 runs batted in this season, including the game-winning RBI in the top of the fifth inning on a double. Cheek now has the most RBI ever by a freshman in school history and the fifth most overall in a single season in school history.

Key Play

Senior slugger Nikki Sagermann belted a two-run home run in the top of the third inning to put Kentucky up 2-0 and give Kentucky the early lead in the game. Sagermann’s home run was her fifth of the season, and with that RBI, gives her 119 runs batted in for her career, surpassing both Lauren Cumbess (2011-2014) and Tiffany Kruse (1998-2001) for fifth place on UK softball’s career runs batted in list.

Key Player

Meagan Prince was the key player, coming into the game in front of over 2,900 fans and getting the game-ending out to give UK the 3-2 win.

Run Recap

Kentucky got on the board in the top of the third inning when Sagermann pummeled her fifth homer of the season to leftcenter field to give UK a 2-0 win. Katie Reed was aboard at the time, after a single to the right side got the offensive rally going for UK. UK 2, ALA 0

Alabama would respond in the bottom of the fourth, as Reagan Dykes homered to left with Chandler Dare aboard to level the game, 2-2. UK 2, ALA 2

UK scored the game-winning run in the top of the fifth inning. Katie Reed started the rally, advancing to first base on an Alabama error, which was followed by a base hit by Sylver Samuel. Freshman Abbey Cheek then doubled to shallow right on a floater to score Reed and give UK the game-winning run. FINAL – No. 11 Kentucky 3, No. 4 Alabama 2

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