ORLANDO, Fla. – Freshman slugger Kierston Moore powered a three-run home run over the wall in deep center in the top of the third inning, which guided the No. 20 Kentucky softball team to a 6-3 win over the University of Central Knights on Saturday.
Moore went 2-for-2 in the game, belting the three-run bomb in addition to a lead-off single in the top of the sixth inning – in which Sarah Rainwater, who entered the game to pinch run – came around to score.
Meagan Prince faced all but two batters in the game, working 7.0 innings on just 109 pitches, allowing three runs, all earned, four hits, three walks and seven strikeouts. The result for Prince is her first of the season, as she improves to 1-1 on the season.
Earlier in the day, the Pitt Panthers defeated Kentucky, 6-3 – as Pitt came from behind early to knock off the Wildcats in the first game of Kentucky’s two on Saturday afternoon.
The final day of the UCF Knights Invitational will be Sunday, as Kentucky will play the Florida A&M Rattlers at 9:30 a.m. ET. Kentucky defeated FAMU on Friday morning, 4-2, on an Alex Martens walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning after entering the frame
GAME 1 – Pittsburgh
Nine. The Wildcats left nine baserunners on base, with five of those being in scoring position at the time that they were stranded.
Giorgiana Zeremenko, Pitt’s catcher, had a two-run single in the four-run Pitt fourth inning that broke open the inning for the Panthers. Pitt had six-consecutive batters reach base spanning two UK pitchers during that stretch.
Abbey Cheek was UK’s key player in the game, blasting a two-run home run off the foul pole down the right field line to give UK a 2-1 lead at the time. It was her first HR of the season.
Pitt’s Kaitlin Manuel hit a home run to left field in the bottom of the second inning to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. Pitt 1, UK 0
After a lead-off single by Katie Reed – to extend her hit streak to four games – Abbey Cheek belted a home run off the foul pole in right to give UK its first lead of the game. UK 2, PITT 1
The Panthers tied the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the third inning after lead-off batter Erin Herschman came around to score after she was given a free base off an error. PITT 2, UK 2
The Panthers put up a four spot in the bottom of the fourth, sending nine batters to the plate, and having two RBI hits in addition to a walked-in run. PITT 6, UK 2
Sophomore catcher Jenny Schaper belted her second home run in as many days over the left center field fence with two outs and nobody on. FINAL – Pittsburgh 6, No. 20 Kentucky 3
GAME 2- Central Florida
- Kentucky managed a season-high 11 hits on Saturday afternoon against UCF pitching, with Alex Martens, Abbey Cheek, Kierston Moore and Breanne Ray all recording two-hit games.
Kierston Moore’s three-run shot in the top of the fourth inning was the game’s crucial play.
Jenny Schaper was the key player in the game, catching the final inning and making the game-ending play on a passed third strike to the backstop – picking up the ball and diving on the plate for the force out with the bases loaded to end the game.
Kentucky scored first through Abbey Cheek in the top of the second inning. Cheek led off the inning with a hit, and was brought around on a SAC fly by Kelsee Henson – her first RBI of the season. UK 1, UCF 0
UCF would tie the game in the bottom half of the frame thanks to some Kentucky defensive micsues, as Willow Kalinen scored from first on an infield hit. UK 1, UCF 1
After Breanne Ray and Rachael Metzger led off the top of the fourth inning with back-to-back singles, Kierston Moore belted a homer to left center to give UK three-run cushion. UK 4, UCF 1
Kentucky would add to its lead and make it 5-1 when Kierston Moore led off the inning with a single through the left side and was pinch ran for by Sarah Rainwater. Alex Martens’ RBI double brought around the run and UK took a 5-1 lead. UK 5, UCF 1
The Knights would get that run right back in the bottom of the sixth, as DP Courtney Rotton launched a one-out solo HR to left. UK 5, UCF 2
Kentucky’s Abbey Cheek singled to start the seventh inning. After a walk to Breanne Ray and a sacrifice bunt by Metzger – Cheek scored on Henson’s second SAC fly of the game. UK 6, UCF 2
The seventh inning got interesting for UK. Meagan Prince walked the first batter and then threw two balls to the next batter. Larissa Spellman came in and walked the bases loaded before a run scored on a SAC fly after Prince re-entered. A HBP re-loaded the bases before Prince got a grounder to third and a strikeout to end the inning. The third strike went to the backstop and bounced back to Schaper behind the dish – who then tagged home on a dive to get the force out. FINAL – No. 20 Kentucky 6, UCF 3.