CARBONDALE, Ill. – Big days at the plate from Breanne Ray and Abbey Cheek in conjunction with solid pitching from the entire Kentucky pitching staff helped give the No. 19 Wildcats a sweep on opening day of the 2017 Coach B Classic.
In the first game of the day, senior Meagan Prince was nothing short of spectacular in the circle for UK, pitching a complete game shutout of Northern Illinois, striking out nine batters and allowing just two hits in the game as the Wildcats won, 2-0. In UK’s second game of the day against hosts Southern Illinois – the Wildcats scored five runs inside the first two innings to win, 7-1.
Kentucky has one game remaining in the Coach B Classic over in Carbondale remaining, as the Wildcats will play the University of Illinois at Chicago on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET.
GAME ONE – Kentucky 2, Northern Illinois 0
Nine. Senior pitcher Meagan Prince had a season-high nine strikeouts in the win on Friday afternoon.
A key play in the game was Sarah Rainwater’s RBI single in the bottom of the second inning to score pinch runner Hannah Huffman, and give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead – in what turned out to be the game-winning run.
Meagan Prince was the key player in the game – going the complete seven innings on just two hits, walking one, allowing no runs – and only one runner past second base the entire game. She also had a season-high nine strikeouts in the game.
Jenny Schaper led off the bottom of the second inning by advancing to first on a NIU fielding error. After a great sacrifice bunt by Brooklin Hinz, sophomore Sarah Rainwater hit an RBI single to the left side to score pinch runner Hannah Huffman and give UK a 1-0 lead. Freshman Bailey Vick then doubled and scored Rainwater to make it 2-0 – the only two runs that were scored in the game. FINAL – No. 19 Kentucky 2, Northern Illinois 0
GAME TWO – Kentucky 7, Southern Illinois 1
Five. The Wildcats struck for five runs in the top of the second inning. The five-run frame is Kentucky’s third five-run inning this season with all three of them coming in the past two weekends.
Katie Reed made a fantastic play to end the game with two runners on and two outs. The ball was hit to the left side of second base – just a few inches off the bag – and she was able to collect it and fire a rifle across the diamond to Rachael Metzger to end the game.
Breanne Ray was the key player in Friday’s second game, going 4-for-5 at the plate with two RBI’s.
Kentucky scored early and often against the Salukis – including scoring a run in the first inning. With two on and nobody out – Abbey Cheek singled and stole second base, coming around to score on Alex Martens’ first double of the day to right center field. UK 1, SIU 0
The Wildcats struck for four runs in the top of the second inning – batting around in an inning for the second time this season. After a Jenny Schaper lead-off single, Sarah Rainwater sacrificed her over to second for the first out. Bailey Vick singled and then Schaper scored on an RBI groundout by Reed to make it 2-0. Erin Rethlake then singled to score a run, which was followed by Abbey Cheek and Alec Martens reaching to load the bases with two outs. Breanne Ray then notched one of her four hits in the game with a two-RBI single. UK 5, SIU 0
Abbey Cheek scored UK’s run in the sixth inning after reaching via a single and was brought home on a Breanne Ray single up the middle with two outs. UK 6, SIU 0
Kentucky added on a seventh run in the seventh inning as Erin Rethlake singled in Sarah Rainwater, who had singled with one out to start UK’s rally. UK 7, SIU 0
The Salukis scored in the bottom of the seventh after a lead-off single and two advancement outs before an RBI single. FINAL – No. 19 Kentucky 7, Southern Illinois 1