LEXINGTON, Ky. – Freshman Mallory Peyton stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the first with the bases loaded and launched her first-career grand slam to power No. 19 Kentucky to a crucial and thrilling 7-5 win over No. 12 South Carolina at John Cropp Stadium.
UK improves to 30-17, (7-14 SEC) while South Carolina falls to 42-14 (14-8 SEC).
Game two of the series will be on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET and will be shown live on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the ESPN app. Saturday will also be UK’s annual Senior Day, with festivities to honor Brooklin Hinz, Erin Rethlake, Rachael Metzger and Hannah Huffman set to kick off at 1:45 p.m. ET.
With Friday night’s big win, Kentucky moves a game closer to qualifying for the 2018 Southeastern Conference Tournament as it’s now 7-14 in league play. Ole Miss walked off over No. 6 Georgia with a 4-3 win to keep themselves alive and they are now 6-16 in league play, a game and a half behind the Wildcats. Both Mississippi State and Missouri are now on six wins after tonight’s games.
Senior Rachael Metzger kicked off her Senior Weekend with a pinch-hit game-winning RBI double down the left-field line to score two runs and put UK up 7-3 going into the seventh inning.
The Gamecocks would mount a rally in the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, but a soft tapper to Martens at second ended the game with the tying run at the plate.
Five. Kentucky scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning – the most runs in the first inning scored by UK this season in league play.
Mallory Peyton stepped up to plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first and hit a home run to left field. It was her first career grand slam. That put UK up 5-0.
Freshman pitcher Grace Baalman pitched 5.2 innings, allowing seven hits and two runs, both unearned. She improves to 12-7 on the season. Baalman came on to close out the game in the seventh inning with two on and one out after she was lifted to start the sixth inning for Autumn Humes.
In the bottom of the first, Kentucky got on the board first, as Brooklin Hinz was walked with the bases loaded. UK 1, USC 0
Mallory Peyton hit a grand slam to left field, her first-career grand sam. It was Peyton’s sixth home run of the season. UK 5, USC 0
In the top of the third, Alyssa VanDerveer singled up the middle for South Carolina, scoring Kenzi Maguire from second on an obstruction call by the home plate umpire. Kennedy Clark then doubled to left with two outs, scoring VanDerveer from first. UK 5, USC 2
Rachael Metzger stepped up in the bottom of the sixth for a two-run pinch-hit double to left field, scoring Bailey Vick from third and Erin Rethlake from first for the two game-winning runs. UK 7, USC 2
In the bottom of the seventh, Mackenzie Boesel hit a solo home run to right center field. Kennedy Clark singled to the shortstop scoring Jordyn Augustus. Alyssa Kumiyama grounded out the shortstop and scored Alexis Lindsey from third with two outs to make it a 7-5 game. The game ended on a poke to Alex Martens at second base with the tying run at the plate. FINAL – No. 19 Kentucky 7, No. 12 South Carolina 5