Updated 10 months ago
The University of Kentucky softball team split its doubleheader on day two of the Kajikawa Classic, earning a 5-3 win over Oregon State, who is receiving votes in both major preseason polls, before falling to host school and fourth-ranked Arizona State 8-1 in its final game. Both games were played at Farrington Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University.
Kentucky (3-1) got strong pitching and clutch hitting from a number of different Wildcats against OSU. Junior pitcher Ellen Weaver started the game, going 4.2 innings allowing three runs - one earned - on six hits with six strikeouts. She was relived in the fifth inning by freshman Kelsey Nunley, who pitched a scoreless 2.1 innings to earn the win for UK. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., allowed only four hits and struck out two to move to 2-0 on the year.
Nunley faced some adversity in the top of the seventh inning, but made key pitches to get UK the win. The inning started when Desiree Beltran was hit by a pitch, advancing to second when Natalie Hampton reached on an error. After Lea Cavestany popped up for the first out, Ya Garcia singled on a bunt attempt to load the bases. Ally Kutz fouled out to the catcher for the second out before pinch hitter Bailee Niehus grounded a slow roller back to Nunley, who fielded the ball and threw a strike to first to end the inning and give UK the victory.
At the plate, juniors Ginny Carroll and Lauren Cumbess, and freshman Nikki Sagermann continued their impressive offensive starts by each collecting multi-hit games. Carroll earned the game-winning RBI, going 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored, including a double - her team leading second double of the season. Cumbess was also solid at the dish, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Sagermann went 2-for-3 with a double.
UK got on the board early against Oregon State, scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning when Cumbess roped an RBI single to right field. The inning started with Kara Dill drawing a walk, later advancing to second on a stolen base. Maisie Steed struck out for the first out and Alice O'Brien fouled out to first for the second out before Cumbess stepped in and continued her impressive start at the dish, ripping a single to right field that easy scored Dill and gave UK the 1-0 lead. Sagermann would groundout to end the inning.
Weaver worked out of trouble in the second inning after giving up an infield single to short and a bunt single. With runners on first and second and one out, Weaver got Kutz to strike out on a wild pitch for the second out although the runners advanced to second and third. Weaver then punched out Maggie Dorenus to end the OSU threat.
Kentucky got two runs in the fourth inning after Sagermann and Carroll each roped doubles. Cumbess started the inning with a groundout to shortstop followed by the first career double by Sagermann, who was pinch ran for by Darington Richardson. Richardson came home to score a few pitches later when Carroll belted a double just fair in left field. After Krystal Smith pinch hit and lined out to second base, Weaver drew a walk and was pinch ran for by the flex player, Emily Jolly. Both Carroll and Jolly would advance into scoring position on a passed ball with Christian Stokes joining them on base later with a walk. OSU would make several defensive changes after the walk, including a pitching change, bringing in Marina Demore to face Dill, who reached on an error by the first baseman to score Carroll and give UK the 3-0 lead.
But Oregon State tied the game 3-3 in the top of the fifth. Head coach Rachel Lawson made several defensive changes before the inning. Kutz started the inning with a double later advancing to third on a wild pitch. Weaver then put runners on the corners when she walked Ashley Sanchez, who stole second to get into scoring position. A few pitches later, Kutz would score on a wild pitch while Sanchez moved over to third. Elizabeth Santana then reached base on a throwing error by Stokes, allowing a run to score and make it a 3-2 game. OSU would later tie the game on a single by Cavestany.
UK would grab the lead back for good in the bottom of the fifth inning on back-to-back-to-back singles from Cumbess, Sagermann and Carroll. After O'Brien started the inning flying out to center, Cumbess singled to left field and was pinch ran for by Kara Howard, who advanced to third on the single by Sagermann to right field. Carroll then delivered the game-winning run with a single to center field, giving UK the 4-3 advantage.
The Wildcats added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by O'Brien. Dill would score the run, singling to center and moving to second on the single by Steed. Dill and Steed both advanced on a passed ball before O'Brien drilled a ball to deep center field that scored Dill from third.
In the night cap, Arizona State was the team that got off to a fast start, getting a two-run homer from Sam Parlich in the second inning and a sacrifice fly from Haley Steele in the third inning to take an early 3-0 lead.
The highly ranked Sun Devils would put up five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Bethany Kemp started the inning with a single, advancing to second when Baily Wigness hit into a fielder's choice but Dill's throw to second was late. After another pop out, Elizabeth Caporuscio hit a two-run double to make it 5-0. Steele then placed a slow roller by the pitcher for a single, but it would be misplayed, allowing a run to score. Amber Freeman then delivered the big blow with a two-run homer, giving ASU a 8-0 lead.
UK would get a run in the top of the fifth when sophomore catcher Griffin Joiner blasted her first homer of the season to right field. The roundtripper was the lone run of the game for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats conclude play in the Kajikawa Classic on Sunday when it faces Portland State and Stanford. UK will face PSU at 10:30 a.m. ET and be back on field at 1:30 p.m. ET to square off against No. 20/21 Stanford. Both games will be played at the Tempe Sports Complex.