Junior pitcher Lauren Cumbess threw nine innings of six-hit softball and drove in the winning run Friday in the University of Kentucky's 3-2 season-opening victory over third-ranked California in the Kajikawa Classic at Tempe, Ariz.
Cumbess struck out six and walked four on the mound and went 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI. After senior Alice OBrien started the top of the ninth on second base due to international tiebreak rules, freshman Nikki Sagermann placed a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance OBrien to third. Cumbess followed with a single to left field to score OBrien and give UK the lead 3-2. Cumbess had to work out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the victory. After LaRisa Jones started the inning on second base, Cumbess got center fielder Jasmin Mejia to pop out, then struck out Vanessa Alvarez looking. Cheyenne Cordes singled to left to put runners on the corners, but Cumbess struck out Ashley Decker looking to end the game. All five players at the top of UKs order delivered hits Friday. In addition to Cumbess's two hits, Kara Dill, OBrien, Sagermann and Ginny Carroll each went 1-for-3, with Dill scoring a run and OBrien scoring two runs. Cals star pitcher Jolene Henderson, who was named the 2011 and 2012 Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year, also threw nine innings, allowing three runs two earned runs on six hits with seven strikeouts.
The Wildcats were to play Western Michigan (1-1) later Friday at Tempe.