College softball: Kentucky snaps losing streak to Louisville

mmaloney@herald-leader.comApril 24, 2013 

  • Next games

    Friday, 5 p.m. — Missouri at Kentucky

    Saturday, noon — Georgetown at Louisville (doubleheader)

Paybacks are swell.

With the bases loaded and Wednesday's game tied 1-1, Lauren Cumbess picked out a seventh-inning pitch and knocked a game-winning single as Kentucky edged Louisville 2-1 at John Cropp Stadium.

The 19th-ranked Wildcats (35-15) avenged a 5-1 loss at U of L on April 3.

The eighth-ranked Cardinals (42-7) thus had a 15-game winning streak dashed.

"It's huge. They've had our number for quite some time," UK Coach Rachel Lawson said. "It was a fun game. It was a fast game. I thought both pitchers did a nice job. So to be able to come out on the winning end is pretty exciting for us."

In addition to timely hitting and the seven-hit pitching of Kelsey Nunley, UK won with some outstanding defense and mental toughness.

"Kelsey was awesome," Lawson said. "Louisville's one of the best hitting teams in the country. ... She gave up seven hits, but she sprayed them around which was really good. And to be able to stop them with so many people in scoring position was big for her."

Nunley, a freshman from Soddy Daisy, Tenn., won her school-record 21st game in 27 decisions. She walked two and struck out three. Her 146 strikeouts (in 192 innings) are seventh-most in a UK season.

"It's good to get an in-state rival win, of course. It feels pretty good," Nunley said. "I mixed it up quite a bit the first couple innings."

Scoreless until the sixth, the Cats manufactured a two-out rally to take a 1-0 lead.

Alice O'Brien singled. Pinch-runner Sarah Frazer advanced to third on Ginny Carroll's base hit, with Carroll taking second on the throw.

Ansley Smith, hit by a pitch, loaded the bases. Frazer scored on a wild pitch.

But then Taner Fowler led off Louisville's seventh with a home run well beyond the 200-foot marker down the left-field line.

"The good thing about being home is you have the last at-bat," Cumbess said. "So I don't think any of us were discouraged and felt like we were going to lose."

The Cardinals used two walks and an infield single to load the bases with two outs in the seventh, but UK shortstop Christian Stokes ran into shallow left to make a running snag of Maggie Ruckenbrod's would-be single.

UK also had a run-saving catch to strand a pair of runners in the fifth. Carroll did the job that time, going to the left-field wall to pull in Jordan Trimble's shot.

Although Rachel LeCoq held UK to a run on six hits through six innings, U of L went to Caralisa Connell in the seventh.

After getting the first batter, Connell surrendered a single to Sylver Samuel, then walked Griffin Joiner and Nikki Sagermann to fill the bags.

LeCoq re-entered to face Cumbess.

"Anything over the white of the plate," Cumbess said she was looking for. "I was just going to put a good swing on it and hope for the best."

She hit a sharp grounder to the hole. Shortstop Whitney Arion's only play was at third base, but pinch-runner Kara Dill beat the throw.

"We had plenty of opportunities to score and we just didn't capitalize on them," Cards Coach Sandy Pearsall said. "You have to give credit to their pitcher. She did a great job. With that said, our pitching didn't do the job it needed to do. The changeup in the dirt (to score Frazer) certainly wasn't opportune. And we thought Cara(lisa) could come in, and she just struggled and got us into a mess we couldn't get out of."

The outcome snapped a four-game U of L winning streak in the series, including last year's NCAA Regional.

"It was a lot of fun because that was a huge game for us — in-state rivals," Cumbess said. "And it was a great battle, back-and-forth all game, so it was fun to come out with a win. ... We evened it up for the year. Until post-season anyway."

KENTUCKY 2, LOUISVILLE 1

Louisville 000 000 1 —1 7 0

Kentucky 000 001 1—2 8 1

Le Coq, Connell (7), LeCoq (7) and Ruckenbrod. Nunley and Joiner. W — Nunley (21-6). L — Connell (25-3). HR — Louisville, Fowler (8). T-1:51. A-637.


NEXT GAMES

Friday, 5 p.m. — Missouri at Kentucky

Saturday, noon — Georgetown at Louisville (doubleheader)

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229 Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com

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