When Autumn Humes decided to transfer to Kentucky from NCAA Division II last summer, the Wildcats figured they were getting a steal.
Humes was named Division II Freshman of the Year after leading Harding University of Arkansas to a super regional last season.
“Autumn brings experience and power to our young pitching staff,” Kentucky head coach Rachel Lawson said upon Harding’s signing with UK. “Her résumé puts her in line to be one of the next great pitchers at Kentucky.”
Humes took the mound amid great anticipation in Kentucky’s season opener at New Mexico State last Saturday, coming on in relief of starter Erin Rethlake. Humes delivered a dud, giving up seven runs on four hits, walking five and hitting a batter before being pulled after two innings in the circle in a 12-9 UK defeat.
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Apparently a week off and a chance to start was all the UK sophomore needed to flip the script.
On Saturday, Humes became the first pitcher in UK softball history to throw a no-hitter in her first career start as the Wildcats defeated North Dakota State 2-0 in the Campbell/Cartier Classic at San Diego.
Her no-hitter combined with a one-hitter from true freshman Grace Baalman in an 11-0 win over Cal State Fullerton later Saturday capped the weekend for Kentucky with a 4-0 record, giving the Wildcats the Campbell/Cartier championship.
Humes faced the minimum number of batters in the win over North Dakota State, an NCAA Tourament regional participant last season.
Humes needed just 75 pitches to breeze through the game and threw 55 strikes. She walked two batters but both were erased on double plays.
Rethlake scored Kentucky’s first run in the sixth inning with the help of an error, giving Humes all the support she would need. In the seventh, Lauren Johnson delivered an RBI single to extend UK’s lead to 2-0
In game two, Baalman allowed only one hit to Cal State Fullerton, which came in the top of the second inning. Other than that, Baalman was untouchable, winning the five-inning mercy-rule game by throwing just 62 pitches, with 42 recorded as strikes.
UK scored 11 runs on nine hits with two home runs in the nightcap.
Thirteenth-ranked Kentucky (5-2) will take a five-game winning streak to Orlando, Fla., next weekend to participate in the Disney Citrus Classic. The Wildcats start the tournament on Friday against No. 14 Minnesota.