COLUMBIA, S.C. — The No. 15 Kentucky softball team could not overcome three errors in the first four innings as it fell 5-2 Saturday to No. 11 Georgia in its first appearance in the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship.
The Wildcats got solo home runs in the seventh inning from sophomore infielder Nikki Sagermann and junior catcher Griffin Joiner but the rally ended there.
Kentucky (44-15) ended the tournament with the most wins in a single season in program history at 44, breaking the previous record of 41 set last season. The Wildcats have consecutive 40-win seasons for the first time in program history.
Kentucky started freshman pitcher Meagan Prince in the circle, who went 32⁄3 innings, allowing four runs — one earned — on six hits with three strikeouts. Prince worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning with no outs, but could not work around a walk and an error to start the second inning as Georgia plated a run with two outs.
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The Bulldogs blew the game open in the fourth inning, getting three runs, including a two-run double from shortstop Paige Wilson. Senior pitcher Lauren Cumbess tossed the final 21⁄3 innings in the game, allowing a run on one hit with one strikeout.
Offensively, Kentucky got the scoring started with a one-out home run from Sagermann to left field in the seventh, taking her team-best total to 13 on the season. Joiner made it back-to-back homers when she launched her ninth of the season to left-center. Sagermann finished the game 2-for-3, while Joiner was 1-for-3 to complete the hitting for Kentucky.
Georgia ace Chelsea Wilkinson, in the circle for the third consecutive day, allowed three hits and two runs in seven innings. The Kentucky home runs were the lone homers against Wilkinson — who was named the tournament's most valuable player — all week.
Sagermann, along with fellow sophomores Kelsey Nunley and Christian Stokes, were named to the SEC All-Tournament Team.