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UK softball gets first SEC win of the year

Alex Martens hit her fourth home run of the season in the first inning of Saturday's win against LSU.
Alex Martens hit her fourth home run of the season in the first inning of Saturday's win against LSU. UK Athletics

The University of Kentucky softball team got off on the right foot in its three-game tilt with Louisiana State, knocking off the eighth-ranked Tigers 4-1 in Saturday’s series opener at John Cropp Stadium in Lexington.

Freshman Grace Baalman pitched a complete game, allowing five hits and striking out five, to improve her record to 9-2 and lead No. 23 Kentucky to its first Southeastern Conference win of the season.

Alex Martens gave UK the lead with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning. It was the sophomore’s fourth home run of the year.

Abbey Cheek hit her team-leading eighth home run, a solo shot to left-center field, to extend the Cats’ lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning.

UK got an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. After pinch runner Kelsee Henson went from first to third base on a single by Cheek, Brooklin Hinz connected for an RBI-single up the middle.

The Tigers plated their only run of the game on a two-out double in the bottom of the seventh.

Hinz and Cheek both went 2-for-3 at the plate. Baalman’s ERA dropped to a team-best 1.56 on the year.

With the win, UK improved to 18-6 overall and 1-3 in the SEC. The Cats have now won three straight after dropping three in a row at No. 2 Florida last weekend. LSU fell to 23-3 overall and 3-1 in the SEC.

Josh Sullivan: 859-231-3225, @sullyjosh

Next game

LSU at Kentucky

4:30 p.m. Sunday (ESPNU)

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