STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In a game that featured 17 runs on 22 hits, six errors, 11 innings and five different pitchers, the No. 18 Kentucky softball team picked up a hard-fought 10-7 win after watching a four-run seventh-inning lead evaporate, then fighting to scoring three runs in the top of the 11th, all with two outs, to win the game.
With the win, Kentucky not only salvages a game from the three-game series with Mississippi State, but locks up the No. 7 seed in the 2017 Southeastern Conference Tournament to be played next week in Knoxville, Tennessee. UK will play 10th-seeded South Carolina in the first round of the tournament on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET. The game will be shown live on the SEC Network with Beth Mowins and Michele Smith.
The Wildcats took a 7-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning, where Mississippi State improbably plated four runs on just two hits to tie the game and send it to extra innings.
In the top of the 11th inning, Kentucky got three runs on four hits - all with two outs - to plate the game-winning runs. Kentucky looked to have taken the lead with one out in the top of the inning, as Breanne Ray hit a ball to the left side, and Katie Reed was going on contact from third base. Reed slid in on the right side of the base, and was called out on the play for the second out of the inning.
Kentucky then got three-consecutive hits, as Abbey Cheek singled to load the bases, Alex Martens hit a two-out, two-RBI double to left center, and Jenny Schaper singled through the right side to score one more.
Kentucky concludes the regular season with a 35-16 overall record, and slots in seventh in the SEC at an even 12-12 (.500). Mississippi State closes out the 2017 regular season 36-19, 10-14 SEC and will be the No. 9 seed at the SEC Tournament next week.
Freshman pitcher Larissa Spellman got her first-career win in the circle, coming on in the bottom of the eighth inning and closing out the game from there, throwing three scoreless innings.
Key Stat Eleven. This is the second 11-inning win for Kentucky this season, as UK also beat No. 5 UCLA, 2-1 in 11 innings back in February. Today was Kentucky's longest SEC road win since March 16th, 2011 at Arkansas (defeated the Razorbacks 7-2 in 11 innings).
Key Play After a chaotic scene for the second out of the Kentucky 11th inning, freshman second basemen Alex Martens roped a two-out, two-RBI double into left center field to score the game-winning runs. The freshman from McHenry, Illinois had three RBI on the day.
Key Player Larissa Spellman was the key player of the game, earning her first win in the circle in SEC play this season. Spellman threw four complete innings and allowed four hits, walking two and striking out two. She faced 18 batters in the eighth through 11th innings, and got a foulout to Brooklin Hinz in left field to end the game.
Run Recap Kentucky came out with hot bats in the top of the first, scoring three runs on four hits. Katie Reed led off the game with a double, and came around to score on a double steal after Bailey Vick singled. Brooklin Hinz then doubled to score Vick and an RBI single from Alex Martens made it 3-0 through the top of the first. UK 3, MSU 0
Amanda Ivy led off the bottom of the third with a single, and came around to score on an RBI single with two outs from Olivia Golden. UK 3, MSU 1
In the top of the fifth, Brooklin Hinz blasted a two-out home run over the fence in center to notch her third homer of the series, and third in as many games. UK 4, MSU 1
Mississippi State responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth after they loaded the bases with one out thanks to two walks and a single, and a sacrifice fly to left field by Morgan Bell plated the second Bulldog run. UK 4, MSU 2
In the top of the sixth, Sarah Rainwater scored from first base on a stolen base and then two different MSU throwing errors that let the sophomore get to third, and then score successively. UK 5, MSU 2
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Mississippi State got the lead-off batter on with a walk, and after a wild pitch advanced her to second - Amanda Ivy roped an RBI single into center and that scored Katie Anne Bailey, who led off the inning with a walk. UK 5, MSU 3
Kentucky padded on to their lead in the seventh as the Wildcats got two runs. Katie Reed walked to lead off the inning, and Bailey Vick got to third on a three-base throwing error as Reed scored. Vick scored on an RBI single from Abbey Cheek. UK 7, MSU 3
Mississippi State scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh to extend the game. Kentucky pitching walked or hit four different batters and the tying run came across on a walk with the bases loaded to score MSU's fourth run of the inning. MSU 7, UK 7 - End of 7th
Things then got crazy in the top of the 11th inning. Katie Reed led off the inning with a single to the shortstop and Bailey Vick laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to get Reed to second. Brooklin Hinz then advanced on an error and that placed UK runners on the corners with one out. The next play was a fielder's choice and Katie Reed was ruled to have not touched the base in time on the play at home. That brought two outs to the board, as UK had runners on first and second.
Alex Martens then clubbed a double to left-center field to score two runs and plate Hinz and Ray - who hit the fielder's choice, in which Reed was called out on. After that, Jenny Schaper singled through the right side to score Abbey Cheek - who singled earlier - and Martens was called out at home to end the inning. UK 10, MSU 7
In the bottom of the 11th, Spellman allowed two singles, but got Olivia Golden, the clean-up hitter for Mississippi State, to foul out to left field to end the game. FINAL - No. 16 Kentucky 10, Mississippi State 7