LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky softball team got stellar pitching in the circle on Saturday afternoon to take a 5-3 win over Ohio University and a 4-2 win over Southeast Missouri State to run its season-high win streak to seven games on day one of the 2018 John Cropp Classic.
UK scored early in the game against Ohio, striking for two first-inning runs, which would set the tone of the game - before scoring late against SEMO), including four unanswered runs to record the 12th win of the season for the Wildcats.
Autumn Humes earned her first-career save in the game against Ohio, entering the game in the seventh inning for her only inning of the day to notch the second save by UK pitching in back-to-back games.
Grace Baalman was nothing short of sensational in the circle for UK, holding the SEMO Redhawks scoreless for six complete innings. Baalman allowed just three hit and three walks, but set a new career high, striking out eight batters in the game.
Kentucky will host the final day of the 2018 John Cropp Classic on Sunday with three games at the complex. SEMO will face Ohio at 10 a.m. ET followed by UK and SEMO at 12:30 p.m. ET and then UK against Ohio at 3 p.m. ET. All Kentucky games will be live on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the ESPN app with Dave Baker and Dorian Craft on the call.
Game 1 - #22 Kentucky 5, Ohio 3
Two. UK got two runs in the top of the first inning that really set the tone for the game. UK then went up 5-0 on a two-run homer by Schaper.
The key play in the game was Jenny Schaper's two-run, two-out home run to score herself and Katie Reed and put the Wildcats ahead of the Bobcats, 5-0.
Katie Reed was the key player in the game, going 3-for-4 just a home run shy of the cycle. Her RBI triple in the third got UK's scoring started to score Rethlake, and then she roped an RBI double to the wall in center to score Kentucky's third run of the game.
Erin Rethlake scored from first on Katie Reed's one-out triple to the wall in center. Jenny Schaper, the next batter, then scored Reed from third with two outs on a double off the top of the wall in left. UK 2, OU 0
In the top of the fifth, UK struck for three more runs. Erin Rethlake again scored on a double by Katie Reed, and Reed then came around to score on a two-run shot by Jenny Schaper. UK 5, OU 0
The Bobcats scored twice in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out, two-run single up the middle by Michaela Dorsey. UK 5, OU 2
In the bottom of the seventh, Alex Day hit a solo home run to right. FINAL - #22 Kentucky 5, Ohio 3
Game 2 - #22 Kentucky 4, Southeast Missouri State 2
3. The number of hits that Grace Baalman allowed in six complete innings of shutout softball. Baalman earned her sixth win of the season in the circle.
Bailey Vick's RBI infield single with one out was the key play in the game. It gave UK its first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, and scored Katie Reed, who got on with a triple - her second in as many games.
Jenny Schaper was the key player in the game, getting Kentucky's first hit of the game and scoring to get the Wildcats offense going after a slow start.
SEMO put the first two batters on after a walk and a strikeout. A sacrifice fly by Abby Tillotson brought home one run in the top of the first. SEMO 1, UK 0
The Redhawks doubled their lead in the top of the second inning on a solo home run by Ashley Ellis. SEMO 2 UK 0
UK's offense didn't register a hit until Jenny Schaper's lead-off single up the middle in the fifth inning. She came around to score on a Brooklin Hinz single up the middle, and Hinz tied the game on Mallory Peyton's two-out, RBI single into left field. UK 2, SEMO 2
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Katie Reed tripled for the second time in as many games, and was brought home on an infield single from Bailey Vick. UK 3, SEMO 2
UK added some insurance on an RBI infield single from Erin Rethlake to score Brooklin Hinz from third - who led the sixth off with a single. FINAL - #22 Kentucky 4, Southeast Missouri State 2