LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky softball team exploded for 22 runs in just 12 innings of play on Sunday afternoon, putting a clamp on the 2018 John Cropp Classic championship, winning it for the second year running. UK started the day with an 11-2 win over the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks, and capped the weekend with an 11-1 result over Ohio to sweep both teams.
UK's offense, which continues to impress in the beginning stages of 2018, combined in the two games for 26 hits, five home runs, 21 runs batted in, four doubles and over nine players had two or more hits on the day. Continuing to show signs of improvement, UK had six different players with three RBI or more in the games, and nine different players score two or more times.
The Wildcats with Sunday's wins have now won nine games in a row to up their season-high win streak and push their record to 14-3, a season-high nine games above the .500 mark.
Autumn Humes and Grace Baalman earned the wins in the circle Sunday, as UK's young and developing pitching staff continued to show signs of growth and improvement.
Kentucky will close out its six-game homestand on Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET as UK welcomes SIUE to Lexington for a midweek tilt at John Cropp Stadium. The game will also be shown live on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the ESPN app with Dave Baker and NFCA Executive Director, Carol Bruggeman on the call from Lexington.
Game 1 - #22 Kentucky 11, Southeast Missouri State 2
One. Kentucky got behind the Redhawks on Saturday night, but responded well on Sunday by putting up one run in the first inning to set the tone of the game. It was the 10th run that UK has scored in the first inning this season in its games.
Abbey Cheek's monstrous home run in the top of the fifth inning, a three-run shot, was the biggest play of the game. UK was leading 5-2 and then Cheek launched a three-run blast over the top of the videoboard at John Cropp Stadium to give UK a six-run lead, at 8-2.
Brooklin Hinz was the key player in the game, going 2-for-4 with a single, and a double - both two-out RBI hits that kept the foot on the gas pedal for UK.
Bailey Vick led off the game with a single, and came around to score on a two-out RBI single up the middle by Brooklin Hinz. UK 1, SEMO 0
Kentucky made it a 3-0 game on a two-run home run from senior Rachael Metzger. It was Metzger's first hit of the 2018 season. UK 3, SEMO 0
SEMO scored twice in the bottom of the third on a two-RBI triple from Sarah Messex. UK 3, SEMO 2
The first five batters all reached safely - and scored - in the Kentucky fifth. Jenny Schaper and Brooklin Hinz both had RBI hits, and then both came around to score on Abbey Cheek's home run over the scoreboard. UK 8, SEMO 2
Kentucky would tack on three more runs in the top of the seventh on a three-run home run by Mallory Peyton. It was her first-career home run at John Cropp Stadium. FINAL - #22 Kentucky 11, SEMO 2
Game 2 - #22 Kentucky 11, Ohio 1
Three. UK hit three home runs in the game, a new single-game high for 2018.
The key play in the game was Jenny Schaper's two-RBI single in the bottom of the first, which ended up scoring the winning runs.
Grace Baalman. The freshman pitcher went the distance, only allowing two hits and one run to earn her seventh win of the season and run her record to 7-1 in the circle this season.
The first four batters of the game all reached base for UK in the bottom of the first and both Jenny Schaper and Katie Reed had RBI hits to make it 3-0. Rachael Metzger then doubled to score anther run and put UK up 4-0 after one. UK 4, OU 0
In the bottom of the second, Erin Rethlake led off the inning with a single and came around to score on Hinz's RBI single. UK 5, OU 0
Kentucky would tack on a run in the third on a solo homer from Mallory Peyton, her second of the day. UK 6, OU 0
The Wildcats would pour it on in the fourth, scoring five runs on four hits, with three of them coming thanks to an Alex Martens three-run HR to straightaway CF.
Ohio got a run in the top of the fifth on a Taylor Saxton RBI single. FINAL - #22 Kentucky 11, Ohio 1 (5)