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The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

Schaper and Smith lift UK past Murray State

2337 days ago
Kentucky Athletics
Photo: Kentucky Athletics

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Freshman catcher Jenny Schaper had one of her strongest showings at the plate, going 2-for-3 on the day with a double and two RBI and junior pitcher Shannon Smith threw five scoreless innings, as the No. 12 Kentucky softball team used a five-run sixth inning to power past the Murray State Racers 6-1 on Wednesday afternoon at John Cropp Stadium.

With the win, Kentucky ups its best start in program history to 27-4 overall and remains 5-1 in Southeastern Conference play as SEC action gets back underway at Arkansas this weekend for a three-game series. Murray State falls to 10-14 on the year.

It was a pitchers' duel from the outset, with starters S. Smith for UK and Mason Robinson for Murray each throwing five innings with minimal to no damage. Smith for UK had one of her strongest outings of the season, throwing 5.0 innings allowing no runs on two hits, striking out eight and only walking two. Senior captain Kelsey Nunley entered the game for UK in the top of the fifth, and picked up her 11th win of the season after shutting the door on the Racers in the sixth and seventh innings. Nunley moves to 11-2 on the season after giving up just one run.

Junior outfielder Breanne Ray clubbed a homer to rightcenter field in the bottom of the fifth inning to break open the scoring after almost five complete innings of shutout pitching by both sides. The homer for Ray was her second in as many games, after hitting a walk-off homer against Northern Kentucky on Tuesday night to cap off a 9-0 win over the Norse.

MSU would tie the game in the top of the sixth, but Kentucky would plate five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Wildcats batted around in the inning to put the game out of reach for Murray, as Nunley got the final three outs with no problem in the top of the seventh.

Kentucky will return to action on Friday in Fayetteville, Ark., as it returns to SEC play with a 5-1 record in league competition. The three-game series kicks off on Friday at 1 p.m. ET against the Razorbacks. Saturday's game will be televised nationally on the SEC Network with Troy Benders and Jenny Dalton-Hill calling the action at 2 p.m. ET before a 1 p.m. ET series finale on Sunday.