LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The No. 11 Kentucky softball team scored two runs in the top of the seventh, just minutes after the conclusion of a 54-minute lightning delay to come from behind to give the Wildcats a 2-1 win over the Louisville Cardinals in the annual "Battle of the Bluegrass" at Ulmer Stadium on Wednesday night.
Kentucky was seeing the ball well all night, registering eight hits in the first six innings, but was unable to get a key hit with runners in scoring position, as the Wildcats left four runners in scoring position through the first six innings.
Kelsey Nunley did what she does best all night long, throwing a complete game winner - holding the potent Louisville offense to just one run on four hits all night. The Soddy Daisy, Tenn., native threw 153 pitches on the night, striking out seven batters and allowing just three walks in the game. With Wednesday night's win, Nunley now hoists a 19-5 overall record.
UK with the result on Wednesday gets to 40 wins in a single season for the fourth time in school history, and this team becomes the second-fastest team ever to reach the 40-wins plateau (2014 team). UK sits at 40-11 overall and remains 14-7 in Southeastern Conference play. Louisville falls to 32-11 on the year and remains 13-5 in Atlantic Coast Conference action.
Louisville led the game 1-0 going into the bottom of the sixth inning on an RBI slap triple to the wall in rightcenter field by left fielder Jordan McNary to score Brittany Sims. The Cards then took a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning and got a walk, followed by a double to put runners on second and third with no outs.
After a Jenna Jordan groundout to first with no advancement, lightning was spotted in the area seven miles away and the game entered a lightning delay at 7:45 p.m. ET local time. The grounds crew then pulled the tarp, and after a 54-minute delay, the game resumed with Nunley getting a lineout to second and a groundout to third to end the inning.
Kentucky then stepped to the plate in the seventh, and scored the game-tying and game-winning runs with two outs before Nunley closed out the game in three-up, three-down fashion to close the game.
Kentucky will now take the weekend off and enjoy its Southeastern Conference bye week before returning to action on Friday, May 7 in the first game of a three-game set with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Saturday's game with MSU will be Senior Day, and fans should be advised that the start time of that game has been moved up to a Noon ET start to accommodate the SEC Network+. Friday's game will start at 6 p.m. ET with Sunday's series finale set to begin at 1 p.m. ET.
Key Stat: Thirty one. Kentucky's pitching has allowed one or zero runs in 31 of its 51 games this season with Wednesday's 2-1 win.
Key Play: In the top of the seventh inning with the game tied at 1-1, Brooklin Hinz stepped to the plate with runners on the corners and two outs and then laced the game-winning RBI up the box into CF to score Abbey Cheek from third and win the game for the Cats.
Key Player: Freshman Katie Reed was the key player in Wednesday night's win, going 3-for-3 at the plate with two singles and a double, before scoring the game-tying run in the seventh.
Brittany Sims of Louisville got aboard in the bottom of the second inning on a one-out walk issued by Kelsey Nunley, one of just three issued by the senior all night. Left fielder Jordan McNary then slapped a ball to the wall over the heads of the drawn-in infielder to score Sims and score the first run of the game. UL 1, UK 0
In the seventh inning, after a Maisie Steed groundout to open the inning, Katie Reed singled for the third time in the game to open the UK last-ditch rally. Sylver Samuel fouled out to the left side for the second out, and UK was down to its final out in the form of Nikki Sagermann. Sagermann reached on an error to the second basemen, and Reed stopped at second to put runners at first and second with two outs.
Abbey Cheek then laced a ball to the shortstop/second base hole and the throw to first was not in time, and an error allowed Reed to score from second. With runners on the corners, sophomore Brooklin Hinz laced the game-winning RBI single up the middle to score Sagermann - the game-winning run - from third. FINAL - No. 11 Kentucky 2, Louisville 1