BOCA RATON, Fla. - Behind a two-hit outing from junior pitcher Erin Rethlake in the circle - and a second-inning grand slam from junior Rachael Metzger, the No. 24 Kentucky softball team thumped the Memphis Tigers 12-0 on Sunday afternoon to wrap up the 2017 Florida Atlantic Invitational championship, finishing the weekend 5-0.
Kentucky used a four-run second inning thanks to Metzger's first-career grand slam and a seven-run third inning to put away the Tigers early in the game. Erin Rethlake was stellar in the circle for the Wildcats all day, allowing just two hits to Memphis and the UK defense did not commit an error all game. With the win, Rethlake moves to 3-0 on the season, and her ERA drops to a team-best 0.69 in her five appearances.
UK has now won five in a row, with two wins over Memphis, and victories over FAMU, Florida Atlantic and Connecticut down in Boca Raton this weekend to clinch the title. The Wildcats return to action on Friday in the "Coach B. Classic" hosted by Eastern Illinois in Carbondale, Ill. UK will play three games in the Illini state, matching up against EIU, Southern Illinois and the University of Illinois at Chicago commencing on Friday.
Key Stat 12. The 12 runs scored were a season high, breaking the mark set on Saturday against Memphis in the first match-up of the weekend between the two teams. The 12 runs is the most scored since UK's third Southeastern Conference series a season ago against Arkansas, when UK put up 12 runs in a Sunday win over the Razorbacks.
Key Play The key play in the game was Rachael Metzger's second-inning grand slam. The homer, her second of the young season, put the Wildcats up 4-0.
Key Player Erin Rethlake was the key player in the game - earning the win for the Wildcats in the circle. Rethlake went the distance allowing two hits to the 18 batters she faced, no runs, and struck out three.
Run Recap Kentucky struck for four runs in the top of the second inning. The Wildcats loaded the bases with nobody out as Jenny Schaper and Breanne Ray both singled to lead off the inning. A Memphis defensive miscue to Brooklin Hinz loaded the bases with nobody out before Rachael Metzger stepped up and drove a ball out to deep left field for a grand slam. UK 4, MEM 0
The Wildcats played add-on in the third inning - striking for seven runs in the frame. Alex Martens led off the inning with a double. Jenny Schaper then hit an RBI single up the middle to score Martens and advanced to second on the throw home. Brookin Hinz was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners with one out. Rachael Metzger was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Memphis made a pitching change.
Katie Reed got to third on a bases-clearing error by the Memphis defense and then an Erin Rethlake single brought home Reed, as she advanced to third on another error. Abbey Cheek then brought home UK's seventh and eighth runs of the inning on a home run to LF. UK 11, MEM 0
In the top of the fifth, Sarah Rainwater led off the inning with a walk and then scored on an Abbey Cheek SAC fly to deep center. FINAL - No. 22 Kentucky 12, Memphis 0