LEXINGTON, Ky. - Mallory Peyton and the Kentucky Softball seniors celebrated in grand style Saturday afternoon as the Wildcats swept a doubleheader with South Carolina 6-3 and 3-2 in eight innings to cap off a six-game winning streak to close out the regular season thanks to Peyton's walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Kentucky closes the regular season with a 38-12 overall record on the season and a 13-11 record in the Southeastern Conference. The bracket for the 2021 Southeastern Conference Tournament will be finalized on Sunday after the completion of all games around the league. Kentucky is guaranteed to be in the Wednesday games, with game times announced Sunday.
In game one, senior Grace Baalman picked up the win in the circle for Kentucky, going four innings, only allowing three runs on seven hits with a trio of strikeouts. Miranda Stoddard picked up a nice effort of relief Saturday as she pitched the final three innings of game one, allowing no runs on two hits.
In game two, Autumn Humes went six innings, allowing only one run on five Gamecock hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Tatum Spangler shook of a game-tying play in the seventh to shut down the USC order in the eighth, setting up a Mallory Peyton walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to win the game.
Additionally, Kayla Kowalik accomplished a program first on Saturday, as she became the first-ever UK player to finish the season with a .500 batting average or higher, as she closes the 2021 regular season with a .509 batting average. The prior high was .442 by Nikki Jones in 2002.
Game 1 - Kentucky 6, South Carolina 3
2. Kayla Kowalik scored two runs in the game, as she continued her torrid season at the plate.
Miranda Stoddard was the key player in the game with three innings in the circle, only allowing two hits and a hit in the game, as well.
Mallory Peyton's two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning was the key play of the game.
Kentucky scored two runs in the first inning, as Kowalik and Spangler scored on a Peyton RBI single, and a Renee Abernathy sacrifice fly to left field. UK 2, USC 0
UK doubled its lead by loading the bases with nobody out in the second, and a pair of RBI fielder's choice's by Lauren Johnson and Erin Coffel scored a pair of runs. UK 4, USC 0
South Carolina got a three-run home run in the top of the fourth inning to cut the lead to one. UK 4, USC 3
In the bottom of the fourth, UK got two of the three runs back on a Mallory Peyton home run. Peyton with her 10th HR of the season joined only three other UK players to hit 10+ HR's in three different years (Brittany Cervantes, Abbey Cheek and Griffin Joiner). FINAL - Kentucky 6, South Carolina 3
Game 2 - Kentucky 3, South Carolina 2 (8 innings)
Six. Autumn Humes threw six scoreless innings in the second game, as she allowed just five hits and one run, with no walks and five strikeouts.
Lauren Johnson was the key player in game two, going 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning.
Mallory Peyton's walk-off home run in the bottom of the eighth inning was the key play in the game.
Kentucky took a 1-0 lead after a lead-off single by Kayla Kowalik was tuned into a run by Lauren Johnson thanks to an RBI single. UK 1, USC 0
UK doubled its lead thanks to a Miranda Stoddard RBI single through the left side to score Renee Abernathy with two outs in the top of the fifth inning. UK 2, USC 0
A home run by Mackenzie Boesel cut the lead in half in the top of the fifth inning. UK 2, USC 1
South Carolina tied the game in the top of the seventh on a fielder's choice. UK 2, USC 2 Mallory Peyton walked off the game with a solo home run to straight-away center, her second of the day. FINAL - Kentucky 3, South Carolina 2 (8 innings)