No. 9 Kentucky evens series with No. 8 Lady Vols in Lexington 5-2
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kentucky senior pitcher/infielder Lauren Cumbess tossed four strong innings in the circle and launched her eighth home run of the season, while freshman pitcher Meagan Prince came on in relief to toss three scoreless innings with four strikeouts, leading No. 9 Kentucky to a 5-2 series-evening win against No. 8 Tennessee.
Kentucky (40-10, 13-7 Southeastern Conference) got an impressive performance in the circle and at the plate from Cumbess to start the game with the senior belting a two-run home run in the second inning before tossing four innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts. Cumbess gave way to Prince to start the fifth inning with the freshman silencing the Lady Vols the rest of the way, allowing only three hits with four strikeouts in the scoreless outing. Prince threw a dominating sixth inning, striking out the side after UK had taken a two-run lead.
The two hurlers combined to only allow the high-powered Tennessee offense to score two runs, which marked only the seventh time this season and third time in conference action that UT has been held to two or less runs. Cumbess and Prince combined for eight strikeouts, which is only the seventh time this season and third in league action that UT has been struck out eight or more times.
Kentucky's offense made a winner out of Prince with two runs in the fifth inning to grab a lead it would not relinquish. The game-winning rally started when junior catcher Griffin Joiner reached on a fielding error, moving to second on a bunt single by sophomore outfielder Sylver Samuel. That set the scene for sophomore infielder Nikki Sagermann, who lined a single up the middle that scored Joiner. Sagermann was out trying to advance to second base on the throw home, but the throw to get Sagermann out allowed Samuel to come home and score and put Kentucky up 4-2.
UK added an insurance run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by senior Emily Jolly after Cumbess - who went 2-for-3 in the game with a two-run homer- started the inning with a double. The three-run lead was enough for UK as Prince allowed a runner to reach in the seventh, but nothing else to seal the victory.
The game-winning RBI by Sagermann marked the fourth time in the last seven games that the native of Buford, Ga., has drove in the game-winning run. Sagermann finished the game 1-for-3 and now has an RBI in 14 of her last 20 games. Cumbess has a hit in 22 of her last 27 games and has 111 RBI in her career, which ranks tied for seventh most in a career in school history.