In the bottom of the fifth inning, with bases loaded and one out, senior Princess Valencia made her first at-bat as a Kentucky Wildcat count. Her single through the right side secured a 10-2 victory for the No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats over Eastern Kentucky via a run rule on Wednesday night at John Cropp Stadium.
Valencia, a senior who transferred from Western Kentucky University this season, took a 3-2 offering from EKU pitcher Brooke Davis and placed it into shallow left field, immediately scoring Kayla Kowalik to end the game with her swing. Kowalik went 2-for-4 on the night, recording a single, double, and reaching twice on an error to score twice as well.
Kentucky scored 10 runs for the first time since April 12, using three pitchers in the contest: Stephanie Schoonover, Kennedy Sullivan, and Sloan Gayan. The Wildcats earned their ninth run-rule win of the season with this victory.
With Wednesday’s win, UK’s record improved to 28-15-1, while Eastern Kentucky’s record fell to 25-21. Kentucky will next face a three-game Southeastern Conference series at Mississippi State, running from Friday to Sunday in Starkville, as the Wildcats wrap up their SEC road schedule against the Bulldogs.
The key play in the game was Valencia’s walk-off hit. Kennedy Sullivan was the game’s key player, pitching 1.2 innings to secure the win with two strikeouts and 50 pitches. At the plate, Sullivan also went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. The key stat of the game was Kentucky scoring six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The game saw EKU take an early lead with a two-out RBI single in the top of the first, only for UK to respond in the bottom of the inning with Erin Coffel’s solo home run, her team-leading 17th of the season. Two Colonel errors and a hit by Sullivan gave UK a 3-1 lead.
In the bottom of the second, a walk to Erin Coffel led to a run from an RBI double by Kayla Kowalik, her second hit of the game. EKU narrowed UK’s lead in the top of the third inning with a solo home run, making the score 4-2.
The decisive fifth inning saw Kentucky score six runs, including Rylea Smith’s first homer of the season that plated two runs. A fielding error by the Colonels loaded the bases, and Erin Coffel scored her third run of the game on an incredible play. With the bases loaded and one out, Princess Valencia stepped up to the plate and delivered her game-winning hit. The final score was Kentucky 10, Eastern Kentucky 2 (F/5).Regenerate response