LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Kentucky softball team opened its season with a 4-1 win over the Dayton Flyers on Thursday afternoon at John Cropp Stadium. With the win, Kentucky moves to 10-3 on the season, and extends its season-high tying win streak to five games.
Abbey Cheek became the first player to record two triples in a single game since 2006 when Megan Cooper hit three against Kent State on Feb. 17, 2006. Cheek now has three triples in the last two games she has played at John Cropp Stadium, as she also notched a three-bagger in the NCAA Regional final against Illinois a season ago.
In her John Cropp Stadium debut, Autumn Humes was sparkling, going 5.2 innings only allowing one unearned run on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts to get her third win of the season to move to 3-0. Freshman Grace Baalman came in and got the save, the first of her career, going the final 1.1 innings, keeping the Flyers at bay.
Kentucky will host the 2018 John Cropp Classic starting on Saturday. UK faces Ohio and Southeast Missouri State two times beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET. All games that UK is involved in will be shown live on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the ESPN app.
Eight. UK pitching struck out eight batters in the game on Thursday afternoon, tying a season high for opponent strikeouts. Grace Baalman had three, including a crucial K looking to end the sixth inning with the bases loaded. The five-strikeout performance from Humes is a new career high.
The winning run came in the bottom of the second on an RBI single up the middle from Brooklin Hinz. The single scored Alex Martens from second as UK took at 2-0 lead in the second inning.
Abbey Cheek was the key player in the game, with two crucial RBI triples down the right field line. Cheek has been tearing the cover off the ball in the first month of the season, and is currently hitting .349.
A two-out RBI single up the middle by Jenny Schaper scored Erin Rethlake to put the Wildcats on the board 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. It was Schaper’s 11th RBI of the season. UK 1, UD 0
In the bottom of the second, Alex Martens led off the inning with a walk and came around to score on a Brooklin Hinz RBI single up the middle with two outs. UK 2, UD 0
Pinch runner Hannah Huffman advanced to second on a passed ball with two outs and then came around to score on Cheek’s first of two RBI triples down the right field line. UK 3, UD 0
Cheek’s second RBI triple of the day came with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning as it scored Katie Reed from second, who was aboard with a single prior to stealing second base. UK 4, UD 0
In the top of the sixth, Dayton got a run on a HBP, but Grace Baalman struck out Julia Blarr looking to end the threat and conserve UK’s three-run lead. FINAL – #22 Kentucky 4, Dayton 1