By LARRY VAUGHT
It’s Senior Day for Kentucky softball but freshman Mallory Peyton of Madisonville once again delivered the game’s biggest blow.
She had a grand slam homer in Friday’s win over No. 12 South Carolina (42-13) and came back Sunday with a 3-run shot in a six-run fourth inning that propelled Kentucky (31-17) to an 8-4 win over the Gamecocks. With the win, No. 19 Kentucky assured itself of a berth in the upcoming Southeastern Conference Tournament. Kentucky is 8-14 in league play, South Carolina 14-9.
Kentucky got an early 2-0 lead thanks in part to a solo home run by senior Brooklin Hinz before South Carolina tied the game on a two-run homer in the third inning. However, UK exploded for six runs on six hits in the fourth inning – Hinz drove in another run with an infield single — to regain control.
Catcher Jenny Schaper had three hits and scored twice.
Senior Erin Rethlake retired 10 straight batters before a two-out walk in the sixth led to a third South Carolina run. Still, she went the distance giving up nine hits, striking out five and walking two while throwing 137 pitches.
Game two of the doubleheader should start about 1:45 p.m.