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Metzger, Rethlake Help Kentucky Close Out Dominant Regional

Rachael Metzger had a 3-run pinch hit double Sunday after hitting a pinch hit grand slam homer Saturday. (UK Athletics Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 16 nationally-seeded Kentucky softball team scored eight runs on eight hits Sunday afternoon, cruising past the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 8-0 to book a spot in next weekend’s NCAA Super Regionals. With Sunday’s win, UK sweeps play in Lexington for the second-straight year.

The Wildcats will be traveling out to Eugene, Oregon to face the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, Oregon for the Super Regional round. Dates, times and television assignments will be announced by the NCAA and ESPN in the coming hours.

Kentucky was dominant on Sunday, getting a complete-game shutout from Erin Rethlake in the circle, only allowing one hit and walking just two batters. All said – Kentucky allowed just one run all weekend in the regional, it was unearned. The UK staff surrendered just three hits and was only forced to throw 189 pitches.

Rachael Metzger broke open the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, with her second huge at bat of the weekend, clearing the bases with three RBI on a double with two outs and the bases loaded to put the Wildcats ahead, 7-0. Metzger hit her second-career grand slam against the Irish on Saturday night to put UK up 6-0 and on the weekend, went 2-for-2 at the plate with seven RBI.

Abbey Cheek closed out the Lexington Regional with her team-leading 16th home run of the season to left field – as the run rule was enforced and Kentucky walked off with an 8-0 win in the sixth inning.

Key Stat

  1. Kentucky is just the third team in NCAA Tournament history under the current format to run rule its opponents in all three games of an NCAA Regional. UK joins Missouri (2016) and Washington (2014) as the only two others.

 

Key Play

In the bottom of the first, sophomore Alex Martens deposited her seventh home run of the season over the wall in center to give Kentucky a 2-0 lead, scoring Jenny Schaper who led off the inning with a walk.

 

Key Player

Not to be overlooked in Sunday’s game was Erin Rethlake. The senior in the circle went the distance to pick up the complete-game shutout over the Fighting Irish and send UK into Super Regionals. Rethlake needed just 66 pitches and struck out three to hurl her second complete game of the regional.

 

Run Recap

In the bottom of the first, sophomore Alex Martens deposited her seventh home run of the season over the wall in center to give Kentucky a 2-0 lead, scoring Jenny Schaper who led off the inning with a walk. UK 2, ND 0

 

In the bottom of the second, Jenny Schaper doubled off the wall in straight-away CF to score Erin Rethlake from second to triple the UK lead. UK 3, ND 0

 

Lauren Johnson knocked in the Wildcats fourth run in the top of the third inning, as her single scored pinch runner Kelsee Henson. UK 4, ND 0

 

Rachael Metzger broke open the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, with her second huge at bat of the weekend, clearing the bases with three RBI on a double with two outs and the bases loaded. UK 7, ND 0

 

Abbey Cheek walked off the regional with a home run to left field. UK 8, ND 0

 

2018 NCAA Softball Lexington Regional | Tournament Central Site

John Cropp Stadium – Lexington, Ky.

Friday, May 18

Game 1 – Notre Dame def. Michigan 4-1

Saturday, May 19
Game 2 – Kentucky def. UIC 10-1 (5)
Game 3 – Michigan def. UIC 6-0
Game 4 – Kentucky def. Notre Dame 10-0 (5)

Sunday, May 20
Game 5 – Notre Dame def. Michigan 2-1
Game 6 – Kentucky def. Notre Dame 8-0 (6)

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