LEXINGTON, Ky. – One of the most historic senior classes in Kentucky softball history celebrated their special day with authority on Easter Sunday, as the Wildcats clinched the series with No. 14 Auburn behind a 7-0 and 7-3 doubleheader sweep.
The senior class of Sarah Rainwater, Kelsee Henson, Jenny Schaper, Katie Reed and Abbey Cheek were celebrated on the field prior to game one of Sunday’s two games, as over 1,500 fans turned out to help send off the class with support. The seniors had not beaten Auburn in their four years as Wildcats – and Sunday’s pair of wins over the Tigers cemented their legacy as having beaten all 13 Southeastern Conference teams in their four years.
In game one, it was sophomore Grace Baalman that stole the show, becoming the first Kentucky pitcher since Chanda Bell in 2012 to throw a complete-game one-hitter against an SEC team. Baalman went the distance, allowing just one infield single in the top of the sixth inning with two outs. No Auburn runner reached third in the game, and the Wildcats shutout the Tigers, 7-0 to claim game one.
In game two, it was the Jenny Schaper show as the senior from St. Louis, Missouri went yard twice and drove in three runs to lead the Wildcats to a 7-3 win. Autumn Humes got the complete-game performance in the circle for Kentucky, as she upped her season record to 10-8 in the circle, allowing just three runs on four hits.
Kentucky will go for the sweep on Monday night in the SEC Network Game of the Week at 7 p.m. ET. Tiffany Greene and former Alabama All-American Kayla Braud will have the call from John Cropp Stadium. It’s also “Mic’d Up Monday” as head coach Rachel Lawson will be wearing a microphone all night as fans will get to listen in to Lawson during the game.
Game 1 – Kentucky 7, Auburn 0
- The shutout by Grace Baalman was the third shutout by Kentucky pitching this season in SEC play.
Kayla Kowalik’s RBI single in the bottom of the first was the key play of the game, as she scored Jaci Babbs – who led off with a walk. That was all the offense UK would need to win.
Grace Baalman was the key player, going the distance, only allowing one hit, no runs, and striking out six Auburn batters.
Kentucky scored in the bottom of the first as Kayla Kowalik singled up the middle to score pinch runner Jaci Babbs with two outs. UK 1, AU 0
In the bottom of the third, Kowalik singled again with runners in scoring position, and a two-out double by Kelsee Henson brought in more Wildcats as the Tigers’ left fielder lost the ball in the sun. UK 4, AU 0
UK played add-on in the bottom of the sixth, striking for three runs on two hits. Jenny Schaper brought in a run and Abbey Cheek singled through the left side to plate Bailey Vick. FINAL – #23 Kentucky 7, #14 Auburn 0
Game 2 – Kentucky 7, Auburn 3
- Jenny Schaper scored three runs as the Wildcats picked up their third SEC series win of the season. Schaper’s three runs scored is a new career high.
Alex Martens’ three-run home run in the bottom of the second was the key play. The Tigers elected not to pitch to Abbey Cheek and Martens made them pay on a first-pitch three-run home run to straight-away center.
Schaper was the key player in the game, going 3-for-4 with a single and a pair of home runs. It is the third time this season Schaper has hit two homers in a game (Miami OH, NKU, Auburn).
Kentucky scored in the bottom of the first on an Auburn error at third, allowing Abbey Cheek to score. UK 1, AU 0
Auburn took its only lead of the day in the top of the second, scoring twice on a Kentucky error and a wild pitch. AU 2, UK 1
In the bottom of the second, Kentucky tied the game on an RBI single from Schaper to score Jaci Babbs, and that was followed by a three-run home run from Alex Martens after AU elected to intentionally walk Abbey Cheek. UK 5, AU 2
Auburn responded in the third with a run on a two-out rally to pull within two. UK 5, AU 3
Kentucky scored its final two runs off of solo home runs from Jenny Schaper in the bottom of the fourth and sixth innings. FINAL – #23 Kentucky 7, #14 Auburn 3