College Softball News

Cumbess’ Do-It-All Effort Leads No. 5 Softball Past Penn State

(Photo Courtesy of Kentucky Athletics)

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Senior pitcher Lauren Cumbess picked up her fourth win of the season and went 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBI, while senior outfielder Emily Jolly belted her fourth home run of the season, leading the No. 5/6 University of Kentucky softball team to a 8-1 victory over Penn State on Sunday in the final day of the FAU Invitational in Boca Raton, Fla.

Kentucky (13-2) concludes the FAU Invitational with three wins, posting two wins over Penn State and one over FAU. The Wildcats dropped both games of its Saturday doubleheader, falling to 2013 Mid-American Conference East Champions Kent State and No. 5/7 Michigan. The losses on Saturday were the first of the season for Kentucky, who started the year with its best start in program history at 12-0. The 12-game winning streak was the longest in school history, surpassing the previous school record of eight consecutive wins.

The FAU Invitational completes a 15-game road swing to start the year for Kentucky. UK will return to Lexington for its home opener on Friday against EKU at 3 p.m. ET as part of a three-day tournament at John Cropp Stadium. The event, which features four teams in UK, EKU, Butler and Pittsburgh, will begin with round-robin play on Friday and Saturday before seeded games Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The tournament begins a stretch for UK where it will play 19 of its next 27 games at John Cropp Stadium, including a 14-game home stand from March 21 to April 9.

Cumbess was impressive in the circle and at the plate in the win. The native of Normal, Ill., threw seven strong innings for the Wildcats, allowing one unearned run on four hits with five strikeouts. The senior went 2-0 on the weekend to improve her record to 4-0 this season with a 1.80 ERA. Cumbess also performed well at the plate Sunday, going 3-for-3 with three RBI. On the weekend, Cumbess hit .462 (6-for-13) with three doubles and five RBI.

Seven other Wildcats recorded hits in the win with Jolly going 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and senior infielder Krystal Smith going 2-for-3 with two RBI. Senior outfielder Ginny Carroll, junior catcher Griffin Joiner and sophomores Sylver Samuel, Christian Stokes and Nikki Sagermann each recorded hits in the game.

Penn State started pitcher Marlaina Laubach, who went 2.2 innings, allowing five runs – all earned – on seven hits to pick up the loss. Christy Von Pusch threw the final 3.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits with three strikeouts. Offensively, Shelby Miller had a multiple-hit game, going 2-for-3 with an RBI.

The Wildcats started the scoring in the third inning behind the two-run home run by Jolly. Stokes singled sharply to leftfield to start the inning before moving to second on a passed ball and to third on a sacrifice bunt by Carroll. That set the scene for Jolly, who hammered a line drive well over the wall in left-centerfield to put UK up 2-0. After a Joiner single and an Ansley Smith walk, Cumbess doubled to rightfield to make it 3-0 before Krystal Smith cleared the bases with a double to leftfield to put UK up 5-0.

UK tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning on two hits and a Penn State error. Jolly got things going again with a double to leftfield, moving to third when Ansley Smith reached on an error by the PSU leftfielder. After a Emily Gaines groundout scored Jolly from third, Ansley Smith came home to score on a Cumbess single giving UK a 7-0 lead.

After Penn State scored a run in the sixth inning behind two hits and a UK error to make the score 7-1, the Wildcats responded with a single run in the bottom of the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Lauren Cumbess to give UK the 8-1 win.

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