(Photo Courtesy of Texas Athletics)
AUSTIN, Texas – Freshman pitcher Meagan Prince tossed three scoreless innings in relief to grab her second win of the season, while senior Lauren Cumbess recorded a multiple-hit game with a three-run homer, as the No. 7/9 University of Kentucky softball team defeated No. 15/16 Texas, 6-5 on Sunday to win the Texas Classic Championship at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas.
The win for Kentucky (10-0) continues its unblemished start, extending the program-best start to a season. After a 5-0 start last weekend with a win over then-No. 2 Oklahoma, Kentucky rolled through the Texas Classic with a 1-0 win over Louisiana Tech behind the second career no-hitter from Lauren Cumbess. UK followed that performance with a 6-4 win over Texas on Friday night, before wins of IPFW and Louisiana Tech on Saturday and its 6-5 win over Texas on Sunday.
Cumbess started the game in the circle, going four innings and allowing five runs on seven hits with four strikeouts. Prince relieved Cumbess in the fifth inning and threw three scoreless innings the rest of the way to claim the win. The native of Martin, Tenn., allowed four hits in the game with three strikeouts. The win moves Prince’s record to 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA, striking out 12 batters in 13 innings pitched. Cumbess, who threw a no-hitter to start the weekend against Louisiana Tech, got a no decision and is 2-0 on the year with a 2.81 ERA.
Offensively, Cumbess paced Kentucky going 2-for-4 with three RBI, including her first home run of the season. Seniors Ginny Carroll, Krystal Smith and Emily Jolly each recorded hits, with Carroll launching her second home run of the season, while Jolly earned an RBI and Smith doubled for the first time this season. Sophomore Sylver Samuel went 1-for-2 in the game with her first double of the season and a run scored, while junior catcher Griffin Joiner did not have an official at-bat in the game, drawing four four-pitch walks. Joiner’s nine-game hitting streak to open the season is still alive since she did not have an official at bat.
Texas (6-6) threw freshman pitcher Tiarra Davis, who went all seven innings, allowing six runs on six hits with six walks and eight strikeouts. Davis earned the loss moving her record to 1-3. Mandy Ogle led the way offensively for Texas going 1-for-4 with three RBI and her first home run of the season, while Lindsey Stephens went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a home run. Leftfielder Stephanie Wong went 2-for-3 with a run scored. All nine batters in Texas’ lineup recorded a hit in the game.
Kentucky scored first in the game with two runs on three hits in the second inning. The inning started with a leadoff home run by Ginny Carroll. After Texas got a fly out to rightfield and a strikeout, Samuel doubled to centerfield and moved to third on a wild pitch before scoring when Jolly singled sharply up the middle. The inning ended when Jolly was thrown out trying to steal second base.
After a solo home run by Stephens in the bottom of the second inning to cut the UK lead to 2-1, Cumbess helped herself with a three-run home run in the top of the third inning to extend UK’s lead to 5-1. The inning started with Stokes reaching on an error by the shortstop, moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ansley Smith. Texas intentionally walked Joiner to put two runners on for Cumbess, who made Texas pay with her a three-run bomb to rightfield.
Texas tied the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the fourth inning with Davis doubling to leftfield to being the frame. After a groundout, Texas stringed five hits together, including the three-run homer by Ogle, to cut the lead to 5-4 before Cumbess hit Taylor Thom with a pitch with the bases loaded to allow the tying run to score. Cumbess got out of the jam with a groundout and a pop out.
The Wildcats grabbed the lead for good in the top of the seventh inning starting with Ansley Smith getting hit by a pitch, advancing to second when Joiner walked to put two runners on for Cumbess, who singled to rightfield to load the bases. After Carroll struck out, Krystal Smith hit a sharp grounder that the shortstop muffed, allowing a run to score and UK to earn the 6-5 win.
The Wildcats will continue their 15-game road stretch to start the season next weekend in Boca Raton, Fla., at the FAU Invitational. UK will play five games in three days in the Sunshine State, starting on Friday with a doubleheader against Penn State and Florida Atlantic beginning at 4 p.m. ET. The Wildcats will face Kent State and No. 4/6 Michigan on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. ET, before a 9 a.m. ET battle with Penn State on Sunday to conclude the tournament. Live scores from every game will be available at UKathletics.com.