Nunley, Cumbess Shine as Softball Wins WCWS Opener vs. ULL
OKLAHOMA CITY – Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley was brilliant in the circle with only one hit allowed and five strikeouts, while senior pitcher/infielder Lauren Cumbess provided the offense by going 3-for-3 with a home run, double and two RBI, as No. 14 Kentucky posted a 4-1 win over No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette in its 2014 Women’s College World Series opener on Thursday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Kentucky (50-17) stays in the winner’s bracket of the tournament and will play the winner of No. 2 Alabama and No. 7 Oklahoma on Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. The winner of Friday’s game will have a day off on Saturday and automatically advances to the final of the winner’s bracket, which will determine the two teams that will in the championship final (best-of-three series).
Live stats from Friday’s game will be available on UKathletics.com, while the game will be aired live on radio in Lexington and streamed online. UK’s game on Friday can be heard live on 630-AM WLAP with Dick Gabriel and Jenny Dalton-Hill calling the action.
Nunley and Cumbess were the stars for Kentucky in the game with Nunley allowing one hit in seven innings of work, striking out five and allowing one earned run on a solo home run in the first inning. The win in the circle for Nunley moves her record to 30-9 on the season, becoming the first 30-win pitcher in program history. The native of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., is now 6-2 in NCAA Tournament play, having thrown every pitch of every NCAA Tournament game for UK this season. The sophomore has nine wins in her career in NCAA Tournament games, leading UK all-time in that category.
Cumbess led UK at the dish and was responsible for three runs with a double, home run and two RBI to go 3-for-3 in the game. The native of Normal, Ill., hit a run-scoring double in the first inning and followed with a solo home run in the fourth. The homer was her 10th home run of the season – and fourth career NCAA Tournament home run – clearing the wall in left-centerfield. Fellow senior infielder Krystal Smith had a double in the game and scored a run, while senior outfielder Ginny Carroll had a RBI on a sacrifice fly. Junior catcher Griffin Joiner was the only other Wildcat with a hit, going 1-for-2. Sophomore Sylver Samuel reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second base, marking her fifth stolen base all-time in NCAA Tournament play which is a new school record.
Louisiana-Lafayette (49-9-1) started ace Christina Hamilton in the circle with the junior going seven innings, allowing four runs – two earned – on five hits with two strikeouts. Offensively, the Ragin’ Cajuns had one hit on a solo home run in the first inning by sophomore catcher Lexie Elkins. Nunley got two quick outs to start the inning on a groundout and fly out, before Elkins hit her 23rd home run of the season. Nunley followed with a walk before getting her first strikeout of the game to end the threat.
Kentucky started the scoring with a run in the first inning after a double to right-centerfield by Cumbess. After two outs to start the inning, sophomore infielder Nikki Sagermann reached on a fielding error and moved to second when Joiner was walked. That set the stage for Cumbess, who sent a laser line drive into the gap to score Sagermann and put UK up 1-0. Louisiana-Lafayette got a strikeout to end the threat.
The Wildcats grabbed their lead back in the second inning after Smith started the inning with a double off the wall in leftfield. Smith moved to third on a perfect sacrifice bunt by senior Emily Jolly before Carroll hit a sacrifice fly to leftfield to give UK the 2-1 lead. A foul out by sophomore shortstop Christian Stokes ended the inning.
After Cumbess’ home run in the fourth inning gave Kentucky a 3-1 lead, the senior was involved in more scoring in the sixth inning. After an infield single by Joiner to start the frame, Cumbess placed a perfect bunt down the first baseline for a single with the ULL pitcher fielding the ball and throwing wildly to first, allowing sophomore Maisie Steed, who was pinch running for Joiner, to score.
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