Rally Falls Short as Kentucky Drops Heartbreaker to No. 2 Bama
OKLAHOMA CITY – University of Kentucky sophomore pitcher Kelsey Nunley tossed seven strong innings in the circle, allowing two runs with four strikeouts, but the Wildcat offense was not able to capitalize on having the bases loaded with no outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, falling 2-0 to No. 2 Alabama on Friday night on day two of the 2014 Women’s College World Series at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
The loss moves Kentucky (50-17) to the top half of the bracket where the Wildcats will play the winner of No. 13 Baylor and No. 8 Florida State on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. The winner will advance to the final against No. 5 Florida for a chance in the championship series. Florida defeated Florida State in the opening round and No. 1 Oregon in Friday’s winner’s bracket.
Live stats from Saturday’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 Saturday can be heard live on 630-AM WLAP with Dick Gabriel and Jenny Dalton-Hill calling the action.
Kentucky loaded the bases in the seventh inning after back-to-back-to-back singles from sophomore Nikki Sagermann, junior Griffin Joiner and senior Lauren Cumbess. UK could not cross the plate, however, striking out and grounding into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game. The scoreless outing snaps a streak of five straight games where UK has scored four or more runs, including seven or more runs in three of those games.
Nunley made just one mistake in the circle, allowing a two-out single followed by a home run in the second inning, but was brilliant after the second inning. The sophomore did not allow a hit the rest of the way and retired 16 of the next 18 batters she faced after the home run. In nine NCAA Tournament games started this season, Nunley has limited opponents to two runs or less seven times. Nunley finished the game with five strikeouts, allowing two earned runs on three hits with two walks allowed.
Offensively, the Wildcats out-hit the Crimson Tide with four singles off Alabama ace Jaclyn Traina, who is a four-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-American and limited a high-powered Oklahoma offense to just one hit Thursday night in the tournament opener. Traina held a no-hitter with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning before UK sophomore Sylver Samuel reached on an infield single to the right side of the infield. Samuel was thrown out at second base trying to steal a few pitches later.
Alabama started the scoring in the second inning with a two-out rally. Nunley got a fly out to leftfield and strikeout to start the inning before a single up the middle by Peyton Grantham and a two-run home run by Leona LaFaele put the Crimson Tide up 2-0. Nunley got a groundout to third to end the threat.
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