No. 16 Kentucky downs LSU to earn program’s first win against No. 1 team
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Kelsey Nunley tossed seven brilliant innings in the circle with three strikeouts and only one run allowed, while Griffin Joiner went 3-for-3 including two runs batted in and a home run, powering No. 16 Kentucky to a 3-1 series-opening win against No. 1 LSU on Friday night at John Cropp Stadium.
Kentucky (22-8, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) handed LSU (32-2, 5-2 SEC) just its second loss of the season and marked the first time in program history the Wildcats have beaten a top-ranked team.
"It means a lot, because the SEC is an incredible conference. So anytime you can beat a team the caliber of LSU, you feel pretty good about your win," said head coach Rachel Lawson. "The team worked hard this week, so it just validated all of the work they put into practices, and film, and all of the things that they did to get ready for today."
Nunley was brilliant in the circle for Kentucky to complete her seventh game of the season, and with the win improved her record to 10-4, while also lowering her ERA to 1.82. She finished with a line of six hits, one earned run, one walk and three strikeouts in her complete game. LSU's one run scored tied a season low for the Tigers.
"Nunley was outstanding. She put the ball exactly where she wanted to. LSU is an incredible hitting team, and for her to be able to keep those hitters off balance really says a lot about how tough she is," said Lawson.
Kentucky was led offensively by Joiner, who had her eighth multi-hit game of the year and a team-best 11th multi-RBI game of the season. Joiner singled in her first at-bat before grounding an RBI single through the left side in the third inning to start the scoring for Kentucky. In her final at-bat of the night, Joiner launched her sixth home run of the season, increasing her team leading RBI total to 30. Joiner also contributed defensively, throwing out LSU's A.J. Andrews on a steal attempt in the fifth inning, the first time Andrews has been caught stealing all season.
"We just had a different focus at practice this week, we tried to relax and attack the ball, and that's what I was trying to do and it worked out," Joiner said.
Maisie Steed went 2-for-3 in the game, extending her hitting streak to five games while Christian Stokes went 1-for-3 to extend her hit streak to five games and tie a career best. Breanne Ray scored the game-winning run in the third inning on a sacrifice fly, scoring Sylver Samuel.