Kentucky earns school record 42nd win, downs Mississippi State 4-3
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Kentucky sophomores Nikki Sagermann, Christian Stokes and Sylver Samuel each posted multi-hit games, including a walk-off single in the ninth inning by Sagermann that followed a clutch double by Stokes, pacing No. 15 Kentucky to a 4-3 nine-inning win against Mississippi State on Wednesday in the opening round of the 2014 SEC tournament at Carolina Softball Stadium.
The win for Kentucky (42-14) moves the Wildcats to the quarterfinals of the event, where they will square off with second-seeded Tennessee on Thursday.
Kentucky entered the bottom of the ninth inning with the game tied 3-3, getting a leadoff walk to sophomore Ansley Smith before Stokes' double put runners at second and third with no outs. After a foul out by Samuel, Sagermann stepped into the box and lined a single up the middle to score Smith and clinch the Wildcat win.
"I was pretty excited when I came up," Sagermann said about her approach to the game-winning hit. "I was seeing the ball pretty well. I know I was only 1-3 before it, but especially with one out and a runner on third, I knew I had to get it through the infield, a sacrifice fly or a base hit. I love situations like that, I was ready. I was pretty confident I could get a good pitch and put it through the infield."
The victory was Kentucky's 42nd of the season, marking the most wins in a season in program history. UK set the school record for wins in a season last year with 41 en route to a NCAA tournament national seed and NCAA Super Regional appearance.
"That's one thing about our team, we don't give up. We're known for that. If we get behind, we're going to do anything we can to come back and have a good game," Sagermann said. "I was pretty confident actually that the top of our lineup was coming through. I was confident we were still going to win, I wasn't worried too much."
Stokes paced Kentucky at the plate with a 3-for-4 night with a homer - her sixth of the season - with two RBI, while Sagermann was 2-for-4 with two RBI and Samuel was 2-for-5 with a run scored. Senior outfielder Emily Jolly went 1-for-3 in the game with a run scored and a walk. Stokes has a hit in four of her last five games with RBI in three of those games, while Sagermann has an RBI in 12 of her last 20 games with seven multi-RBI games during that stretch. Samuel has been the offensive starter for Kentucky with a hit in 21 of her past 32 games with a run scored in 22 of her past 32 games.