Sixth-ranked Kentucky defeats No. 5 Florida State, Georgia Southern
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Kentucky senior catcher Griffin Joiner lifted an 0-2 pitch to the wall in rightfield with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning to plate three runs, while junior pitcher Kelsey Nunley tossed seven strong frames with only two hits allowed to propel the Wildcats to a 3-1 victory against No. 5 Florida State on Sunday at JoAnne Graf Field on the final day of the Renegade Classic.
The win for Kentucky (4-1) came after the Wildcats earned a dominating 10-0, six-inning victory against Georgia Southern earlier in the day. Kentucky's victory against FSU was the 56th for head coach Rachel Lawson vs. a top-25 team, including her 31st against a top-10 team and 16th vs. a top-five team. The top-five victory for Kentucky is its first since taking down No. 3 UCLA twice last season in the NCAA Los Angeles Super Regional. Kentucky has defeated a top-10 team each of the past seven seasons under Lawson's direction.
Joiner provided all the offense Kentucky needed against the Seminoles, making the most of her lone hit by belting a bases-clearing double to the wall in right field to put the Wildcats on top 3-1. The inning started with a leadoff single by senior outfielder Kara Howard, who moved to second on a passed ball and to third when junior Sylver Samuel reached on an error. After junior Nikki Sagermann walked to load the bases, Joiner scorched a 0-2 pitch over the rightfielder's head.
Nunley made sure the three runs were all Kentucky needed to win, tossing seven brilliant innings in the circle. She allowed just two hits and one run -- none earned -- with four walks and three strikeouts. The victory moved Nunley to 2-0 on the season in 13 innings pitched with a 0.00 ERA and opponents hitting just .070 against her.
Florida State tossed Jessica Burroughs in the circle, who went seven innings and allowed three runs -- none earned -- on three hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Burroughs moves to 1-1 on the season. Offensively, Bailey Schinella went 1-for-2 with an RBI and a walk, while Morgan Klaevemann went 1-for-3 with a run scored. The loss marks only the third time in the past two seasons that FSU has dropped a home game.
The Wildcats also defeated Georgia Southern for the second day in a row in Sunday's first game, getting strong pitching from sophomores Shannon Smith and Meagan Prince, while Joiner, junior Christian Stokes and freshman Brooklin Hinz each had multi-RBI games. Joiner went 2-for-4 with a three-run home run, while Hinz was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Stokes was 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Samuel went 1-for-4 against GSU with a run scored, while Sagermann was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and junior Maisie Steed was 1-for-2 with a run scored and an RBI.
Smith started the game for Kentucky in the circle, going three hitless innings with two strikeouts and three walks allowed. Prince came in to start the fourth inning and allowed two hits with four strikeouts to pick up the win. Smith received a no-decision in the game, while Prince got the win to move to 2-1 on the year with a 1.31 ERA.