KENNESAW, Ga. -- Kentucky sophomore outfielder Breanne Ray belted a two-run double in the fourth inning to tie the game before senior catcher Griffin Joiner added a two-run double in the fifth inning, lifting the No. 5 Wildcats to a 5-2 victory against Southern Illinois on Friday at Bailey Park in the 2015 Phyllis Rafter Memorial Invitational.
Kentucky (5-1) got a career day from Ray, who went 2-for-2 in the game with two doubles and two RBI, reaching base all three times she stepped to the plate. In her first at-bat in the second inning, she fouled off several pitches for a 10-pitch at-bat that ended with a double down the rightfield line.
Ray had similar success her next at bat in the fourth inning, seeing eight pitches before hitting a line drive to rightfield to score two runs and put Kentucky on the board. Ray walked in her final at bat.
Joiner, junior infielder Nikki Sagermann and junior outfielder Sylver Samuel were the other stars at the plate for Kentucky. Joiner went 1-for-3 with a double and two RBI, while Sagermann drove in the game-winning run with an RBI single, finishing the game 1-for-4 with a run scored. Samuel went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while juniors Christian Stokes and Maisie Steed each recorded singles.
Joiner and Sagermann did their damage offensively in Kentucky’s key two-out rally in the fifth inning. After back-to-back groundouts to start the fifth inning, Stokes reached on an error, advancing to second when Samuel slapped a single to leftfield.
That set the scene for Sagermann, who blasted a single up the middle to score Stokes and give UK a 3-2 lead. Joiner followed a few pitches later with a double to rightfield to give the Wildcats some breathing room at 5-2.
The offensive production in the fourth and fifth innings helped sophomore pitcher Meagan Prince settling in as she retired nine of the next 10 batters she faced before allowing two runners to reach in the seventh inning.
Prince went the distance for Kentucky, allowing two runs -- one earned -- on three hits with four strikeouts and three walks allowed. The sophomore is now 3-1 on the season with a 1.22 ERA.
SIU (1-4) started senior Katie Bertelsen in the circle, who went seven innings, allowing five runs -- two earned -- on eight hits with two strikeouts. Bertelsen held the Wildcats scoreless the first three innings before UK posted two runs in the fourth, three in the fifth and had two runners on in the sixth and seventh innings.
Offensively, freshman Sydney Jones led SIU by going 1-for-2 with a triple, run scored and RBI, while freshman Savannah Fisher was 1-for-3 with a run scored and senior Meredith Wilson went 1-for-2.
SIU had several base runners the first three innings, but the Kentucky defense limited damage by turning three double plays, which tied the school record for most double plays turned in a game. UK has turned three double plays in a game eight different times with the last coming in April of 2007 against LSU.
The Salukis scored their only runs in the second inning after Wilson singled to get the rally started, but was erased on a 6-3 double play turned smoothly by Stokes. SIU followed with a single and a triple to score the game’s first run, before an error by UK allowed another run to score and make it 2-0.