LEXINGTON, Ky. — Senior Jenny Schaper continued her torrid weekend at the plate, and Grace Baalman capped off a weekend in which she threw two complete-game shutouts as the No. 23 Kentucky Wildcats scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to cap off a three-game of No. 14 Auburn at John Cropp Stadium.
Entering the bottom of the sixth inning, UK and Auburn had combined for four total hits with only one in Kentucky's column. That all changed on the first pitch of the inning as Schaper pummeled a home run to center and broke the seal on the 0-0 game to give UK the lead.
The Wildcats would follow with six more hits on six more runs, as Kentucky batted around to Schaper – who put the game on ice with a two-out two-RBI single into the left-center gap. Kentucky would take a 7-0 lead into the top of the seventh, where Baalman's job was to close it out.
Baalman closed out the game with three easy outs in the seventh, putting the clamps on the Tigers for the second-straight game. On Saturday – Baalman became the first UK pitcher since 2012 to throw a complete-game one-hit shutout since Chanda Bell. Monday night – she ran her scoreless innings streak up to 14 with her second complete-game shutout of the series, only allowing three hits on the night – and four hits total on the weekend. Baalman with the win is now 8-8 in the circle this season.
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The sweep for the Wildcats is the first against Auburn since 2009. It is the third sweep for UK in Southeastern Conference play this season as the Wildcats also swept No. 11 South Carolina and Mississippi State to open league play.
With the win on Monday – the Wildcats have won three in a row and improve to 29-18 overall and are 12-9 in the SEC. The No. 14 Auburn Tigers fall to 34-13 overall and are now 9-9 in SEC play.
Kentucky will close out its home schedule on Wednesday night at 6 p.m. ET against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. It's UK Athletics' Staff Appreciation Night at JCS and tickets are available on UKathletics.com. Dave Baker and former Arizona All-American, Jenny Dalton-Hill will have the call on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the ESPN app.
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7. The seven runs scored by Kentucky in the bottom of the sixth inning was the most runs scored in a single inning this season for the Wildcats.
Jenny Schaper's solo home run on the first pitch in the bottom of the sixth inning was the key play, as she belted her third of the weekend out of the park to straight-away CF.
Mallory Peyton was the key playing, driving in two key insurance runs on an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth. Schaper also went 2-for-3 with a homer, and a two-RBI single with a trio of RBI.
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It was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth. Jenny Schaper hit a solo HR on the first pitch of the inning. Abbey Cheek doubled to the wall in left center and Alex Martens singled into left. That put two in scoring position, as a wild pitch scored pinch-runner Jaci Babbs. Then Kayla Kowalik had an infield single and pinch-runner Kennedy Cowden came in to score to make it 3-0. Mallory Peytonsingled to make it 5-0 and the inning continued for Kelsee Henson – who singled to the left side. After a walk loaded the bases, Jenny Schaper came around again and hit a two-RBI single.
FINAL – #23 Kentucky 7, #14 Auburn 0
Game Notes from Corey Price:
- This is the second time in school history that Kentucky has swept Auburn in a three-game series (Mar. 14-16, 2009)
- This is the second time in school history that Kentucky has had at least three three-game sweeps of SEC opponents in the same season (South Carolina, Mississippi State, Auburn) (the team had four in 2016)
- This is the first time in school history that Kentucky has two three-game sweeps against ranked SEC opponents in the same season (No. 13 South Carolina, No. 14 Auburn)
- This is the second time in school history that Kentucky has swept a three-game series against an SEC opponent ranked in the Top 15 at John Cropp Stadium (No. 5 Florida, Apr. 1-3, 2011)
- Kentucky's total run differential in their three three-game sweeps of SEC opponents this season: +48 (outscored their opponents 63-15)
- This is tied for Kentucky's third largest run differential in a three-game sweep of an SEC opponent in school history, and tied for the largest run differential in a three-game sweep of a ranked SEC opponent in school history (+23, Mar. 25-27, 2016 at Arkansas; +19, Mar. 25-27, 2011 vs. Mississippi State; +18, Mar. 8-10, 2019 at No. 13 South Carolina)
- This is tied for the second fewest runs allowed by Kentucky in a three-game sweep of a ranked SEC opponent, and the fewest runs allowed by Kentucky in a three-game sweep of a ranked SEC opponent at John Cropp Stadium (zero runs allowed at No. 8 LSU, Apr. 9-11, 2016; three runs allowed at No. 13 South Carolina, Mar. 8-10, 2019)
- This is tied for the second most runs scored by Kentucky in a three-game sweep of a ranked SEC opponent (26 runs scored vs. No. 5 Florida, Apr. 1-3, 2011; 21 runs scored at No. 13 South Carolina, Mar. 8-10, 2019)
- This senior class now has the fourth most regular season SEC wins by any senior class in school history (49) (the 2012, 2013, and 2014 senior classes all had 55)
- With seven runs scored tonight, that guarantees that this team will set a new school record for most runs scored per game in SEC regular season games in a single season (currently averaging 5.86 runs per game)
- This is tied for the second fewest hits allowed by Kentucky in a three-game sweep of an SEC opponent, and the fewest hits allowed by Kentucky in a three-game sweep of a ranked SEC opponent (eight) (seven hits allowed vs. Auburn, Mar. 14-16, 2009; eight hits allowed at Arkansas, Mar. 25-27, 2016)
- This is the fifth time in school history that Kentucky has had two shutouts in a three-game series sweep of an SEC opponent, the first since May 6-8, 2016 vs. Mississippi State, and the second time they accomplished the feat against a ranked SEC opponent (three shutouts at No. 8 LSU, Apr. 9-11, 2016)
- This is the third time in school history that Kentucky has scored at least seven runs in each game of a three-game series sweep of an SEC opponent, the first since Mar. 25-27, 2016 at Arkansas, and the second time they accomplished the feat against a ranked SEC opponent (Apr. 1-3, 2011 vs. No. 5 Florida)