Kentucky Softball advances to the Super Regionals of the NCAA Tournament after defeating Illinois 4-2 on Sunday afternoon.
Kentucky went a perfect 3-0 this weekend, defeating DePaul and Illinois twice.
“I was really proud of my team today,” head coach Rachel Lawson said. “We did such a good job coming out on fire, being the visiting team. Coming out scoring those runs.”
“For the most part we were just awesome on defense again,” Lawson said. “I was just really proud of us for being able to play our game today in the championship game of a regional. Means a lot to the program.”
The Wildcats once again came out ready to play, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Brooklin Hinz got things started off the Cats with a deep shot to center field for a triple. Abbey Cheek scored, and the Cats took an immediate 1-0 lead.
Freshman Alex Martens followed Hinz’ triple with a homer to center field to take a 3-0 lead. This was Martens’ fourth home run of the season.
“I definitely think it was a big momentum for the game itself,” Martens said on her home run. “But I mean the inning started off with Brooklin’s hit. I mean that started huge momentum. And then Abbey scoring on that. I think it was like a peak for the energy level in that inning and then it kind of just carried through us for the rest of the game.”
Cheek and Hinz weren’t done quit yet. Cheek hit a lead-off triple in the top of the third and a sac fly by Hinz brought her home to take a 4-0 lead.
Junior Erin Rethlake started on the mound for the Cats today. After allowing a hit and and a walk with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Kentucky decided to make a change at the mound. Meagan Prince came in for the Cats. She pitched on both Friday and Saturday.
Despite not allowing any runs all weekend, Rethlake allowed a run in the sixth and Prince allowed a run seventh. However, Illinois’ comeback wasn’t enough for Kentucky’s strong start.
This was the first time Kentucky swept a home regional in program history.
Kentucky advances to its fifth Super Regional, all under head coach Lawson. The Cats’ only appearance at the Women’s College World Series was in 2014.
“This is something we do,” Lawson said. “This is Kentucky softball. Super regionals is not something that is foreign to us. It’s not our first time and we are a team that wants to not only to go to supers but a team that gets national seed and goes to world series.”
Kentucky will play the team that advances from the Eugene Regional. Oregon and Wisconsin are the two remaining teams. Oregon will look to eliminate Wisconsin at 7:00 p.m. ET.
— KYwildcatsTV (@KYwildcatsTV) May 21, 2017
P.S. Be on the look out for Katie Reed on #SCTop10 after this play.
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) May 21, 2017