Cheek Helps No. 18 Kentucky Secure Series at No. 11 Carolina

Cheek Helps No. 18 Kentucky Secure Series at No. 11 Carolina

by Chris Shoals

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Senior Abbey Cheek drove in three runs and sophomore pitcher Grace Baalman threw a complete game as the No. 18 Kentucky Wildcats defeated No. 11 South Carolina 11-2, and clinched the series win over the Gamecocks on SEC Opening Weekend in Columbia.
The Wildcats exploded for 11 runs in Saturday’s game, the most runs it has scored in Southeastern Conference play since March 31, 2018 against Alabama at John Cropp Stadium. Kentucky has now won a season-high five games on the season and sits a season-best seven games above .500 on the season at 14-7 overall.
Kentucky will go for the sweep to start conference play on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET at Carolina Softball Stadium. The game will be shown live on the SEC Network+, ESPN3 and the ESPN app.
Key Stat
11. Kentucky put up 11 runs in the game, making it the second time in the last three games that the Kentucky offense has scored 10-plus runs. The Wildcats scored a season-high 14 runs in a win over Murray State last weekend.
Key Play
The key play in the game was Abbey Cheek’s two-run home run in the top of the third inning to put the Wildcats up 3-1 after the Gamecocks had tied the game in the bottom of the second. It was Cheek’s 46th career home run, and fifth of the season.
Key Player
Alex Martens was the key player in the game going 2-for-4 with a pair of clutch two-out RBI and a walk. Martens has driven in four runs this weekend.
Run Recap
Alex Martens singled to score Kayla Kowalik from second base with two outs in the top of the first. UK 1, USC 0
South Carolina tied the game in the bottom of the second on a Kentucky error, it’s only of the game. UK 1, USC 1
Abbey Cheek broke the tie with a laser home run to centerfield to score herself and Kayla Kowalik, who doubled earlier in the inning. UK 3, USC 1
Mallory Peyton hit her team-leading seventh home run of the season to left field in the top of the fourth to extend UK’s lead to 4-1. UK 4, USC 1
An RBI triple by the Gamecocks’ Lauren Stuart pulled USC to within two runs in the bottom of the fourth. UK 4, USC 2
In the top of the fifth, Abbey Cheek roped an RBI double down the line in left field to score Kayla Kowalik. The inning continued for Katie Reed, who grounded out to the right side to score Cheek. UK 6, USC 2
In the sixth, a lead-off error haunted the Gamecocks as Lauren Johnson scored on an RBI single by Alex Martens. UK 7, USC 2
Kentucky scored four runs in the top of the seventh. Jenny Schaper clubbed a two-run double to the wall in right field. That was followed by a two-run single up the box by Kowalik. FINAL – #18 Kentucky 11, #11 South Carolina 2
For the latest on UK Softball, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKSoftball.

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