Cheek’s Home Run Leads Massive Comeback to Clinch Series

Cheek’s Home Run Leads Massive Comeback to Clinch Series

by Chris Shoals

LEXINGTON, Ky. – In a game that featured just about everything, the No. 15 Kentucky softball team scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth and the bottom of the sixth innings to come from behind and claim the series from Mississippi State on Saturday afternoon, 9-8.
In sunsplashed John Cropp Stadium, fans were treated to an offensive slugfest that saw a grand slam, three-run home run, solo home run, five pitching changes – and UK’s largest comeback win of the season. With the result, Kentucky remains perfect on the season in Southeastern Conference play and is now 5-0 with a 19-7 overall record. The Bulldogs fall to 19-7 overall and are 0-2 in SEC play.
The three-game series concludes on Sunday afternoon at Noon ET. The game will be televised on the SEC Network with Pam Ward and Jenny Dalton-Hill on the call from Lexington. With it being St. Patrick’s Day, UK will be decked out in green uniform additions, and will also honor survivors of lymphoma – by wearing the color green.
Mississippi State got out to a large lead of six runs through the first two and a half innings thanks to a grand slam and a solo HR with the help of an RBI single. Following that, UK closed the gap to 6-3 before a two-run home run by Fa Leilua brought the Bulldog lead back to 8-3. Kentucky then began its comeback getting three runs on an Abbey Cheek home run and then a three-run sixth off of three hits.
Key Stat
6. The six-run comeback was the largest comeback of the season for Kentucky, and its biggest comeback win since trailing 8-2 at Tennessee on April 27, 2018 and coming back to win, 9-8 in Knoxville.
Key Play
The key play in the game was Kayla Kowalik’s RBI triple to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. After UK had pulled to within one run, Kowalik sent a ball against the shift into right center and got all the way to third on her team-leading fourth triple of the season.
Key Player
Meghan Schorman was the key player in the game, earning her second SEC win of the season in her second appearance. The freshman pitched the final four innings of the game, only allowing one hit and two earned runs. She pitched a 1-2-3 sixth and seventh innings to secure the win for UK.
Run Recap
Mississippi State scored in the top of the first inning on a two-out double by Leilua. MSU 1, UK 0
Carter Spexarth hit a grand slam in the top of the third, which was followed by a solo home run from Montana Davidson. MSU 6, UK 0
Alex Martens hit a two-out, two-RBI single to shallow right center to score two runs in the bottom of the third inning. MSU 6, UK 2
Kelsee Henson hit a home run to centerfield in a pinch-hitting appearance in the bottom of the fourth. MSU 6, UK 3
Leilua hit a two-run home run in the top of the fifth to extend the MSU lead. MSU 8, UK 3
After a walk to Schaper and a single by Kayla Kowalik, Abbey Cheek hit her sixth home run of the season to straight-away center to pull the Wildcats back into the game. MSU 8, UK 6
In the bottom of the sixth, Lauren Johnson doubled to lead off the frame, and got to third on a single by Schaper. Johnson came home on a Mississippi State error, and UK tied the game on Kowalik’s triple to the gap in right center. Abbey Cheek drove in the game-winning run on an RBI groundout to the left side. FINAL – Kentucky 9, Mississippi State 8
For the latest on UK Softball, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKSoftball.

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