Softball

Kowalik, Johnson and Coffel Lead Kentucky to Spilt with No. 20 UGA

by Chris Shoals

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 10 Kentucky Softball team split a doubleheader with No. 20 Georgia on Sunday at John Cropp Stadium, winning game one 11-3 in eight innings, and then dropping a 9-8 decision in the nightcap.
 
The two teams will meet again Monday night for the rubber match of the series at 7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network, ESPN3 and the ESPN app. Courtney Lyle and former Alabama All-American Kayla Braud will have the call from Lexington.
 
Kentucky’s offense came out on fire in game one, scoring 11 runs off the Bulldogs, including 10 hits off of Bulldog ace, Mary Wilson Avant. The Wildcats got multi-RBI games from Erin Coffel (4), Lauren Johnson (2) and Renee Abernathy (2) as they put up a six spot in the bottom of the fifth to walk off the game via a run rule.
 
Grace Baalman got the win in the circle for UK in game one, as she threw a complete game, allowing just three runs on three hits.
 
Kayla Kowalik was 2-for-3 in the game with a pair of hits and a pair of runs. Kowalik on the day went 6-of-8 and is now batting an even .500 on the season with 61 hits in her 122 plate appearances. The junior catcher has scored 52 runs on the year and has eight home runs, including one to lead off game two Sunday night.
 
With the split, Kentucky’s record is now 28-7 on the season with a 5-6 record in Southeastern Conference play. Georgia also holds a 5-6 record in the SEC and is now 25-8 on the season. Kentucky will be looking for its first series win over Georgia since 2012 and just the third in program history on Monday night.
 
Lauren Johnson had a terrific day for UK, as she went 3-for-7 at the dish with six RBI. Her hits all came in RBI situations, and she scored a pair of runs for Kentucky in the first game of the day.
 
Additionally, freshman Erin Coffel hit .800 on the day, as she went 4-for-5 with four runs scored, a home run, six RBI and a pair of walks. Coffel on the season is batting at a robust .416 clip with 15 home runs and 47 RBI to lead all Kentucky players.
 
In game two, the Wildcats let an 8-1 lead evaporate in the late innings, as the Bulldogs struck for four runs in the sixth and four runs in the seventh to take a 9-8 lead going into the bottom of the seventh. Georgia had eight hits in the game, with half of them being home runs.
 
In the bottom of the seventh, Kowalik started the inning with a lead-off double into center, but UK was unsuccessful getting her home, as a close play at first went the Bulldogs way and a double play ended the game.
 
For the latest on UK Softball, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKSoftball.
 

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