Kowalik Continues School-Record Hit Streak in 4-2 Loss to Auburn

Kowalik Continues School-Record Hit Streak in 4-2 Loss to Auburn

by Evan Crane

AUBURN, Ala. – Junior catcher Kayla Kowalik went 2-for-3 in the game, including a two-run home run in the fifth inning, to extend her hitting streak to a school-record 19 games as Kentucky dropped its second game of the series at Auburn on Saturday, 4-2.
The hit streak bests the previous school-record of 18 games by Katie Reed in 2016. The catcher is one of three players in program history to hit safely in 15 or more consecutive games. Kowalik is having a fantastic season for the Wildcats, recording her 23rd multi-hit game of the year. Overall, Kentucky had four hits in the game, getting two from Kowalik and singles from Tatum Spangler and Renee Abernathy.
Senior pitcher Autumn Humes started in the circle for Kentucky, going one-plus inning and allowing four runs – two earned – on six hits. She left without recording an out in second inning. Spangler came on to finish the second and the rest of the game in impressive fashion. The junior tossed five scoreless innings in relief, allowing only one hit while striking out six and walking two. Humes received the loss, moving to 13-5 on the season.
The Kentucky defense had one of its worst performances of the year Saturday, committing five errors. The Wildcats had three errors in the second inning alone, allowing Auburn to score the decisive winning runs.
Auburn (25-12, 5-9 SEC) got a complete game from Maddie Penta, who allowed two earned runs on four hits with four strikeouts. The Tigers had seven hits on the day, getting a 2-for-3 game from Maddison Koepke.
UK falls to 29-10 on the season and 5-9 in the Southeastern Conference.
Key Stat
19. Kayla Kowalik now has a hit in a school-record 19 straight games. She breaks the record previously set by Katie Reed of 18 straight games.
Key Player
Tatum Spangler came on in relief and pitched an impressive five innings, allowing just one hit with six strikeouts. Spangler came on with UK down 4-0 in the second inning with a runner on second and no outs. She quickly dispersed the rally, getting a sacrifice bunt, strikeout and groundout.
Key Play
The key play in the game was also from Spangler, who worked out of another jam in the fourth inning after two errors and walk loaded the bases. She quickly regrouped with back-to-back strikeouts of Alyssa Rivera and Justus Perry.
Run Recap
Auburn had five hits – including one that was a misplay on the infield that could have been ruled an error – to score two runs in the first. Makenna Dowell hit a ball back to Humes to start the game, ricocheting off her glove for an infield single. That was followed by a single from Tyler King and then a sacrifice bunt to put runners on second and third with one out. Lindsey Garcia then hit a liner towards third that hit Dowell in fair territory for the first out. Kentucky finished the play after Dowell was hit, throwing to first for a potential double play but the umpires ruled the play was dead. Auburn then hit back-to-back single to take a 2-0 lead early. UK 0, AU 2
Kentucky committed three errors in the second inning to lead to two more Auburn runs. It started with a error at shortstop, then a RBI double to left-centerfield by Koepke. After a fielding error and throwing error by Kentucky, Koepke came home to score to give put the Tigers up four runs. Spangler entered the circle and shut the door the rest of the inning and game. UK 0, AU 4
The Wildcats scored their only runs in the fifth inning when Stoddard worked a two-out walk, which was followed by the 11th home run of the year from Kowalik. The junior jumped on a 0-1 pitch, sending it deep over the right-centerfield wall. FINAL – Auburn 4, Kentucky 2
For the latest on UK Softball, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKSoftball.

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