Softball

Sloan Gayan’s First SEC Win Catapults Kentucky Over No. 3 Alabama

by Chris Shoals

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Kentucky Softball pitcher Sloan Gayan threw five complete innings in relief, allowing just one run on three hits and holding one of the nation’s best offenses at bay to pick up her first-career Southeastern Conference win as the No. 8 Kentucky Softball team powered past No. 3 Alabama to claim the Sunday finale of the series, 9-4.
 
The win for Kentucky is its fourth win over a ranked team this season, and Kentucky with the 9-4 win results in the first Southeastern Conference win for the Wildcats this season. UK improves to 20-5 on the season overall. Alabama, No. 3 in the nation, falls to 24-4 and is now 3-3 in SEC play this year.
 
Offensively, Kentucky pinned five earned runs off of Alabama’s Montana Fouts and four runs off of Lexi Kilfoyl as UK outhit the Tide, 12-6 in the game led by five UK players earning two or more hits. Kayla Kowalik, Erin Coffel, Miranda Stoddard, Kennedy Sullivan and Rylea Smith all had a pair of singles in the game as UK scored nine runs against Alabama.
 
Sloan Gayan pitched five innings of relief to pick up the win, after Izzy Harrison started the game and lasted two innings. Gayan went five complete innings for the second time this season and in her career. She allowed just three Alabama hits, one run, struck out a batter and faced 19 hitters with only one reaching third base in the game.
 
Kentucky will return to John Cropp Stadium on Tuesday night to play No. 1 Oklahoma in a Big XII/SEC midweek battle against the top-ranked Sooners. First pitch is at 7 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on the SEC Network with Kevin Brown and Michele Smith on the call.
 
Key Play
Erin Coffel’s two-run ground-rule double in the top of the third inning was the key play in the game, as it pulled UK even at 3-3 after falling behind 3-1 in the bottom of the second inning. Coffel stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out and hit a blast to CF that one-hopped over the wall and tied the game at 3-3.
 
Key Player
Miranda Stoddard was the key player in the game, going 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and three RBI on two different RBI hits. Stoddard hammered a home run off the top of the Rhoads Stadium videoboard in the top of the second inning to give UK the 1-0 lead early. Additionally, Stoddard had a two-RBI single to edge UK in front in the top of the third inning at 5-3.
 
Key Stat
1. Kentucky became the first team to hang a loss on Alabama pitcher Montana Fouts this season. Fouts was 13-0 entering Sunday’s game, and UK scored five runs, all earned on six hits in 2.1 innings of work before Lexi Kilfoyl entered the contest for the Tide. Fouts walked one batter and struck out four Wildcats.
 
Run Recap
Miranda Stoddard hit a solo home run off the top of the Rhoads Stadium videoboard in the top of the second inning to put UK in front for the second-straight game. UK 1, ALA 0
 
Alabama scored three of its four runs in the bottom of the second. Bailey Dowling hit a solo HR to lead off the inning and a Kentucky error led to two more runs following an RBI double from Ashley Prange. ALA 3, UK 1
 
In the top of the third, Kentucky scored four runs to break open the game. Erin Coffel hit a two-RBI ground-rule double with the bases loaded and one out to score Rylea Smith and Kayla Kowalik who both singled to lead off the inning. Miranda Stoddard then hit an RBI single through the left side for her second and third RBI on the day to drive in Lauren Johnson and Miranda Stoddard. UK 5, ALA 3
 
The top of the fourth saw a Rylea Smith lead-off single turn into a sixth UK run as Kayla Kowalik doubled to deep CF over Goodnight’s head. UK 6, ALA 3
 
Kentucky tacked on two runs in the top of the fifth as Emmy Blane smoked an RBI single up the middle to score Erin Coffel with two outs from second base. A throwing error then resulted in a Kentucky run as Kennedy Sullivan scored after she singled. UK 8, ALA 3
 
A ninth Kentucky run was plated in the sixth as part of five-straight innings with a run scoring for the Wildcats. Back-to-back walks issued to Erin Coffel and Miranda Stoddard put two on with one out as Tatum Spangler sprayed a single through the right side to score Coffel, her third run scored of the game to lead all players. UK 9, ALA 3
 
Alabama put two on with no outs in the bottom of the seventh, but only one run crossed on an RBI groundout and Gayan got out of the jam with two groundouts to the left side and a slow roller to Meeko Harrison at first to end the game. FINAL – #8 Kentucky 9, #3 Alabama 4
 
For the latest on UK Softball, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKSoftball.
 

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