Stephanie Schoonover Throws No-Hitter, Breaks Strikeout Record
CELINA, Texas – Kentucky pitcher Stephanie Schoonover threw her third-career no-hitter and set a new Kentucky record with 18 strikeouts in a game as No. 15 UK beat No. 22 North Texas 4-0 and shutout South Dakota 9-0 in five innings Saturday evening.
Schoonover threw 107 pitches in the game, walking just two batters, her first two walks surrendered this season, and struck out 18. The infield for Kentucky only was forced to make one play, and it was a groundball to Margaret Tobias to end the game in the seventh inning. Jenna Blanton in CF and Vanessa Nesby in LF each recorded an out, with all 18 of the other outs in the game coming via a strikeout.
Schoonover struck out the first nine batters of the game before a defensive miscue spoiled the perfect game. The first four innings were all innings in which she struck out the side, as 16 of the first 17 outs in the game were strikeouts. 12 of Schoonover’s strikeouts were swinging and six were looking.
Erin Coffel had the biggest play of Saturday night’s top-25 showdown with a three-run home run in the top of the third inning to etch the Wildcats ahead of the Mean Green, 3-0. Coffel delivered a 3-1 offering over the fence into left center with Jenna Blanton and Kayla Kowalik on base to push UK in front as her fourth homer of the season flew high over the wall. Jenna Blanton’s RBI single was the other offensive output for the Wildcats in the top of the sixth to give UK and Schoonover an insurance run.
With UK’s two wins Saturday, the Wildcats improve to 5-1-1 on the 2023 season. Kentucky will wrap play in the Tracy Beard Classic on Sunday morning at 11 a.m. ET against Sam Houston State from field No. 7 of the Old Celina Park fields.
Game 1 – Kentucky 9, South Dakota 0 (F/5)
The key play in the game came in the top of the first inning off of the bat of sophomore Taylor Ebbs. With the bases juiced and two outs in UK’s opening at bat, Ebbs laced a three-RBI triple into left-center to score three runs and give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead in the game.
Jenna Blanton was the key player in Saturday’s game, going 3-for-3 at the plate with three runs scored, accounting for 33 percent of UK’s scoring offense and also logging three putouts in CF.
- Sophomore pitcher Izzy Harrison became the second UK pitcher in as many days to set a new career-high in strikeouts, as she struck out seven Coyotes in the contest. Harrison picked up the winning decision on 89 total pitches, allowing no runs on just two hits and her seven fans. Only one South Dakota batter reached second base all game.
In the top of the first, Ebbs drove in three runs thanks to a three- RBI triple with two outs to plate Rylea Smith, Erin Coffel and Vanessa Nesby on the play. UK 3, SD 0
In the top of the second inning, Kentucky added two more runs as Erin Coffel walked with the bases loaded on five pitches to bring across the fourth Wildcat run before Kowalik scored on an errant throw bringing in an unearned run. UK 5, USD 0
Kayla Kowalik scored two runs in the top of the third inning for Kentucky on a single up the middle with runners on the corners. She then proceeded to get into a rundown, allowing another run to cross in the inning. UK 7, USD 0
After missing out on a chance to score in the fourth, Kentucky scored twice in the fifth inning thanks to an RBI single by Kowalik and a sacrifice fly from Erin Coffel, her second RBI of the game. FINAL – Kentucky 9, South Dakota 0 (F/5)
Game 2 – #15 Kentucky 4, #22 North Texas 0
Erin Coffel’s three-run home run in the top of the third inning was the key play in the game, as it served as 75 percent of the game’s offense. It was her fourth home run of the season.
Stephanie Schoonover was the key player in the game, as she went the distance for a no-hitter. Her 18 strikeouts were a school record, and she has now thrown back-to-back complete-game shutouts for the season. She also went her first 22.2 innings of the season without allowing a walk in the contest. Saturday night was her third-career no-hitter, as she threw a five-inning no-hitter vs. UC Santa Barbara in February 2022 and against Louisville in 2022.
- The 18 strikeouts were a new school record from Schoonover.
In the top of the third, Erin Coffel went yard with a three-run bomb. UK 3, UNT 0
In the top of the sixth with runners on second and third, Jenna Blanton beat out an infield single to score a run from third. FINAL – #15 Kentucky 4, #22 North Texas 0
For the latest on UK Softball, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKSoftball.