Kowalik Breaks UK Record as Kentucky Beats No. 8 Washington

Kowalik Breaks UK Record as Kentucky Beats No. 8 Washington

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – The No. 18 Kentucky Softball team scored eight runs in the top of the eighth inning in an offensive explosion and dynamic pitching performances from Izzy Harrison and Alexia Lacatena to defeat No. 8 Washington 11-3 in extra innings while following it up with a 2-0 win over San Diego State in the nightcap.

Kayla Kowalik became the Kentucky Softball all-time hits leader with her third hit of the game against the Huskies, as part of a 5-for-5 game at the plate for Kowalik. She amassed her record-breaking 286th hit in the third at-bat of the game as she passed Leslie Kwaitkowski (1998-2001) who previously held the record.

The Wildcats fell behind 2-0 in the game against Washington before scoring three unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take its first lead of the game. After UK took the 3-2 lead, the Huskies got a solo HR in the sixth to tie the game and send it to extras. In the extra frame, UK scored eight runs, batting around in the inning and putting the exclamation mark on its biggest win of the season.

Kentucky’s 11-3 win over Washington, its 11 runs scored is the third-most runs scored against a PAC-12 team in program history, and its most since scoring 12 on Oregon in the 2019 Clearwater Elite Invitational. It is also the third-largest margin of victory for UK over a PAC-12 team.

In the nightcap, Kentucky beat San Diego State 2-0 thanks to a fourth-straight complete-game shutout behind the arm of Stephanie Schoonover. Schoonover pitched seven innings, allowing no runs on eight hits and struck out 10 batters, also marking the fourth-straight outing in which she had struck out at least 10 batters in a starting assignment.

With the pair of wins Thursday, Kentucky improves to 9-1-1 on the season and UK remains undefeated against ranked teams on the season at 2-0-1. The Wildcats will play No. 1 UCLA on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET on Wrigley Field with the game live streamed on FLOSoftball.

Game 1 – Kentucky 11, Washington 3 (F/8)

Key Play

The key play in the game was Margaret Tobias’ two-run single in the top of the eighth inning that broke the seal on the UK offensive attack with international tiebreak rules in effect.

Key Player

Izzy Harrison and Alexia Lacatena were the key players in the game for Kentucky as they held the potent Huskie offense to three runs on just four hits in the game. Harrison went the first 4.1 innings and struck out five batters with Lacatena entering the game in the fifth, closing the game with a strikeout, one of her five on the game, to get the win in the circle.

Key Stat

  1. Kayla Kowalik went 5-for-5 in the game, breaking the UK record for most-career hits.

Run Recap

Washington scored on a walk in the bottom of the first inning and a Bailey Klingler homer in the third to take a 2-0 lead. UW 2, UK 0

In the top of the fourth, Taylor Ebbs deposited a lead-off HR on the first pitch of the inning to cut the deficit in half. UW 2, UK 1

Kennedy Sullivan had an RBI single with two outs in the top of the fourth to score Grace Lorsung and tie the game. UK 2, UW 2

In the top of the fifth, Rylea Smith had an RBI single to the shortstop to score Kayla Kowalik and bring UK to the lead for the first time of the day. UK 3, UW 2

Washington tied the game in the bottom of the sixth on a solo HR to right. UK 3, UW 3

In the top of the eighth, Kentucky exploded for eight runs. After the ITB was utilized, Margaret Tobias power slapped a ball up the middle to score Grace Lorsung. Kayla Kowalik then singled to score a run and Erica Thulen followed with an RBI single into left field to make it 7-3, Kentucky. Rylea Smith plated two more runs after a walk to make it 9-3 and Meeko Harrison then plated two more runs on UK’s fifth RBI hit of the inning. FINAL – Kentucky 11, Washington 3 (Final/8)

Game 2 – Kentucky 2, San Diego State 0

Key Play

Erin Coffel’s home run in the bottom of the first inning was the key play in the game, as it proved to be the game-winning run six innings later.

Key Player

Stephanie Schoonover was the key player in the game, going 7.0 innings without allowing a run.

Key Stat

  1. UK was able to win despite having just four hits in the contest.

Run Recap

Erin Coffel hit a home run in the bottom of the first inning to right center. UK 1, SDSU 0

In the bottom of the second, Meeko Harrison scored on a head’s up play after a ball hit Vanessa Nesby in the baseline and ricocheted into no-mans-land, allowing Harrison time to score. FINAL – Kentucky 2, SDSU 0

For the latest on UK Softball, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKSoftball.

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