Schoonover Outduels Canady, No. 3 Stanford in Extra-Inning Thriller
SAN DIEGO – In one of the highlight games of opening weekend in college softball, Stephanie Schoonover outdueled Stanford’s National Freshman of the Year, NiJaree Canady in an extra-inning affair as the No. 25 Wildcats scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to walk off the No. 3 ranked Cardinal, 3-2.
Schoonover and Canady combined for amazing performances in the circle with 21 combined strikeouts, only six hits, and both pitchers carrying a no-hitter into the fifth inning. Schoonover picked up her second win in as many days, throwing a complete game with no earned runs allowed, striking out seven batters and walking four. Canady was sparkling, throwing 7.1 innings with three runs, a walk and 14 strikeouts of the Kentucky offense.
Kentucky with the win has won back-to-back games against a top-5 team for the first time since it beat No. 3 Alabama in 2021. The Wildcats improve to 3-0 on the season and will look to make it 4-0 as it plays the host school of the San Diego State Season Kick-Off Tournament tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game vs. San Diego State can be streamed live on the Mountain West Network for free.
Freshman Ally Hutchins drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning as Rylea Smith was standing on third base with one out and Hutchins looped a blooper over Canady’s head in the circle that fell in front of the infield to safely plate Smith sliding from home to walk it off.
The key play in the game was a solo home run off the bat of Karissa Hamilton in the bottom of the fifth inning that tied the game at 1-1 and broke up Canady’s perfect game through 13 batters. The ball was crushed to left center and left the park in a hurry as a 1-0 Stanford lead was thwarted and Kentucky tied the game.
Stephanie Schoonover was the key player in the game, going the distance and earning a top-five win with no earned runs and seven strikeouts.
The key stat in the game was 21. The two pitchers in Saturday’s titanic clash combined for 21 strikeouts.
In the top of the first, Kentucky’s defense committed an error allowing a run to score from second on an overthrow in an attempt to get an inning-ending double play. SU 1, UK 0
In the bottom of the fifth, Karissa Hamilton logged Kentucky’s first hit as she clobbered a home run to left center to get Kentucky back on level terms. SU 1, UK 1
In the eighth inning, the international tiebreak rule was in effect, with Stanford scoring its run via a sacrifice bunt and a Kentucky error. SU 2, UK 1
Rylea Smith led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single through the left side to score Erin Coffel and Smith took second on a Cardinal error. After Meeko Harrison bunted Smith over to third, Ally Hutchins ended the game with a fielder’s choice up the middle to end the ballgame. FINAL – #25 Kentucky 3, #3 Stanford 2 (F/8)
For the latest on UK Softball, follow the Wildcats on Twitter and Instagram at @UKSoftball.