Plotts and Ebbs’ Key Hits Help No. 14 Kentucky Win Slugfest

Plotts and Ebbs’ Key Hits Help No. 14 Kentucky Win Slugfest

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Thanks to key hits by Taylor Ebbs and freshman Peyton Plotts, the No. 14 Kentucky Softball team rallied to come from behind and defeat North Carolina 12-10 to kick off its weekend at the 2024 Shriners Children’s Clearwater Elite Invitational hosted by ESPN.

Kentucky put up a six spot in the top of the first inning, as the Wildcats played a half dozen runs on six hits and sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning. The Tar Heels responded with five runs in the bottom half as UK pitchers struggled with walks and gave up a big fly to the Heels.

After UNC scored nine unanswered runs after the end of three innings to take a 9-6 lead, the Wildcats offense went to work, scoring six-straight runs to command the scoreboard with a 12-9 lead going into the bottom of the seventh. With Stephanie Schoonover pitching, UNC loaded the bases with no outs and the top of the order, but Schoonover got two outs on the same play in two different sequences and a strikeout looking ended the game as Schoonover got her fifth K of the game to end the day.

Offensively, Kentucky had 18 hits in the contest with 12 runs scored on 14 singles and four extra-base hits. Taylor Ebbs tied the game at 9-9 in the top of the sixth inning and Peyton Plotts hit a ball back up the middle to give UK the lead at 10-9 as the Wildcats jumped out ahead for the first time since it was 6-0.

Schoonover picked up her fourth win of the season, as she pitched 4.2 innings and struck out five batters.

Kentucky will play Wisconsin at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday live on ESPN+ in the second game of its twin billing to open the tournament.

Key Play 

Grace Lorsung’s RBI double in the top of the seventh inning to make a 10-9 lead 11-9 was the key play in the game.

Key Player  

Karissa Hamilton was the key player in Thursday’s game, going 3-for-5 with two RBI and a runner caught stealing on the basepaths.

Key Stat 

  1. Kentucky had 18 hits in the game, two shy of the UK single-game record set in 2022.

Run Recap 

Rylea Smith hit an RBI triple to make to 1-0 in the top of the first as the UK offense was off and running. Ally Hutchins followed with an RBI single up the middle and Karissa Hamilton brought home a run on an RBI double to the gap. With runners on second and third and two outs, Margaret Tobias hit a shot through the left side to score a pair and she advanced to second on an error. UK 6, UNC 0


In the bottom of the first, UNC loaded the bases with no outs and plated two on an RBI single up the middle. After back-to-back outs, the Tar Heels hit a three-run blast. UK 6, UNC 5

In the bottom of the third, UNC played four on six hits off of two different UK pitchers as the Wildcats turned to Stephanie Schoonover in the circle. UNC 9, UK 6

To get UK back in the game, Taylor Ebbs hit a two-run homer to right in the top of the fifth as UK clawed to within a run. UNC 9, UK 8

Taylor Ebbs struck a game-tying RBI single up the middle and then freshman Peyton Plotts gave Kentucky the lead in the top of the sixth with a RBI single to short. UK 10, UNC 9

Back-to-back RBI doubles by Lorsung and Hamilton extended the UK lead in the sixth. UK 12, UNC 9

UNC loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh, but UK got out of it with a Stephanie Schoonover K to end the game looking. FINAL – Kentucky 12, North Carolina 10

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

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