Nesby, Smith and Schoonover’s Clutch Performance Lock In 3-1 Win

Nesby, Smith and Schoonover’s Clutch Performance Lock In 3-1 Win

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Thanks to shining performances by Stephanie Schoonover, Rylea Smith and Vanessa Nesby, the No. 21 Kentucky Softball team willed itself to a 3-1 win Saturday afternoon on Senior Day thanks to a three-run sixth inning to book the series-evening win.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs, Jaden Vickers reached on an error as Grace Lorsung scored to tie the game followed by back-to-back triples off the bat of Vanessa Nesby and Rylea Smith to pad the lead and hand the ball of to Stephanie Schoonover to close out the ballgame in the top of the seventh.

Schoonover pitched a complete game, allowing just one run on seven Gamecocks hits with four strikeouts and only one earned run crossing the plate. The Vicksburg, Mississippi native on her senior day registered her team-leading 17th win of the season to move to 17-7 on the year and threw 118 pitches Saturday afternoon with 75 of them recorded as strikes.

Game three, the deciding game of the weekend series, will be Sunday at 1 p.m. ET from John Cropp Stadium as the 2024 home season will come to a close against No. 25 South Carolina. The game will be shown live on SEC Network+ and the ESPN app with Dick Gabriel and Dorian Craft on the call from JCS. Tickets are available at for the home finale.

Key Play 

Vanessa Nesby’s go-ahead RBI triple to score Jaden Vickers from first with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning was the key play in Saturday’s win. Not only was it Nesby’s first triple of the season, but it gave Kentucky its first lead of the game.

Key Player  

Rylea Smith was the key player, going 3-for-4 in the contest, including an insurance-run scoring triple to right center in the bottom of the sixth to plate Nesby with two outs as Kentucky went ahead of USC, 3-1.

Key Stat 

8. All eight seniors started and played key roles in Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Gamecocks.

Run Recap 

South Carolina’s lone run came in the top of the second inning on an RBI single off the bat of Bri Warren. USC 1, UK 0

With a runner on third and two outs, Jaden Vickers hit a hard-hit ball to the left side that was bobbled by the Gamecocks defense for an error and Grace Lorsung scored to tie the game. Vanessa Nesby then clubbed her go-ahead triple to center to score Vickers and Rylea Smith followed with an RBI triple to right center to close out the scoring. In the top of the seventh, a lead-off single was no problem for Schoonover who closed out the game by retiring the next three batters in order. FINAL – Kentucky 3, South Carolina 1

NEW for 2024 – The Kentucky Softball Designated Players Club

The Designated Players is the Official Booster Program of Kentucky Softball.  Financial contributions and community support through The Designated Players program, Kentucky Softball will be able to continue to develop our student-athletes on and off the field. To join The Designated Players, you can join online or click here to download the membership form and mail to the address listed.  For more information, email Kristine Himes at or Larry Cash at

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

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