Looking to finish the regular season off with a bang, the No. 17 UK softball team (32-21) got swept by the No. 21 Texas Tech Red Raiders (38-13) in Lubbock in a two-game series on Saturday and Sunday with 7-5 and 9-6 losses, respectively.
Saturday was an error-heavy game that made the difference-- the Cats committed a season-high five errors. UK hasn’t committed that many errors in a game since a matchup against Missouri in 2016.
Grace Baalman (9-9) received the loss after pitching five innings and earning four runs while garnering four strikeouts. She was ousted by Raiders’ pitching ace Missy Zoch who came in to pitch two relief innings for starter Erin Edmoundson, allowing only two runs with two strikeouts.
Karli Hamilton got the ball rolling for Tech with a solo home run to left field in the first inning to make it 1-0 Raiders. Mallory Peyton responded an inning later with a two-run homer to give UK the lead at 2-1.
That same inning, though, the lead teetered back to Tech. Hamilton brought her bat back out and dabbed an RBI single to make the score 3-2 Tech. Both teams wouldn’t score for the next three innings as Baalman and Edmoundson were engaged in a pitcher’s duel.
Texas native Kayla Kowalik got things going again in the fifth inning with an RBI single to even the score at three each. That tie wouldn’t last long as Trenity Edwards lasered a two-run homer to give Tech the lead again at 5-3.
An inning later, the Cats kept clawing back as Mallory Peyton had a home run of her own to cut the Cats’ deficit to one run. Katie Reed hit into a double play before bringing home Lauren Johnson to tie the game at five each.
The Cats soon got rattled in the sixth inning. Shelby Henderson reached base on a fielder’s choice before a throwing error from Reed allowed for a run to score. Taylor Satchell singled to bring home one more run, making the final score of 7-5.
Trying to move on from the sixth inning blow, the Cats struck gold early on Sunday afternoon. Johnson hit an RBI single in the second inning to make the score 1-0 Cats. Peyton added another home run with a two-run home run an inning later to increase the lead 3-0.
Zoe Jones slapped home a two-RBI single to cut the Raiders’ deficit to one in the fourth inning. Martens hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning to make it 6-2 Cats. While the game may have seemed over, the Raiders said otherwise.
The Raiders had a seven-run sixth inning that came through a double and three home runs. Autumn Humes (12-10), who entered the game in relief, gave up all seven runs and thus received the loss.
Kentucky earned a bye and are seeded No. 4 in the SEC Tournament by virtue of Ole Miss getting swept and will play Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network.