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Grace Baalman Pitches Kentucky Into Lexington Regional Final

Posted: 3:48 PM, May 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-18 15:48:36-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Sophomore pitcher  Grace Baalman  pitched a complete-game gem in the circle, as she powered the No. 14 Kentucky softball team into the 2019 Lexington Regional final with an 8-1 win against Virginia Tech in the winner’s bracket game on Saturday afternoon.

Baalman went the distance, allowing just one run on eight hits, walking nobody and striking out a trio of Hokies.

Kentucky advances into the Lexington Regional final on Sunday, where the Wildcats will meet the winner of Saturday night’s elimination game between Virginia Tech and the winner of Illinois/Toledo. Sunday’s game will start at Noon ET on ESPN3 and should UK lose – the seventh game of the regional to decide a spot in the Super Regionals would follow 45 minutes after that game.

Kentucky registered eight hits off of ACC Pitcher of the Year, Carrie Eberle – who took the loss in the circle to fall to 25-7 on the year. Baalman improved to 10-9 with the win.

Key Stat
3. Freshman  Kayla Kowalik  went 3-for-4 in the game with three critical hits. Her first hit was UK’s first in the game, her second hit allowed her to score the Wildcats’ first run, and her third was an RBI single.

Key Play
The key play in the game was  Jenny Schaper’s  two-run single into left center with the bases loaded in a 1-0 game. The single plated  Lauren Johnson  and  Kelsee Henson  to push across the eventual game-winning runs.

Key Player
Grace Baalman  was the key player in the game, earning her 10th win of the season in the circle and not walking a batter in the contest.

Run Recap
Lauren Johnson  tripled into left field in the bottom of the fourth inning to score  Kayla Kowalik  from first and put the Wildcats up, 1-0. Two batters later, Kentucky made it 3-0 on  Jenny Schaper’s  two-run single into left. UK 3, VT 0

In the bottom of the fifth, Kentucky plated four runs. The first two batters of the innings reached on errors and pinch runner  Jaci Babbs scored on a wild pitch with nobody out.  Kayla Kowalik  singled into center to score  Tatum Spangler  and increased the UK lead to 5-0.  Bailey Vick  then singled on a squeeze play and scored  Kennedy Cowden  from third on the perfectly-executed play. UK 7, VT 0

In the top of the sixth, Virginia Tech scored its only run of the game on a one-out solo HR off the bat of Emma Strouth. UK 7, VT 1

In the bottom of the sixth,  Katie Reed  led off the inning with a walk and came around to score on an  Alex Martens  sacrifice fly. The sac fly from Martens tied the school record for most RBI in a season (61). FINAL – Kentucky 8, Virginia Tech 1

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