The University of Kentucky softball team got help from a trio of freshman, as the Wildcats posted a 3-1 win over Miami (Ohio) at the UK Softball Stadium on Wednesday.
First-year pitcher Jackie Elston earned her first career win, giving up just one unearned run for the complete-game victory. Elston also posted two strikeouts, the most impressive coming in the top of the seventh with runners on second and third to end the game.
Freshman Amy Anderson made her first career start as the designated player and responded with a 1-for-2, two run night – both runs coming courtesy of a pair of RBIs from redshirt freshman Tiffany Kruse.
Miami (22-25) jumped on the board early, posting three hits in the top of the first inning en route to a 1-0 lead. But Elston responded by retiring the side in order three different times and allowing just three hits over the final five innings.
Anderson and Kruse then took over on the offensive end. Anderson drew a walk to start the third inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Freshman Leslie Kwiatkowski followed with a single to move Anderson to third before Kruse notched an RBI single, scoring Anderson to tie the game at 1-1.
The Wildcats (19-39, 6-18 SEC) kept the pressure on in the fourth. Lorie Horner notched a single and moved to second when Anderson belted her first career hit. Kwiatkowski added the Wildcats’ third straight single, allowing Horner to score from second when the Miami center fielder misplayed the ball. A Michelle Bucci walk loaded the bases and Kruse responded with her second RBI of the night – a sacrifice fly to deep left field, scoring Anderson for a 3-1 UK advantage.
Miami looked ready to make a comeback in the top of the seventh, putting runners at second and third with two outs. But Elston struck out the RedHawks’ Laura Fulton to end the threat and the game.
“They (Elston and Anderson) did an excellent job preparing themselves for this game especially considering they haven’t had many innings this year,” UK coach Beth Kirchner said. “I don’t think either of them seemed nervous. They both just went out there and played.”
The scheduled second game between the two teams was called after just one-half inning of play due to heavy rain.
Kentucky returns to action this weekend, as the Wildcats host arch-rival Tennessee in a pair of doubleheaders at the UK Softball Stadium to close out the regular season. Friday’s doubleheader starts at 6 p.m., while Saturday’s Senior Day twin bill starts at 1 p.m.