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Sullivan’s Pitching and Long Ball Give Kentucky 4-3 Win over Ole Miss

photo by Danny Pendleton - Bluegrass Sports Nation

Wildcats take opening game of series in Oxford

OXFORD – April 7, 2023

Kennedy Sullivan pitched all seven innings, a new career-high and Erin Coffel moved into second place all-time at Kentucky with her 49th-career home run as No. 16 Kentucky held off Ole Miss 4-3 on Friday night to take the series opener in Oxford.

UK jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to Erin Coffel’s home run in the top of the third inning, as she passed Brittany Cervantes for second all-time with her 49th-career long ball to straight-away center field as the Wildcats jumped out in front. Coffel was on base in every at bat Friday night, as she was hit by a pitch, hit a home run and was intentionally walked twice.

Sullivan was the winning pitcher, throwing 7.0 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits in the contest while getting a key out in the bottom of the seventh with the potential game-tying run standing on second base. Sullivan’s seven innings thrown are a new career high, as well as her six strikeouts in the game also setting a new career-best for the graduate student.

Kentucky centerfielder Jenna Blanton threw out the game-tying potential run in the bottom of the seventh with one out from CF on a single into centerfield. Kayla Kowalik applied a perfect tag that was upheld on video review and it was the difference in the game on Friday night.

With the win, UK improves to 23-9-1 on the season and now sits two games above the .500 mark in Southeastern Conference play at 6-4. Ole Miss drops to 2-8 in the SEC and is 22-17 overall. Game two of the series will be Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET on SEC Network+.

Key Play

Erin Coffel’s play to end the game off the bat of Lexie Brady was the key play in the game. With the potential game-tying run on second, Coffel snatched an RBI single into left out of the air at short and grabbed the ball with her glove to secure the final out and a Kentucky win, its second-straight in SEC play.

Key Player 

Kennedy Sullivan was the key player in Friday night’s game, going 3-for-4 at the plate, a triple shy of the cycle, and getting the win in the game in the circle, her second-straight win.

Key Stat

0. Kentucky had no errors in the game.

Run Recap

Erin Coffel hit a two-run home run after a Vanessa Nesby single in the top of the third inning to give Kentucky an early lead in the contest. UK 2, OM 0

In the top of the third, Kennedy Sullivan reached on a lead-off walk, and pinch runner Erica Thulen scored on an RBI by Margaret Tobias. UK 3, OM 0

Ole Miss cut the deficit to 3-1 in the bottom of the third on a two-out RBI single up the middle. UK 3, OM 1

Kennedy Sullivan hit a home run to left field, her second of the season, to reinstate UK’s lead. UK 4, OM 1

Ole Miss hit a lead-off solo HR in the bottom of the seventh. After a double and an RBI single, that made things 4-3. Jenna Blanton threw out a would-be run from CF with one out and a lineout to Erin Coffel ended the game. FINAL – Kentucky 4. Ole Miss 3

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