Kentucky Softball falls to Virginia Tech; sets up decisive elimination game

Photo by Grace Bradley | UK Athletics

Kentucky Softball dropped Sunday’s game against Virginia Tech, but the ‘Cats will still have another shot later in the day to secure a spot in the Super Regionals.

UK was outplayed by the 3-seeded Hokies in the Blacksburg Regional, falling 9-2 in what was the first game of a two-game series. The bracket is double-elimination, so the two sides will face off again in roughly 30 minutes with the winner moving on to the Super Regionals and the loser knocked out of the NCAA Tournament. Kentucky smacked Miami (OH) on Friday and then came back to take down Virginia Tech in the first meeting on Saturday to make it this far, but now they’re on the brink of being eliminated.

Kentucky left nine runners on base throughout Sunday afternoon’s game and failed to score a single run from the third inning on. UK is looking to make the program’s fifth consecutive Super Regional and eighth in school history.

Virginia Tech struck first in the top of the initial inning to take an early 1-0 lead. Kentucky would quickly find its offensive footing, though, knocking in two scores in the bottom of the second to take a 2-1 advantage. The ‘Cats had an excellent opportunity to blow the score wide open too but left three runners on base as Hokies pitcher Emma Lemley worked her way out of the jam.

Kentucky pitcher Stephanie Schoonover would give up her second run of the afternoon in the top of the third, setting the score at 2-2 after three innings. From there, it was all Hokies.

Virginia Tech tacked on two more runs in the top of the fourth as UK head coach Rachel Lawson was forced to make a couple of pitching changes. Alexis Lacatena and Tatum Spangler would take the mound for the ‘Cats but both gave up two runs of their own that put the ‘Cats down 4-2 after four innings.

Spangler only appeared in 0.1 innings, giving up two runs while walking three batters. She would eventually come out for Sloan Gayan, who gave up another two runs in the top of the fifth. The Hokies took a commanding 6-2 lead following five innings of action. Gayan would breeze her way through the top of the sixth, but the offense failed to put up any points in the bottom of the inning.

The Hokies would seal the win in the top of the seventh, sending home three more runners to take a 9-2 lead that proved to be far too much for Kentucky to overcome. Virginia Tech scored nine runs off 11 hits while UK only managed two runs off of their eight hits.

Kentucky and Virginia Tech will face off one more time with the Super Regionals on the line. First pitch is scheduled for approximately 45 minutes following the end of the first game, which concluded around 2:45 p.m. EST. It will be streamed live on ESPN+.