Photo by Clinton Riddle
Kentucky Softball

Martens' Two Homers Lead ‘Cats to Comeback Win in Home Opener

March 7, 2020

UK had a challenge on their hands in their first SEC game of the season, facing off against Texas A&M in the Wildcats' home opener at John Cropp Stadium. But two homers from 2B Alex Martens, combined with solid relief pitching by RHP Autumn Humes, kept the Wildcats in the game long enough to edge the Aggies, 11-9.

Texas A&M got off to an early lead on the strength of a six-run top of the third, forcing Meghan Schorman (2 1/3 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) out of the game early and heading to the home half leading 8-1. RHP Autumn Humes took over on the rubber, but a base hit by Ashlynn Walls and a grand slam from Dani Elder put the 'Cats down by seven.

Kentucky started chipping away in the bottom of the third, with Kayla Kowalik drawing a full-count walk to get it started. Bailey Vick moved her to second on a bunt single, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Martens cleared the bases with a three-run homer to center to cut the Aggies' lead in half.

The Wildcats continued to threaten after Mallory Peyton walked on four straight and Humes reached on an error by Elder at third. After Grace Baalman entered as the new designated player, Humes was forced on a ground-out to short to end the inning.

A&M fired back with a solo shot to center from Haley Lee in the top of the fourth, but UK responded once again with a three-run home half on Martens' second homer of the game, a three-run shot to right-center to bring the 'Cats back within two.

While Humes was able to keep the Aggies scoreless throughout the remainder of the game, the Wildcats tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the sixth. With Vick lining a single into left and advancing to third on a ground-out by Renee Abernathy, Martens drew a walk and advanced to second when Peyton was hit on the left elbow by a 2-1 fastball to load the bases. Lauren Johnson drove in Vick on a 3-2 single to left, followed by a two-run base hit to left-center by Humes, to put UK ahead, 10-9. PH Emmy Blane reached on an E-6 to load the bases once again. Miranda Stoddard brought home another run on a sac fly to right.

The Aggies looked like they would once again take the lead in the top of the seventh, with Walls reaching on an error by Stoddard at third and Elder knocking a base hit up the middle. Kyndall Murray sacrificed both runners into scoring position, with the go-ahead run in the person of Makinzy Herzog coming to the plate. Herzog, however, grounded out to Humes on the first pitch. After a 3-2 walk to Morgan Smith, Walls grounded out to Stoddard to end the game.

The tenth-ranked Wildcats (18-3) will face the Aggies (15-8) on Sunday at 1 PM and Monday at 6 PM to finish the three-game series.

Game Notes:

-Vick led the team with three hits on the day, scoring three runs. Martens went 2-3 with two homers, six RBI, and another three runs scored. Johnson added two hits, with an RBI and a run scored. Kowalik finished the day 0-3, but walked twice and scored two runs.

-This win puts the Aggies at 6-7, all-time, vs. the Wildcats, and they most recently beat the 'Cats on April 14th, 2018, with a 4-3 victory at College Station.

-This is already the ninth time this season thatKentucky has scored ten or more runs in a game. Martens ended the game with a .500 average for the season (1.595 OPS), and Vick has raised her average over .600 (.603 BA, 1.393 OPS). Martens leads the team in RBI by a wide margin, with 45 in 68 at-bats (9 doubles, 9 home runs). Vick and Martens have combined to strike out only five times in 126 at-bats.

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