Ranked No. 19 in the nation and playing their best ball of the year, the Hittin' Kittens traveled to Carbondale, Illinois this weekend to finish an 18-game road stretch.
The Wildcats completed a three-game sweep to improve their record to 13-4. Below are the scores for Friday and Saturday's contests
Kentucky 2, Northern Illinois 0
Kentucky 7, Southern Illinois 1
Kentucky 6, University of Illinois-Chicago 2
Two Runs in the Second Lifted the Cats Over the Huskies
In the first game of a doubleheader on Friday, the Wildcats did not need a big day at the plate to take care of business.
Catcher Jenny Schaper opened the bottom fo the second inning by advancing thanks to an NIU throwing error. Hannah Huffman came on to pinch run and moved to 2nd base following a sacrifice bunt. Sarah Rainwater's only hit of the game, a single to left, proved to be the game-winner.
Bailey Vick finished 1-of-2, but her double just one batter later scored Rainwater and gave UK a 2-0 lead they would never relinquish.
Meagan Prince commanded the circle and improved her record to 4-2 on the season. Prince retired 22 of the 25 hitters she faced in a complete game shutout. She allowed only two hits and walked one.
The Cats Ripped the Hosts in Game 2
Another big second inning propelled the Cats to a decisive victory over the hometown Southern Illinois Salukis.
Alex Martens gave UK a 1-0 lead after her RBI double in the 1st inning. Shortstop Katie Reed ground out RBI started the scoring in the next inning. Erin Rethlake's single brought another home and then with the bases loaded, Breanne Ray singled two runners home to put the Cats up 5-0.
Ray finished the game 4-of-5 in addition to her two RBIs. Rethlake added another RBI late in the game and finished 2-of-5 at the plate. However, her day also included four innings in relief of starter Shannon Smith (3-2). Rethlake struck out three and allowed a run.
Cheek's Grand Slam Ground UIC
The Flames rocked starter Larissa Spielman for two runs in the two of the second inning.
The Cats eventually tied the game at two-all in the fifth inning after a solo bomb. Then, with the base loaded, big hitter Abbey Cheek swatted a monstrous grand slam (her only hit of the game) to deep left field to put the Cats up 6-2.
Meagan Prince picked her fifth win of the season, tossing 5.1 one-hit, shutout innings after replacing Spielman in the second inning.