LEXINGTON, Ky. – Alyssa Heren broke the game open early as she singled, stole second and scored on a first inning error, but SIUE softball fell to No. 22 Kentucky 4-1 Tuesday at John Cropp Stadium.
SIUE dropped to 8-4 for the season and next heads to Bowling Green, Kentucky, tomorrow for a 4 p.m. CT contest. Game time was moved up one hour from the previous start time in anticipation of the weather.
"We had a good game going in," said SIUE Head Coach Sandy Montgomery of the Kentucky game. "We just have to get the job done. We're just not quite there yet."
Heren finished the game with two SIUE's five hits. The other three hits were a first-inning single by Zoe Schafer, a double by Reagan Curtis in the second inning and a sixth-inning single by Haley Adrian.
"We started to settle into a groove," said Heren. "The lineup is still moving around a little. I think everyone is getting a little more comfortable at the plate, including myself."
SIUE took advantage of a poor throw by Kentucky catcher Jenny Schaper. UK shortstop Katie Reed tried to field the ball on the other side of the bag, but the hard-thrown ball caromed off her glove and past center fielder Sarah Rainwater in left center. Heren speeded to third and kept going to put the Cougars ahead 1-0.
"We executed and made things happen," said Montgomery.
Kentucky, 15-3 and ranked nationally in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, didn't get its offense cranked up until the fourth inning against SIUE starter Emily Ingles, who fell to 5-2.
Abby Cheek homered to left field in the fourth inning and added a sacrifice fly in the fifth. The eventual winning run came in the fifth on a single up the middle by Reed that scored Erin Rethlake.
Rethlake had taken over for Kentucky starter Bethany Todd in the fourth inning. The left-hander held SIUE to two hits over the final four innings while striking out five.
"We made too many mistakes that hurt us," added Montgomery.