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Late-game heroics for UK after big rally

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UK Athletics

No. 12/15 Kentucky needed late-game heroics to get past the Mississippi Bulldogs 9-8 Saturday afternoon at John Cropp Stadium.

The Cats (19-7) rallied from a 6-0 deficit to clinch a second consecutive SEC series and their 10th win a row thanks to another explosive performance in the batter's box.

Senior Abbey Cheek went 2-of-4 at the plate with four RBI. The South Carolinian's sacrifice grounder in the bottom of the 6th inning proved to be the game winner. Cheek's other hit of the day was a moonshot over the center field fence, her sixth of the season, in the 5th.

Freshman Kayla Kowalik bagged three hits in four attempts at bat, her fifth game so far on the campaign with four or more hits. Kowalik's RBI triple in the bottom of the 6th set up her up as the go-ahead run for Cheek.

Kentucky outhit the Bulldogs 10-4, but State showed good discipline at-bat and made the most of their limited base knocks.

MSU (19-7, 0-2) took the lead in the top of the first inning with an RBI double to right field.

A grand slam and a solo homer in the top of the 3rd extended their lead to 6-0 and chased UK starter Grace Baalman from the game.

Kentucky strung two runs together in the bottom of the inning courtesy of Alex Martens' two-RBI single up the middle.

Kelsee Henson's second round-tripper of the season cut State's lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the fourth.

The Bulldogs increased their edge to five runs, 8-3, in the top of the 5th, but Cheek's homer in the bottom of the frame got UK back within two runs.

Jenny Schaper scored on a throwing error in the bottom of the sixth to get the Cats within one run and set the stage for Kowalik and Cheek's heroics.

Megan Schorman (4-0) steadied the Cats out of the bullpen. The freshman threw four innings in relief of Baalman, allowing one run on two hits. She struck out three batters and walked one.

Grace Fagan (3-4) of MSU lost her second straight start of the series.

The Cats look to break out the brooms Sunday at noon in the series finale.