No. 14 Kentucky picked up its 50th win of the season, adding to the school record. The Wildcats advance in the winner's bracket to face either Oklahoma or Alabama, the last two WCWS champions, in their next game.UCLA three times last week in the Super Regional, was in complete command on Thursday against a sixth-ranked Lafayette squad that came to Oklahoma City undefeated in the tourney, hitting .307 as a team and averaging six runs a game. Her only mistake was a second-inning hanging pitch to the Ragin Cajuns' Lexie Elkins, who sent it over the centerfield wall for a solo home run.
The Cats' sophomore right-hander improved to 30-9 on the season, working around five walks while striking out seven.
"I think the thing that makes Kelsey special is she puts the ball exactly where she wants to, and she is able to command all four of the zones," UK coach Rachel Lawson said. "She can go up, down, in and out, and I think because of that she is able to game plan against specific batters. She doesn't have to give the same look every single day.
"Anytime a pitcher can mix it up like that in all the zones and go off-speed, they're tough to hit because it's hard for a hitter to sit on a pitch. I think that's why you're seeing Kelsey do such a good job in the postseason because she is able to adapt to the hitter's game plan and then she actually goes on the attack."
Nunley got early run support in the form of a two-out double by Cumbess off the wall in right-center in the first inning and a sacrifice fly by Ginny Carroll in the second inning to score Krystal Smith, who had doubled off the left field wall to lead off the inning.
The fast start may have helped UK overcome any jitters it may have experienced in its first trip to the WCWS.
"There definitely are nerves but it's more excitement," Cumbess said. "I think in the SEC we play on a big stage all the time. Being out there is really cool for us and with a big crowd and being on TV, I think we played better."
The Cats made it 3-1 in the fourth on a solo home run by Cumbess and tacked on an insurance run in the sixth on an infield hit by Griffin Joiner, a bunt single by Cumbess and a Lafayette error that plated the run.
Kentucky tagged Lafayette ace Christina Hamilton (29-3) for four runs, two earned, on five hits and three walks. She struck out only two batters.
The Ragin Cajuns (49-9-1) drop to the loser's bracket of the double-elimination field, where only two teams have ever emerged from an opening game loss to win the WCWS.
2014 Women's College World Series
ASA Hall of Fame Stadium – Oklahoma City
Session One (Thursday, May 29)
No. 5 Florida def. No. 13 Baylor, 11-0
No. 1 Oregon def. No. 8 Florida State, 3-0
Session Two (Thursday, May 29)
No. 14 Kentucky def. No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette 4-1
No. 2 Alabama def. No. 7 Oklahoma – 9:45 p.m. ET – ESPN2
Session Three (Friday, May 30)
No. 5 Florida vs. No. 1 Oregon – 7 p.m. ET – ESPN2
No. 14 Kentucky vs. No. 2 Alabama/No. 7 Oklahoma – 9:30 p.m. ET – ESPN2