Three Batters Hit Homers as UK Upsets Ohio St.
Feb. 11, 2011
MIAMI - Three different Kentucky batters blasted a home run to ignite a 9-0 five-inning upset of No. 22/24 Ohio State on the opening night of action at the FIU Combat Classic in Miami. With the victory, UK has now upset a ranked opponent in its lid-lifter in consecutive seasons after also winning at No. 5 Arizona State in 2010.
Head coach Rachel Lawson has guided her team to an opening day victory in all four seasons as coach, and the Wildcat program has earned a win in its opening game of action for six straight years.
Seniors Meagan Aull and Samantha DeMartine and junior Erika Silence all notched a round tripper to help the Blue and White score five runs in the top of the fourth to break open the game. DeMartine and Silence combined for back-to-back blasts, a feat that UK never achieved during its 2010 NCAA Tournament season.
"Today was a great day because one of our goals for the season is to take better control of our at-bats," Lawson said. "I thought we did a really great job of attacking our pitch and doing the right thing in the right situations. At this moment, I feel like we did a good job in the offseason and that we really can be one of the better hitting teams in the SEC."
With UK already enjoying a comfortable 4-0 advantage, the Wildcat bats erupted in the top of the fourth with three home runs for five tallies. Senior Megan Yocke got things started when she drew her third walk of the game with two outs on the scoreboard. Aull then rocked the first round tripper of the season over the right field wall. Junior Brittany Cervantes kept the inning alive with her second walk of the contest before DeMartine drilled a homer over the left field fence. Silence followed with a solo shot that dropped over the left field wall for the first back-to-back home runs of the season and a 9-0 advantage for the designated visitors.
DeMartine led all batters for the Wildcats (1-0) with a 2-for-2 day and three RBI. Aull had a pair of RBI on her home run, and freshman Emily Jolly was 1-for-2 with a two-run single in the top of the third.
Junior ace Chanda Bell earned her first win and shutout of the season with a complete-game effort. The right-hander notched 10 strikeouts and allowed just three hits on the evening.
Kentucky broke open the scoring in the top of the third with four runs on three hits in the inning. Sophomore Kara Dill opened the inning with a base hit to the shortstop, and the speedy runner quickly swiped second to put a runner in scoring position. Yocke picked up her second walk of the day before the first out came on a fly out into shallow left field to the shortstop. Cervantes then drew a walk to load the bases, paving the way for DeMartine. UK's senior first baseman drilled a ball up the middle to score Dill to plate the first run of the game.
Jolly kept the inning alive with a single that laced the right field line to plate a pair of runners. She advanced to second in a run-down with DeMartine at third. Jolly then shifted to third on a wild pitch, before she rounded home on freshman Lauren Cumbess' ball-four wild pitch to plate the final run and lift UK to a comfortable 4-0 advantage.
Both squads put a runner on base in the opening inning. Yocke reached base with a five-pitch walk. Aull would advance the runner on a sac bunt, but the inning came to a close with a double-play.
Bell began the 2011 season right where she left off by getting the first batter to sit down on strikes. The Buckeyes' had a batter reach when she was plucked with a pitch. Bell, however, quickly dispelled of the threat with a pop-up to Dill at shortstop and her second strikeout of the inning.
For the second consecutive inning Kentucky put the leadoff batter aboard with a walk when DeMartine reached with four balls tossed. After a fly out to left field, Cumbess skipped a ball along the third base line that the third baseman mishandled to put a second runner on base. The inning came to a close after consecutive fly outs with two runners stranded.
After yielding a leadoff walk, Bell quickly ended the inning with three consecutive strikeouts in the bottom half of the second.
Ohio State's Alicia Herron earned a two-out single in the bottom of the third stanza, but Bell was able to force a pop-up to Cervantes at third to end the inning.
Bell continued to fend off Buckeye batters when she picked up two more strikeouts in the bottom half of the fourth after yielding a one-out single in the frame. The third out came on a pop-fly to Dill at shortstop.
In fitting fashion, Bell preserved the shutout with three strikeouts in the bottom half of the fifth inning to run her total to 10 on the outing.
Kentucky will play the host FIU Golden Panthers later this evening. First pitch is set for approximately 9:20 p.m. ET.
Live stats and complete coverage of the Wildcat softball team at the FIU Combat Classic can be found at UKathletics.com.
UK's Complete Schedule at the FIU Combat Classic
Feb. 11 (Fri.) FIU vs. Kentucky, 9 p.m.
Feb. 12 (Sat.) Kentucky vs. DePaul, 6 p.m.
Feb. 12 (Sat.) North Florida vs. Kentucky, 8 p.m.
Feb. 13 (Sun.) Memphis vs. Kentucky, 11 a.m.