Cervantes' Homers Lead UK to 5-1 Victory
Feb. 13, 2010
TEMPE, Ariz. - Sophomore Brittany Cervantes smacked a pair of home runs to lead the Kentucky softball team to a 5-1 victory over Western Michigan Saturday morning in Tempe, Ariz.. The multi home run game is the first of her career and the first for a UK player since Brooke Marnitz had two against Western Kentucky in 2006.
Cervantes led the squad with 10 home runs in her freshman season and already has three in four games this season. Senior Molly Johnson also blasted her second homer of the season as the duo each hit homers in a four-run fourth inning for the Blue and White.
Kentucky improves to 3-1 on the season and earned the victory behind sophomore pitcher Rachel Riley who earned her first decision of the season. Riley matched a career-high with six strikeouts in the game and allowed just one run in her first outing of the year.
Johnson led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo blast over the left-center wall. Natalie Smith singled up the middle and then moved to second on a Megan Yocke sacrifice bunt setting the stage for Cervantes. The sophomore drilled a ball over the center field fence for her second long ball of the game. Kentucky's fourth run of the inning rounded home when Western Michigan's shortstop muffed a catch when she was bumped into by the second baseman allowing Jennifer Young to round home and give UK a 5-1 edge.
Western Michigan struck for a run in the top of the first inning to begin the game. The leadoff batter posted a single into centerfield and rounded home on a stolen base and then back-to-back wild pitches for the 1-0 edge.
Kentucky had a prime opportunity in the bottom of the first, but could not push across a run. Smith charted a one-out double that laced the right field line. Yocke then drew a walk and the runners both stole a bag to place runners into scoring position. Cervantes drilled a well hit ball into right-center, but the Bronco's right fielder made a tremendous running snag to deny the Blue and White. Riley then posted a walk to load the bases, but the inning ended with a groundout to the second baseman.
Riley sat down the order in the top of the second forcing three Bronco groundouts. Samantha DeMartine opened the bottom of the frame with a bomb to the right-center wall, but the Broncos' right fielder made a leaping grab and took out the removable fence in the process denying DeMartine of a home run. Freshman Kara Dill then posted her first collegiate hit when she out ran the throw from short to get on base. Dill swiped second, but then had to stay at second when Annie Rowlands earned a base with a chopper to third. After a fielder's choice, the runners advanced into scoring position. Smith earned a walk to load the bases, but the inning ended with UK stranding three runners on a fly out to right.
Riley retired the first two batters, one of which was a beautiful snag by Meagan Aull in centerfield in the fourth. After allowing a two-out double, Riley picked up her third strikeout of the game to prevent the Broncos from adding to their lead.
Cervantes tied the score at one apiece with a solo shot over the left field fence for her second home run of the season in the bottom half of the stanza. Riley was denied a homer when the center fielder made a leaping grab and took out the fence for the second time in the game. DeMartine walked and then moved to second on a wild pitch. Dill charted her second hit of the game when she sent a little dribbler back to the pitcher putting runners on the corners. The inning ended with a fielder's choice as UK left two more runners on base.
After picking up two quick outs on grounders, UK committed an error to allow a base runner. The Broncos looked like they might bring in a score with a double into right-center, but the relay home was spectacular as Aull hit Johnson at the cut off and Johnson zipped the ball home to Cervantes who swiftly tagged the runner and ended the inning preventing a score.
With an out in the top of the fifth the Broncos got a base runner on with a single up the gut, and then an error by UK made it look like there would be two runners on base. But, UK had another tremendous relay as Destinee Mordecai tossed it to Dill trying to get the lead runner. During the throw, the batter who reached on the error attempted to move to second but, Dill found Johnson who placed the tag on the runner. Riley then got her second strikeout of the inning to end the scoring threat preserving UK's four-run advantage.
In the top of the seventh the Broncos earned back-to-back singles to open their final at-bat. Riley forced the first out into a foul out to Dill at third. She then forced a chopper back to her and she calmly tossed it to first for the second out. The final out came with a consecutive out back to the pitcher to close out her first win of the year.
Kentucky concludes action in Arizona against California at 6:30 p.m. ET later this afternoon.