No. 4 UCLA Escapes Cats in Offensive Showdown

Feb. 14, 2009

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. – In a game that saw 15 runs off of 17 hits, the No. 4 UCLA Bruins escaped with a 9-6 win over Kentucky in an offensive showdown Saturday evening at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las Vegas. Earlier in the day Kentucky dropped a 5-1 decision to No. 16 DePaul.

UK (2-2, 0-0) put together another spectacular day at the plate registering eight hits against the 11-time national champions. Six different Wildcat batters earned a hit on the night, with sophomores Samantha DeMartine and Meagan Aull both registering two. Freshman Brittany Cervantes drove in a pair of runs and sophomore Megan Yocke scored an inside the park home run to highlight the day for the Blue and White.

UCLA opened the first two innings by plating six runs off of just four hits. Two Kentucky miscues helped the Bruins notch five runs in the second inning.

Yocke began UK's scoring as she single-handedly produced UK's run in the bottom half of the second. The right-handed batter sent a well driven ball down the right field line that slipped past the out-stretched glove of the Bruins' right fielder. The ball got pinned in the outfield corner wall, and Yocke used her speed to stretch the extra base hit into an inside the park home run.

The Bruins stretched their lead to 8-1 after a two-run third inning and that's when Kentucky found some steady offense.

The Wildcats responded to the deficit with a huge third inning of their own. Senior Katie McCarty led off by reaching base on an error by the shortstop. Freshman Macy Allen came in to pinch-run and quickly moved to second on a ground-out. Aull's double to left-center put two runners in scoring position. Junior Natalie Smith's at-bat produced a run on a fielder's choice as Allen was able to touch home plate for the first run. A UCLA mistake loaded the bases for the Blue and White as junior Molly Johnson reached on a fielder's choice when Aull was able to slide back into the third base bag when she did not have to advance on the play. That's when freshman Brittany Cervantes stepped to the plate and hit a timely single up the middle to plate two scores. DeMartine's chopper to second brought home Johnson for the final run of the inning making the score 8-5.

The Wildcats once again got things going to start off the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore Annie Rowlands had a one-out single into left field and Aull followed that with her second hit in as many innings as she found a gap into right-center. Kentucky, however, was unable to convert after they advanced the runners on a groundout to the pitcher. Johnson popped up a ball into foul territory that UCLA's third baseman was able to corral to end the inning unscathed.

UCLA scored a run in the top half of the fifth frame off a solo home run from Katie Schroeder making the score 9-5 in favor of the Bruins.  UK answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the fifth. Cervantes got plucked with a pitch on the thigh and advanced to second on a DeMartine single up the middle. Junior Destinee Mordecai sent a grounder to third and Cervantes was tagged out attempting to advance on the fielder's choice. McCarty scored UK's run with a stand-up double that laced the left field line scoring DeMartine from second to bring the score to 9-6.

Despite a leadoff double from the Bruins, Kentucky and freshman pitcher Chanda Bell were able to escape the sixth unharmed. UK, however, was unable to find any more offense and could not tally another run the rest of the way.

In the first game of the day, the Blue Demons opened the bottom of the first with a quick 4-0 advantage. DePaul scored its four runs on a couple of two-run doubles to take the early edge.

Yocke began the second with a one-hop single to the second baseman to get a runner on base. She swiftly stole second, and then Cervantes walked to place runners on first and second. After a sacrifice bunt off the bat of Mordecai advanced the runners into scoring position the inning ended on a ground out to the third baseman as the Wildcats stranded two on the base paths.

After trading scoreless innings, Kentucky scratched the scoreboard in the top of the fourth. Yocke once again got a little momentum going for the Blue and White with a double into right-center. She advanced to third on a wild pitch by DePauls' Becca Heteniak. The sophomore crossed the plate when Cervantes grounded out to short bringing the score to 4-1 in favor of the Blue Demons.

Back to back doubles by DePaul in the bottom half of the inning saw the designated home squad secure the final margin at 5-1. They would hold on to their lead for the rest of the way for the final score.

Kentucky returns to action for one more game Sunday as they take on the host UNLV Runnin' Rebels. Game time is slated for a 1:30 start local time, 4:30 ET.

Complete coverage of the UK softball team can be found at UKathletics.com.