Bell Sets Single-Game Strikeout Mark in Win

Feb. 15, 2009

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Behind the most dominating pitching effort in school history by freshman right-hander Chanda Bell, UK rolled to a 7-1 victory over UNLV to wrap up play at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic Sunday afternoon. Bell scorched the Rebels for a school-record 15 strikeouts in the victory.

The first-year player earned her second win of the season as UK improved to 3-2 during the opening weekend of play. Bell struck out 15 of the 25 batters she faced on the day while yielding just two hits and one walk. The lone run was unearned as UNLV scored on a pair of UK errors.

Kentucky got off to a great start as they took charge offensively from the get-go. Junior Natalie Smith tallied a hit in the No. 2 hole to put a runner on to start the charge. Freshman Brittany Cervantes followed that with a hit that fell in just beyond the second base bag. Smith's speedy base running allowed her to advance all the way to third to put runners on the corners. Sophomore Megan Yocke's sacrifice squeeze bunt scored Smith and advanced Cervantes into scoring position. Junior Molly Johnson earned a two-out single to the shortstop which pushed Cervantes to third. The freshman came around to score on a single by sophomore Samantha DeMartine to give the visitors an early 2-0 edge.

Bell began the afternoon with a stellar start. The right-hander sat the Rebels down in order to open the first inning while tallying a pair of strikeouts.

UK added to its lead immediately with a two-run second inning. Junior Katie McCarty led off with a walk. Freshman Aimee Currier entered the game as a pinch-runner and promptly stole second. After sophomore Annie Rowlands reached first on a fielder's choice and Currier was safe at third in large part thanks to an error on an attempt to tag her. Rowlands seized the moment and stole second to put runners in scoring position. Sophomore Meagan Aull's one hopper to the pitcher got Currier caught in a run-down, but Rowlands was able to scoot over to third and Aull's heady base running moved her all the way to second. That's when Smith delivered a two-RBI single through the right side making UK's advantage 4-0.

After walking UNLV's leadoff hitter, Bell fanned the home team's next three batters to quickly end the inning.

Johnson led off the third with a double that graced the left field line, but the Blue and White were unable to convert on the quick start as the next three at-bats resulted in outs. Bell did her job once again in the bottom half of the frame getting three speedy outs. She forced the first batter to foul out to Yocke and then added two more strikeouts to her running tally.

In the top half of the fourth Kentucky sat down in order still holding on to a 4-0 lead. UNLV manufactured a leadoff single in the bottom of the stanza, but Bell answered with three straight outs—two of which were strikeouts.

UK had a couple of bad breaks in the fifth as Cervantes sent a well-hit ball right back into the pitcher's glove and Yocke just nearly missed out-running a ground-out to short. Johnson fouled out to third as she attempted to keep the at-bat alive.

Bell opened the fifth inning by tallying her 10 th and 11 th strikeouts of the afternoon. She got UNLV's third batter to fly out to right field to end the inning three-up and three-down.

Freshman pinch-hitter Kristen O'Haver singled through the right-side in her first career at-bat to open things up for UK in the sixth. Freshman Rachel Riley followed suit with a floater that dipped into right-center and UK's pinch-runner Macy Allen was able to move over to third placing runners on the corners for the top of the order. Aull found a gap in left-center for a two-run triple increasing Kentucky's lead to a comfortable 6-0 advantage.

UNLV tallied a run in the sixth to make the score 6-1 after Kentucky recorded two fielding errors in the frame. Despite having another two base runners in scoring position, the right hander tied the school record with 13 strikeouts in a game by fanning two and getting the other to groundout, escaping the inning without allowing any further damage.

Kentucky tacked on another run in the top of the seventh. Yocke found her way to first on a Rebel error, Johnson followed as she was struck by a pitch. DeMartine stepped in for a single to load the bases, and then Yocke touched home when Mordecai walked to make the score 7-1.

Bell broke the school single game record for strikeouts in a game in the bottom half of the seventh. After getting the Rebels' leadoff batter to groundout, she fanned pinch-hitter Tara Bendt with a 2-2 count for the record 14 th of the day. She added to the record by striking out the final batter of the game for her second career victory.

Kentucky returns to action for another a tournament beginning on Friday at Louisiana-Lafayette. UK will face the host Cajuns, San Diego State and UConn in the five-game tournament. UK will see San Diego State in the first match-up Friday at noon.