Seventh-Inning Rally Lifts Wildcats Past FAU
Feb. 17, 2012
BOCA RATON, Fla. - The No. 22/24 Kentucky softball team rallied to score four runs in the top of the seventh to earn a 6-3 win at Florida Atlantic on Friday evening. Going into its final at-bat the Blue and White trailed by one run and mounted its second late-game heroic effort of the season in the win. UK scored its runs on two hits and benefited from three FAU miscues in the frame to earn the win.
With the victory Kentucky improves to 3-3 on the season and sophomore Ellen Weaver earns her first win on the mound in 2012. FAU falls to 0-6.
Trailing 3-2 going into its last at-bat in the seventh inning, UK had sophomore Emily Jolly leadoff by reaching base on a throwing error by FAU's shortstop. Sophomore Krystal Smith then utilized a sacrifice bunt to shift the runner. Jolly promptly stole third to move into prime scoring position. Junior Alice O'Brien drew a full-count walk to place runners on the corners to bring UK's top of the order back to the plate. Jolly shifted home during senior Brittany Cervantes' at-bat on a wild pitch to knot the score at three.
Cervantes then drilled a single up the middle and moved to second on the throw, but O'Brien held at third to keep both runners in scoring position. Joiner lofted a ball into right-center that was mishandled by the fielders enabling O'Brien to move home and Cervantes to advance. Junior Kara Dill then smacked an RBI single through the left side to keep the rally going. Senior Rachel Riley then sent a high-fly ball into left field that was again bobbled by FAU allowing Joiner to score the final run of the frame and giving UK a 6-3 advantage.
Joiner opened the scoring with a one-out homer down the left field line to lift the Blue and White to an early 1-0 lead in the first frame. It marked the second career homer for UK's freshman.
Dill sent a well-hit chopper to FAU's shortstop who made a high throw at first to allow UK's speedster reach with two outs. Dill's swift base running enabled her to move to second on the high throw. During Riley's at-bat, Dill swiped third and again a poor throw allowed her to move an extra base for the score and a 2-0 Wildcat advantage.
Weaver yielded a two-out single and then walked the No. 4 batter before inducing a grounder back to Smith at second for the final out of the frame and a scoreless first inning for the Owls.
Sophomore Lauren Cumbess led off the second by reaching base on a throwing error by Florida Atlantic's shortstop. The Wildcats, however, could not generate any more offense as the Blue and White left a runner stranded for the second consecutive inning.
Following an inning-opening out, FAU notched consecutive singles into left field in the home half of the second. Weaver sat the next batter down on strikes, but the Owls responded with two outs by loading the bases with an infield single. Kentucky's lefty then suppressed the pressure and notched her second strikeout of the frame leaving the bases jammed.
Florida Atlantic plated three scores in the bottom of the third on a pair of singles and a bases-clearing double to grab a 3-2 lead. The inning appeared to have a double-play that would have helped UK escape the frame, but the runner was called safe at first despite a tremendous throw by Smith.
Sophomore Emily Jolly earned a base with two outs when she was struck by a pitch in the top of the fourth. Kentucky left her stranded, though, as the final out game on a fly-out to left field.
Cervantes blasted a ball into the right-center gap that the Owls' center fielder had in her grasp before subsequently dropping to allow UK's runner to move all the way to second. Kentucky would leave her aboard, however, with consecutive inning-ending outs.
FAU retired UK's batters in order in the visitor's side of the sixth. The Owl's saw one runner reach on a UK error, but the Blue and White escaped the inning still trailing by one run heading into its last at-bat.
The Owls notched a two-out double in a last-ditch comeback effort, but the Blue and White quickly dispersed of the threat with a game-winning fly-out to freshman Kara Howard in left field.
Kentucky resumes action tomorrow with a pair of games. Kentucky will take on LIU Brooklyn at 9 a.m. ET and then No. 11/11 Michigan at 1 p.m. ET at the FAU Kickoff Classic.
Follow along with the UK softball program all season long at UKathletics.com.
Kentucky's Schedule at the Florida Atlantic Tournament
Friday, Feb. 17
Wright State - W, 3-0
Florida Atlantic - W, 6-3
Saturday, Feb. 18
LIU Brooklyn - 9 a.m. ET
Michigan - 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, Feb. 19
Maryland - 11 a.m.