Yocke's Grand Slam Ignites Offensive Explosion
Feb. 18, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Senior Megan Yocke blasted the third grand slam of her career and matched a career-high with five RBI to lead the No. 24 Kentucky softball team to a commanding 13-0 victory over Middle Tennessee State to conclude Friday's action at the Florida State tournament. Yocke was a combined 3-for-4 on the day with a home run, a double and an RBI single to pace the UK offense that erupted for 13 hits on the afternoon.
Freshman pitcher Lauren Cumbess made her first career start and limited the Blue Raiders to a mere two-hit performance in a complete-game shutout. Cumbess struck out seven and did not allow any walks in her first career victory.
Kentucky improves to 6-1 overall on the season while Middle Tennessee State drops to 1-2. Four of UK's six victories this season have been in the form of a shutout. With Cumbess' win in the circle this afternoon all four of UK's pitchers have earned at least one victory on the year.
Junior Brittany Cervantes went 2-for-3 on the day with a double and three runs scored. Senior Samantha DeMartine posted her third multi-hit game of the season with a pair of hits and two runs scored. Sophomore Alice O'Brien was the other UK player to record two hits on the afternoon with a 2-for-3 day and two RBI.
Yocke's grand slam capped a six-run third inning for the Blue and White. Cervantes led off the inning by taking four balls to earn a base. DeMartine placed runners on the corners with a single up the middle. Junior Rachel Riley executed a perfect suicide-squeeze and reached base with the masterful bunt. DeMartine's heady base running enabled the senior to shift all the way to third on the play.
Following a strikeout, freshman Aubrey Lamar drilled a deep fly ball to center field to plate DeMartine for her first career sac fly. Sophomore Kara Dill reached base with a walk to load the bags setting the stage for Yocke. The senior drilled a ball over the center field fence to plate four runs and lift UK to a 7-0 advantage.
UK added six additional runs in the top of the seventh. Cumbess led off with a single through the left side. Following a fly-out to left field, sophomore Kara Dill singled with a well-placed bunt to push Cumbess all the way to third following an erroneous throw. Yocke drove in her fifth run of the game with a single into right field, and Dill would round home on a fielder's choice by senior Meagan Aull. Yocke was forced out on the play at second, but slick base running by Aull enabled the quick runner to swipe second. Cervantes would plate Aull from second with a single into right field.
Cervantes then took a turn to steal a bag to move into scoring position. DeMartine then found a hole in right field and Cervantes tapped home with an error by the right fielder. Senior Annie Rowlands kept the rally going with a double along the left field line to bring in DeMartine, and then Rowlands shifted to third with an erroneous throw by the left fielder home. O'Brien's single into left-center brought in the final run for the concluding 13-0 margin.
The Wildcats tacked a run on the scoreboard in the top of the first to take the early 1-0 lead. Yocke led off the game with a double into center. Following a pop-up to second for the game's first out, Cervantes and DeMartine loaded the bases with consecutive walks. A groundout to third allowed Middle Tennessee to get the force out at home, but Cervantes would tap home on the next at-bat when O'Brien delivered an RBI single along the right field line giving UK the 1-0 edge.
Making her first career start in the circle, Cumbess began her career with three consecutive strikeouts to open the game. She sat the first two batters down swinging, and the final out came on a strikeout looking.
After pitching two flawless innings, Cumbess yielded an opening single to begin the home half of the third. However, UK's defense would dazzle the crowd with back-to-back tremendous plays. Cumbess forced the second batter to send a chopper back to her, and she swiftly turned and got the runner at second. The right-hander then forced an infield pop-up to Dill at shortstop who sent a sizzling toss back to DeMartine at first to finish the double play.
Kentucky will return to action with a 12:30 p.m. ET tilt against the host Florida State Seminoles Saturday, before seeding takes place to determine the final four games of the tournament over the course of the weekend.
Complete coverage of the Wildcat softball team all season long can be found at UKathletics.com.
UK's complete schedule at Florida State
Sat., Feb. 18 vs. Florida State, 12:30 p.m. ET
Sat., Feb. 18 vs. TBA, 3 p.m./5:30 p.m. ET
Sun., Feb. 19 vs. TBA, 10 a.m./12:30 p.m. ET