Wildcats Earn Two Wins in Boca Raton
Feb. 19, 2010
BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Kentucky softball team notched a pair of victories to begin the Kickoff Classic hosted by Florida Atlantic on Friday evening. UK claimed a 1-0 victory over Maryland in the opener and then a 2-1 eighth inning win over the host Florida Atlantic Owls in the nightcap.
Kentucky is now 5-2 on the season with the two victories in today's games. Kentucky returns to action for a 9 a.m. ET tilt with Pitt at the Kickoff Classic. UK will also take on Minnesota with a 1 p.m. start time slated for that contest.
Game One vs. Maryland (W, 1-0)
In the opening game of the Kickoff Classic hosted by the Florida Atlantic Owls, UK earned a 1-0 victory over Maryland. Sophomore pitcher Rachel Riley earned her second victory of the season tossing a complete game shutout and three strikeouts. It also marks the first shutout of the season and third of her career. Junior Samantha DeMartine plated the winning score with a one-out single along the right field line to bring in senior Natalie Smith who went 3-for-3 at the plate.
After five scoreless innings in a defensive battle, the Wildcats finally scratched the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth inning. Smith led off with her third single of the game with a masterfully played lead off bunt to third base. Maryland opted to walk Brittany Cervantes to place two runners on base. Meagan Aull then charted a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners into scoring position setting the stage for DeMartine. The junior smacked a single into shallow right field that laced the line allowing Smith to round home for the only run UK would need for the victory.
Riley and the Blue and White escaped a number of jams to preserve the shutout. In the fourth inning Maryland opened with a single and then moved the runner to scoring position with a groundout to the pitcher. A one-out single allowed runners to go to the corners, but catcher Megan Yocke and Johnson hooked up to steal a base stealer for the second out leaving a base runner on third. Riley forced the next batter into a groundout to Cervantes at third to end the inning and leaving a runner stranded on third.
In the fifth inning, the Terps led off with a triple along the right field line to place a runner in prime scoring position. Riley calmly sat down the next three batters in order to prevent a run from crossing home plate. She forced a pair of groundouts and charted a strikeout in the run.
With two outs on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh, Maryland put two runners aboard after a fielding error by the Blue and White and a walk. Riley quickly ended the threat forcing the next batter into a groundout to Cervantes giving the Wildcats their fourth win of the season.
Game Two at Florida Atlantic (W, 2-1 (8))
Senior Amber Matousek earned her first win of the season and matched a career-high with 10 strikeouts in the contest. Molly Johnson delivered the game-winning RBI single in the top of the eighth inning to help UK improve to 5-2 on the young season.
Beginning in the eighth inning the squads used the international tie breaker rule with a runner beginning on second base. During the first at-bat Annie Rowlands advanced Destinee Mordecai to third with a fantastic sacrifice bunt. Johnson then delivered an RBI single when she found a gap through the left side of the defense to reclaim UK's one-run advantage at 2-1.Matousek calmly preserved the win by sitting down the Owls in order in the bottom of the eighth. She forced a pair of groundouts to shortstop and then a fly out to Smith at second.
Kentucky finally broke the scoreless tie in the top of the sixth for a 1-0 advantage. Johnson reached on a two-out error by the Owls' third baseman who let a chopper slip through her legs and into the outfield. Freshman Kara Dill smacked a single into right center and Johnson's speedy feet stretched the run to third. During the play the Owls attempted to catch Johnson sliding into third and the ball sailed into UK's dugout allowing the senior to tap home giving the Wildcats a one run edge.
The Owls knotted the score in the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run over the left-center field wall to force extra innings despite Matousek matching her career record in strikeouts in the frame.
Florida Atlantic had the first opportunity to push across a run when they loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. Matousek escaped the threat with her ninth strikeout of the game to leave all three runners stranded.
Smith extended her hitting streak to four consecutive games with a single into right field in the first inning against Florida Atlantic.
Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information regarding the Kentucky softball team.