Wildcats Fall in Extra Frames After Seventh-Inning Rally

Feb. 25, 2012

Box Score | Game one recap: Riley's Three-Run Double Ignites Rally and Lifts Cats

STATESBORO, Ga.– After overcoming 11 stranded base runners and staging a seventh-inning rally to force extra innings the Kentucky softball team suffered a 2-1 loss to Georgia Southern on a walk-off two-out RBI single in the home half of the eighth inning on Saturday evening.

UK falls to 7-6 on the season and Georgia Southern improves to 8-5 on the season with the win. Despite only yielding three hits on the day sophomore Lauren Cumbess suffers the loss. Georgia Southern plated its score in regulation on back-to-back errors by the Wildcats to earn a lead it would never relinquish.

With UK trailing 1-0, sophomore Emily Jolly led off the seventh with a single into left field. She promptly swiped second to move into scoring position. Junior Kara Dill shifted the runner to third with a grounder back to second and freshman Griffin Joiner delivered the game-tying RBI single into right-center to knot the score at 1-1.

Georgia Southern had a single and reached on a walk to place two runners on in the bottom of the seventh. Both runners eventually moved into scoring position, but Cumbess escaped the jam with a pop-up to sophomore Krystal Smith at second to force extra innings.

In the top of the eighth, Cervantes was placed on second. She’d move to third on a Cumbess groundout for the second out of the inning. Sophomore Aubrey Lamar was struck with a pitch to place runners on the corners, but again UK could not push across a score.

Georgia Southern began the home half of the eighth with a runner on second. UK notched two outs with the runner shifting to third on a grounder and it appeared Kentucky would escape the jam yet again. However, the Eagles’ No. 4 batter connected with a 3-2 offering and roped a single through the left side to allow the winning run to come home.

Joiner was the first base runner of the game after getting plucked with a pitch with one out in the top of the first. Senior Rachel Riley followed with a chopper over the third baseman’s head to get two aboard for the Wildcats. UK could not push across a run however as the inning ended with a pair of fly-outs.

Cumbess yielded a two-out walk in the home half of the first, but the right-hander quickly quelled the threat with a fly-out to junior Alice O’Brien in right field.

Kentucky’s starting pitcher began the visitor’s second at-bat with a single into left field. Lamar advanced the runner with a well-placed sacrifice bunt, but UK’s next two batters would fall leaving the runner stranded.

Dill extended her hitting streak to 10 games with a leadoff single in the top of the third. Joiner shifted the runner with a sac bunt and Riley’s deep fly-ball into center moved the runner all the way to third. Senior Brittany Cervantes walked to place runners on the corners, but a foul-out to third ended the stanza with UK stranding two more base runners.

The Eagles plated the game’s first score as two Wildcat errors kept the inning alive. The first error came on a muffed fielding play and the second on a throwing error that allowed the runner to score all the way from second for a 1-0 home team lead. UK dropped in order in the top of the fourth without getting a single base runner aboard.

Dill reached on a one-out walk and Joiner laced a single through the left-side. Riley kept the inning alive by reaching on a fielder’s choice to place runners on the corners. UK, however, would again end the inning with runners aboard without pushing across a run.

O’Brien opened open the sixth by slicing a single into right field. A failed sac bunt attempt posted the first out of the inning with a runner still aboard. UK would suffer consecutive outs to end the stanza with another runner still standing.

Cumbess gave up her first hit of the game with a soft rolling bunt back to her on the mound. The throw appeared to have beaten the runner, but the runner was ruled safe. Following a strikeout, Cumbess induced a double-play to end the stanza and keeping the Wildcats within striking distance for a rally.

Kentucky returns to action at the Rajin Cajuns’ Invitational at Louisiana-Lafayette next weekend. UK plays five games in a three-day tournament beginning with Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Follow along with the UK softball program all season long at UKathletics.com.