Offense Ignites in Dominating 8-1 Win Over Jacks
March 2, 2012
LAFAYETTE, La. - The Kentucky softball team's offense ignited for a pair of multiple-run innings to help propel the team to an 8-1 victory over Stephen F. Austin in its second game at the Ragin' Cajun Invitational on Friday evening. Junior Kara Dill nearly hit for the cycle with a perfect 3-for-3 outing while extending her hitting streak to 12 games.
Senior Brittany Cervantes exploded for a 3-for-4 day and drove in four runs. Sophomore Emily Jolly also had a pair of hits and scored three runs for the Blue and White. Freshman Griffin Joiner registered for a 2-for-3 day at the plate with a pair of RBI. She now has brought in at least one score in four consecutive games.
With the win Kentucky pushes its record to 8-7 on the season with the Jacks dropping to 6-12. Sophomore pitcher Lauren Cumbess earns the victory in the circle and senior Chanda Bell picks up the save.
Stephen F. Austin struck first with a score in the top half of the third. The Jacks got the lead runner aboard with a hit by pitch and the runner would round home following back-to-back hits through the left side for the 1-0 advantage.
UK answered with a run of its own in the home half of the frame. Jolly put together a tremendous at-bat that resulted in a single through the left-center gap. Dill then smacked an RBI triple that dipped over the right fielder's head to knot the score at one apiece. UK's junior has now posted multiple-hit games in seven of her last nine outings.
Kentucky notched three runs in the home half of the fifth all coming with two outs on the scoreboard. Jolly ignited the rally with a single into right field. Dill then registered her third hit of the game with a bunt-single. Cervantes delivered an RBI single through the left side. Both Dill and Cervantes would come home on a Joiner double into center field for the 4-1 edge.
UK again rallied for runs with two outs with four in the home half of the sixth. Senior Erika Silence began the charge by earning a walk. Sophomore Emily Gaines was the next Cat to reach base thanks to a dropped fly ball in right field. Jolly then was struck with a pitch to load the bases. Dill also got dinked to bring in the frame's first score. Cervantes then drilled a double into left-center to clear the bases and make the final 8-1 margin.
The Jacks logged a single and earned a base on a walk, but Cumbess escaped the jam without any further damage in the top of the first.
Dill's hitting streak continued with a first-inning double to run her total to 12 consecutive games. The junior was called out at third attempting to stretch the hit into a triple with the ball going into left-center. Cervantes then laced a single along the left field line and promptly stole second to shift into scoring position. The inning ended with her still standing at second, though, as UK suffered consecutive pop-ups.
Cumbess retired the side in the top of the second. The right-hander picked up a pair of strikeouts and a pop-up back to her on the mound. The Jacks, however, returned the favor to the Blue and White with a quick 1-2-3 inning.
Two terrific defensive gems by Dill helped the Wildcats retire the side in order during the visitor's side of the fourth. The Jacks turned a couple of nice defensive plays of their own to keep the Wildcats off the base paths in the home half of the inning.
Bell entered in the top half of the sixth and quickly dispersed of the Jacks in order. She logged one strikeout and received perhaps the best catch of the early season for the Wildcats. A diving Ginny Carroll in foul territory came up with the inning-ending snag.
The Jacks logged a two-out single through the right side in a last-ditch comeback effort in the seventh, but Bell wasted little time in ending the threat with a game-ending strikeout.
UK and Stephen F. Austin will meet on the diamond again tomorrow at Noon ET. UK will also face the home Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Follow along with the UK softball program all season long at UKathletics.com.