Wildcats Down Nicholls State 9-1 as UK Tallies 10 HIts
March 4, 2012
LAFAYETTE, La.– Eight different Kentucky batters registered at least one hit as the Blue and White rolled to a 9-1 victory in five innings of play over Nicholls State in the final game of the Ragin’ Cajun Invitational. Junior Kara Dill extended her career-long hitting streak to 15 games and scored a pair of runs, while senior Brittany Cervantes tallied two runs and drove in the game-winning scores in the fifth frame.
With the win, Kentucky improves to 10-8 on the season with senior Chanda Bell earning her second win of the weekend to move to 5-1 on the season. Nicholls State drops to 4-15 on the year.
Nicholls State wasted little time in jumping out in front of the Wildcats for their only score of the game. The Colonels got the leadoff runner aboard thanks to a walk. She’d shift to second on a stolen base and move on to third with a grounder back to Bell. A single into the left-center gap plated the run to give the designated visitor’s a 1-0 edge.
Kentucky responded to the deficit immediately with two runs of its own in the home half of the first. Dill opened the frame with a single through the right side. It marked a hit in 15 straight games for the junior which eclipses her previous career-high of 14 games she set last season. Cervantes reached on a sac bunt thanks to an error by the Colonels. A terrific diving snag and pitch to first earned the first out of the inning, but the runners shifted into scoring position.
Senior Rachel Riley loaded the bases when she was hit by a pitch. Following the second out of the inning, sophomore Lauren Cumbess put together a terrific at-bat which resulted in her driving a full-count pitch into left field to score the frame’s first run. Sophomore Ginny Carroll then brought in the second run with a chopper to short and was able to beat out the play at first for the 2-0 edge.
UK missed out on a chance in the second when sophomore Krystal Smith opened the frame with a double along the left field line. Kentucky would end up stranding two runners on base without pushing across a run in its only inning without a score.
The Colonels picked up a two-out blooper single up the middle in the third, but would do nothing with the momentum as Cervantes corralled the final out with ease.
With two outs in the third, Cumbess roped a double into left-center. Sophomore Emily Gaines responded with an RBI double of her own lacing the right field line to bring in Cumbess and lift UK to a 3-1 advantage.
Following a leadoff single in the top half of the fourth, Bell quickly dispersed of the Colonels behind a groundout and consecutive strikeouts.
Kentucky struck for four runs in the home half of the fourth to extend its lead to 6-1. Sophomore Emily Jolly opened the stanza with a single into center field. Cervantes drew a one-out walk to place two aboard. Freshman Griffin Joiner was then struck with a pitch to load the bases. Riley roped a single over the third baseman’s head to plate Jolly and Cervantes for the frame’s first two scores. Junior Alice O’Brien then launched a sacrifice fly for the frame’s final tally and the five-run advantage.
Kentucky’s final three runs of the game came in the home half of the fifth. Gaines posted her second hit of the inning and Smith earned a walk to place the first two runners on the base paths. Following a groundout that shifted the runners into scoring position, UK’s aggressive base running helped the Wildcats plate the first run. Dill sent a chopper to second base and the Colonel fielder mishandled the ball trying to get Gaines going home. Dill reached during the play and promptly moved to second on a stolen base. Cervantes then delivered the game-ending two-run single through the right side to make the final 9-1 margin.
After an 18-game start to the season on the road the Wildcats will open its 2012 season at the UK Softball Complex with a three-game set against No. 2/1 Alabama beginning Friday, March 9 at 6 p.m. ET.
Follow along with the UK softball program all season long at UKathletics.com.