UK Off to Best Start in School History with Win

March 7, 2010

Box Score

MARIETTA, Ga. - Behind a stifling defensive effort and hot hitting, the 23rd-ranked Kentucky softball team posted its 14th win of the early going and marked the best start in school history with a 7-0 win over Liberty on Sunday. Kentucky's 14 wins through 19 games is the most in school history, besting the 13 wins to begin the year in 2007.

Kentucky (14-5) charted nine hits in the game, including home runs by senior Molly Johnson and junior Samantha DeMartine. Senior Natalie Smith was a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish including a two-run triple.

Sophomore ace Chanda Bell improved her record to 8-2 on the year with her complete game shutout. The right-hander tossed 10 strikeouts in the game, and has now posted over 100 for the season.

The Wildcats opened the scoring in the home half of the first inning after retiring the side to begin the game. Johnson led off the inning with a solo home run with a line drive shot over the left field fence for the first run of the game. Junior Megan Yocke earned a walk and then Smith earned a base with a bunt. Junior Meagan Aull shifted the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, and sophomore Brittany Cervantes brought in Yocke with a grounder to the shortstop for a 2-0 UK advantage.

UK tacked on three more runs in the second inning. DeMartine blasted a solo home run over the center field fence to lead off the inning for the first round tripper of the season for the first baseman. Junior Annie Rowlands then had a single through the left side, and Johnson reached base when the centerfield muffed a catch. Smith's triple brought in both runs to make the score 5-0 in favor of the Blue and White.

The Blue and White added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 7-0. Smith charted her third hit of the game with a single through the right side gap. She advanced to second when freshman Jessica Adkins grounded out to first base. Smith then shifted to third on a wild pitch. Freshman Alice O'Brien was plucked with a pitch and then promptly stole second to shift both runners into scoring position. A muffed fielding error by the shortstop during DeMartine's at-bat allowed both runners to tap home for the pair of runs in the inning.

Kentucky will return to action with its home opener on Wed., March 10 at the UK Softball Complex. The Wildcats will play host to their instate rival in 14th-ranked Louisville at 5 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon.

Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information regarding the Kentucky softball team.