Wildcats' Comeback Effort Falls Short
March 13, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. - After trailing 3-0 through five innings of play, Kentucky's comeback effort fell just short as the Wildcats dropped a 3-2 contest to Auburn Saturday night on a brisk evening at Jane B Moore Field. Kentucky plated a pair of runs in the top half of the sixth, but could not close the gap to drop its first conference game of the season.
The Blue and White fall to 14-7 on the season and 0-1 in the Southeastern Conference. Sophomore Chanda Bell takes the loss on the mound despite striking out 11 Auburn batters.
Kentucky finally got on the scoreboard in the top half of the sixth with a pair of runs to make the score 3-2 in favor of the home team. With one out, Annie Rowlands earned a bag when she was plucked with a pitch. She moved to second on a wild pitch and Molly Johnson brought her in with her 48th career double that struck the right field wall. Johnson advanced to third on another wild pitch and then Megan Yocke earned a walk to place runners on the corners. Natalie Smith put a ball in play and the shortstop muffed the catch allowing Johnson to tap home to bring the Cats to within one.
In a last ditch comeback effort in the top half of the seventh, UK suffered a foul out to start the frame. Freshman Kara Dill's well-hit fly ball into center field was corralled by Auburn's centerfielder for the second out of the inning. The final out came on a strikeout as UK could not generate any offense in the final frame to catch the Tigers.
Both teams retired the side in the opening frame. Bell claimed three strikeouts to make quick work of the Tigers' top of the order.
The Wildcats could not get any offense going in the top of the second as the Blue and White suffered a pair of groundouts and a strikeout. Bell continued to dominate the Auburn lineup with two more strikeouts while forcing the third out into a groundout to Smith at second base in the bottom half of the inning.
Auburn opened the scoring in the bottom of the third with a solo home run to make the score 1-0. The Tigers then earned a pair of infield singles and a walk to load the bases, but Bell quickly ended the threat with two more strikeouts in the inning with Auburn holding a mere one run advantage.
Yocke earned the Wildcats' first hit of the game with a one-out double that smacked off of the left-center field wall. She moved to third on a wild pitch with two outs, and the Blue and White would leave her standing on third to end the inning. Bell charted two more strikeouts in the bottom of the stanza to run her total to 10 strikeouts through four innings of action. UK's third out came when the opening batter earned a single through the left side and Yocke and Johnson hooked up to get the runner stealing at second.
Sophomore Rachel Riley led off the top of the fifth with a single into right field when the center fielder and right fielder did not communicate and lost the ball in the lights allowing the ball to fall between them. On a sacrifice bunt attempt, UK was called out at second. After a strikeout, Meagan Aull was caught stealing for the final out of the inning.
Auburn added to its lead with a two-run home run in the home half of the fifth to make the score 3-0.
Kentucky and Auburn will complete their three game series tomorrow with a doubleheader. First pitch for the first outing is set for 1 p.m. ET, with the second game to follow 30 minutes following the conclusion of the first game.
Live stats and complete coverage of the UK softball team in Auburn can be found at UKathletics.com.