Cervantes' Blast Highlights Four-Run Sixth in Win
March 16, 2011
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Junior Brittany Cervantes' two-run homer in the top of the sixth highlighted a four-run stanza by the No. 21/24 Kentucky softball team in a 4-0 victory at Arkansas Wednesday evening. With the win head coach Rachel Lawson has now earned her 100th career victory in the middle of her fourth season. She has achieved 100 career wins at the helm of the Blue and White faster than any other coach in history.
With the win, Kentucky improves to 17-4 overall and 3-1 in Southeastern Conference action. Arkansas falls to 9-16 on the year and 0-4 in league play.
Junior right-hander Chanda Bell earns the complete-game win in the circle for her seventh victory of the year. Bell struck out 14 to mark the 28th game in her career with 10 or more strikeouts and the second consecutive after fanning 10 in a win over Tennessee on Sunday. The shutout is the fifth of the season for the Indianapolis native.
Cervantes led the bats with her team-best sixth multiple-RBI outing. Senior Meagan Aull was 2-for-4 on the afternoon with the game-winning RBI double to begin the sixth inning rally.
After being held scoreless for the first five innings of the game, the UK offense plated four runs in the top of the sixth to score the only runs needed in the victory. Sophomore Kara Dill began the frame with a single up the middle and Aull quickly plated the first score of the game with a double laced into left-center.
Cervantes then drilled her seventh long ball of the season over the left-center wall. The inning continued when sophomore Alice O'Brien reached on a throwing error by the third baseman. A single through the right side by senior Samantha DeMartine brought in the final run of the frame for the Wildcats.
Senior Megan Yocke began the game by drawing her 21st walk of the season to place a runner aboard immediately for UK. Dill advanced the runner with a well-placed sacrifice bunt, and then Aull soared a deep fly ball to center field to shift Yocke all the way to third. The inning came to a close with a grounder to second to prevent UK from striking first.
Arkansas repeated UK's start by getting the lead batter on with a walk. However, Bell and the UK defense dropped the Razorbacks in order following the opening base on balls.
Bell escaped a jam in the home half of the second. After forcing a leadoff pop-out to freshman Emily Jolly at second, Arkansas had consecutive batters reach base. An uncharacteristic illegal pitch was called to shift both runners into scoring position with just one out. Bell quelled the Razorbacks' opportunity with consecutive strikeouts to end the threat.
Yocke reached for the second time by way of a walk with one out in the top of the third. Dill once again advanced the runner into scoring position, but that would be all the further she would get with a lineout back to the shortstop ending the inning.
Arkansas recorded the first hit of the game with one out in the bottom of the third. The home squad followed that with a walk to place two runners on base. Bell once again, however, stepped up to the challenge and struck out the next two batters to once again prevent Arkansas from scoring.
Cervantes opened the top of the fourth with a single through the left side and freshman Lauren Cumbess shifted her into scoring position with a sac bunt. Consecutive pop-ups to the pitcher ended the inning for UK.
Arkansas charted a walk and a single into shallow left with one out in the home half of the sixth, but Bell once again was terrific. The right-hander finished the inning with a pair of strikeouts to strand two more Razorback batters.
The Wildcats and Razorbacks will complete their series with the second game of a doubleheader set to begin at approximately 7:40 p.m. ET.
Complete coverage of the UK softball team can be found at UKathletics.com all season long.