Yocke's Late-Game Heroics Lead 11th Inning Rally
March 17, 2011
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Senior Megan Yocke's knack for late-game heroics came through again as she helped lead a five-run 11th inning rally for the No. 21/24 Kentucky softball team to complete a sweep of Arkansas, 7-2, on Wednesday evening. Yocke led the charge with a solo homer to begin the 11th frame and junior Rachel Riley would provide three insurance runs with her first bomb of the season.
With the win Kentucky has now captured five late-game comebacks on the season and remains undefeated in extra-inning games. UK improves to 18-4 overall and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference action. Arkansas drops to 9-17 and 0-5 in conference play.
Yocke provided the winning RBI hit in today's contest after propelling UK to a 10-inning win over then ranked No. 7 Tennessee on Sunday. Yocke blasted a three-run homer in that contest to force extra innings with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. This marks the second win in three games for the Cats when the game has needed extra stanzas to determine.
Riley captures the win on the mound for UK to improve to 5-1 on the year. The righty went the distance tossing all 11 innings of action while striking out five in the win. She allowed just one earned run and six hits on the evening.
In addition to Yocke and Riley going yard, senior Samantha DeMartine also drilled a solo shot in the sixth inning to begin the two-run sixth to help UK overcome its one-run deficit. Sophomore Kara Dill and senior Meagan Aull each recorded a pair of hits to pace the bats.
Following Yocke's leadoff homer to begin the top half of the 11th, Dill continued the charge with an infield single bunt to put another runner aboard with no outs. Aull shifted the runner into scoring position with a grounder to second. The speedy Dill swiped third and then was able to round home for an insurance run when Arkansas' catcher put the ball in left field in an attempt to catch Dill at third.
Kentucky's rally didn't stop there, however, as junior Brittany Cervantes reached by way of a walk. Following a grounder to second, sophomore Alice O'Brien was struck with a pitch to place two runners aboard with two outs. Riley helped her own cause with her first homer of the season for a three-run shot to complete the five-run rally and the final 7-2 margin for the Wildcats.
Arkansas had a prime opportunity in the bottom of the ninth following a leadoff single. The second batter reached on an error and then the Razorbacks shifted the runners into scoring position with a sac bunt. A groundout to third put two outs on the board. The home squad then loaded the bases with a walk. Arkansas sent a grounder towards Dill, and the runner on second collided with UK's shortstop for runner's interference for the final out of the frame.
The Wildcats captured the lead at 2-1 following a pair of runs in the top half of the sixth. DeMartine opened the stanza with her third home run of the season to knot the score. Freshman Emily Jolly was able to keep the rally going when she reached base due to a throwing error by Arkansas' shortstop. Yocke advanced the runner into scoring position with a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt. Dill then singled into center to place runners on the corners. Following a pop-up to third, Kentucky plated the second run with a bit of craftiness. Dill took off for second and during the throw to try and catch her, Jolly trotted home for the successful double-steal.
The home squad fired back with a run in the bottom half of the six to tie the score at two apiece. The Razorbacks benefited from an erroneous UK throw to plate its lone run of the stanza.
O'Brien sliced a ball into center with one out in the top of the seventh, but UK could not advance the runner with consecutive fly-outs. Kentucky's defense held in the home half of the seventh to force extra innings despite yielding a two-out single.
Arkansas struck first win a run in the bottom of the first. The Razorbacks placed a leadoff runner aboard with a bunt-single. The home squad then advanced the runner with a sacrifice bunt, and the Razorbacks' benefited from a UK miscue. A hit into right field was muffed and it enabled the speedy Ashley Martindale to round all the way home for the unearned 1-0 advantage.
Kentucky returns to action for a three-game series at No. 25 LSU March 18-20. Friday night's contest is set to begin at 7 p.m. ET.
Complete coverage of the UK softball team can be found at UKathletics.com all season long.