Wildcats Down Arkansas 5-0 in Series Opener
March 20, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky's bats caught fire early and never cooled as the UK softball team claimed a 5-0 victory against Arkansas in the opening game of the series Saturday at the UK Softball Complex. Senior Destinee Mordecai and sophomore Brittany Cervantes blasted solo home runs and sophomore pitcher Rachel Riley earned the win in the circle and also added a two-run single to aid her own cause.
Kentucky improves to 18-9 and 3-3 in the Southeastern Conference with the win. Arkansas drops to 17-9 and 2-1 in league play.
Riley captured her sixth win of the season in a complete game shutout. The right-hander equaled her career-high with six strikeouts in her winning effort.
The Kentucky offense rallied early in the first game of the series with a pair of runs in the opening stanza. Johnson led off the bottom of the first by earning a base when she was plucked with the very first offering. Smith laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt and the heady base running by Johnson allowed the speedy senior to round all the way to third when Arkansas failed to cover the bag. Sophomore Megan Yocke brought in the run with a masterful display of a squeeze play and Johnson raced home for the game's first score.
Cervantes then blasted her home run over the right field wall for her third home run in the last three outings and the sixth of the season for a 2-0 UK advantage through just one frame.
Arkansas had a prime opportunity in the top half of the second, but Riley and the UK defense put the clamp on and did not surrender a run. Arkansas had two base runners reach on UK miscues. A sacrifice bunt put both runners in scoring position. During the Razorbacks' attempt at a squeeze play, Cervantes calmly tossed home to Yocke and got the out. After Riley loaded the bases when she hit a batter with a pitch, she promptly ended the scoring threat by earning her third strikeout of the game keeping Arkansas off the scoreboard.
The Wildcats added to its lead with two more runs in the home half of the third inning. Johnson singled through the left side with one out. Smith then reached base on a spectacular bunt that just died along the left field line. Yocke gave up her at-bat for the second time in the game to advance the runners, and then Riley aided her own cause with a two-RBI single into shallow right field for the 4-0 home team advantage.
Mordecai helped add to the Blue and White's lead with her second homer of the season when she smacked a solo shot over the right-field fence to make the score 5-0 in favor of the Wildcats.
The teams will squad off for the second game of the series later this afternoon. A complete recap can be found at UKathletics.com.