No. 17 Tennessee Steals Game One From Kentucky
March 23, 2010
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - After senior Molly Johnson gave Kentucky a lead with a solo home run in the top of the 10th inning, No. 17 Tennessee roared back with two runs in the home half of the inning to steal game one of the doubleheader with a 4-3 victory in Knoxville, Tenn. Johnson's solo blast gave her 31 home runs for her career tying her with Brooke Marnitz for the career school record.
Kentucky drops to 19-11 overall and 4-5 in Southeastern Conference action. Tennessee improves to 22-7 and 4-3 in league play.
Sophomore right-hander Chanda Bell went the distance throwing a career-high 9.1 innings of action. Bell struck out nine batters and yielded just two earned runs on the afternoon. Bell drops to 11-6 as a starter on the season.
In the visitor's side of the 10th inning, Johnson broke the tie for the first time in four innings with her eighth home run of the season when it sailed just over the right-field wall. It appeared the Wildcats were well on their way to victory when the senior broke open the tie, but a pair of UK errors allowed the Volunteers to charge back and steal the game.
Tennessee earned a leadoff walk and then loaded the bases on back-to-back errors by Wildcat fielders in the bottom of the stanza. The Lady Vols brought in a run with their second sacrifice fly of the game to tie the score at 3-3. On the very next at-bat, Kat Dodson plated the walk-off single when she split the right side of the infield for a 4-3 victory.
Johnson opened the game with a leadoff walk. Natalie Smith singled to the shortstop with a chopper she was able to beat out to place two aboard. Megan Yocke then sent a ball toward the left-side gap, but Tennessee's shortstop was able to corral the ball and get Smith out at second enabling Yocke to reach on a fielder's choice placing runners on the corners. Brittany Cervantes brought in the game's first run with a grounder to short, and Johnson's heady base running allowed the Blue and White to strike first for a 1-0 advantage.
In the visitor's side of the second, Destinee Mordecai split the left side for an opening single. After a foul-out, Annie Rowlands laid down a spectacular bunt and both runners remained safe on the play when Mordecai beat the throw at second. Smith's single up the middle allowed Mordecai to round home to increase Kentucky's lead to 2-0.
Tennessee had a pair of base runners reach in the bottom of the second, but Bell and the UK defense quickly dispersed of the threat not allowing a runner to move past second base to preserve the 2-0 UK lead.
The Lady Vols loaded the bases in the bottom of the third, but Bell once again ended the threat by getting the third out to strikeout leaving all three runners on base without crossing home plate.
Meagan Aull led off the top of the fourth with a single into centerfield. The speedy outfielder swiped her seventh base of the season, but UK would leave her standing on second as the Wildcats were retired in order following her inning opening base hit.Tennessee put two on base in the bottom of the fourth for the third consecutive game, but the Wildcats and Bell once again preserved the lead by getting the final out to foul out to Rowlands in left field.
With two outs in the fifth, Yocke doubled into left-center to place a runner into scoring position. Kentucky would leave the runner aboard with a lineout to second base to end the inning.
The Lady Vols plated a run in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 2-1 still in favor of the visitors. Tennessee was able to score its run after loading the bases and brining in the score on a sacrifice fly to center field.
Tennessee knotted the score at two apiece in the bottom of the sixth. The Lady Vols registered a one-out triple into right-center. After a strikeout, the home squad plated the run on a close play. Tennessee hit a slow chopper to Cervantes at third who appeared to make the throw to first to get the out, but the runner was called safe in a very close play at the bag allowing the runner at third to tap home and make the score 2-2.
Neither team had a runner reach a base in the seventh inning, forcing extra frames to determine a winner.
Tennessee registered a two-out double in the bottom of the eighth, but Kentucky's defense forced a groundout to end the inning forcing a ninth inning of play.
Aull gave UK a chance in the top of the ninth. The centerfielder sent a line drive into right-center to double and place a runner in scoring position to open the stanza. Mordecai moved the runner to third with a sacrifice bunt, but the next two batters sat down on a strikeout and a pop-up without Kentucky touching home plate.
The Lady Vols began the bottom of the ninth by getting a runner on base from an error by the Wildcats. She was able to get to second when the ball sailed into the dugout. The next batter popped up to Smith at second base. The third batter grounded out to shortstop. However, Tennessee would then load the bases with a walk and a hit by pitch. However, Bell ended the threat with ninth strikeout of the game to preserve the tie and force a 10th frame.
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