No. 7 Georgia Slips Past Wildcats in Opener
March 28, 2009
ATHENS, Ga. – The seventh ranked Georgia Bulldogs used a two-run fifth inning to slip by Kentucky 3-1 on Saturday evening. The two squads waited through a rain-soaked day to take the field under the lights for the first game of their three-game series. Georgia tallied five hits and converted on two Wildcat errors to capture the win.
Kentucky drops to 22-9 overall and 5-5 in the Southeastern Conference with the loss. Georgia improves to 22-4 and 4-2 in the SEC.
After a pair of scoreless innings to open the game, Kentucky struck first in the top half of the third inning. Junior Destinee Mordecai led off with a single that split the right side and junior Molly Johnson advanced the runner on a sacrifice bunt. Sophomore Meagan Aull then laced a double down the left field line into the back wall and Mordecai swiftly came around home to score giving UK an early 1-0 advantage.
Georgia tied it back up in the home half of the third. After freshman pitcher Chanda Bell struck out the leadoff batter, Lisaira Daniels laid down a bunt that died about six feet from home plate along the third base line. Daniels registered a hit on the bunt and then an errant Wildcat throw to first base ended up near the outfield wall allowing her to advance all the way to third. The Bulldogs' converted on the opportunity with a sacrifice fly tying the score at one a piece through three frames.
Kentucky missed on a great opportunity in the fifth when freshman Rachel Riley led off the inning with a double into left field. Riley dropped a fly ball into shallow left field and Georgia's left fielder and shortstop collided in the gap. Mordecai laid down a masterful bunt that sat in the dirt a mere two feet from home plate to advance pinch runner Allie Jest. On the first pitch of her at-bat Johnson drilled a ball right at Georgia's third baseman for a lineout holding the runner at third, and then the inning ended on a strikeout stranding the runner.
Georgia plated two runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 3-1 edge. Daniels once again reached on an infield single and then Taylor Schlopy was struck by a pitch. Both runners would come home on a double that dropped in the left-center gap off the bat of Georgia's leading RBI hitter Alisa Goler.
The Blue and White were robbed of another opportunity in the top half of the sixth. Sophomore Megan Yocke opened the inning with a zinger into left field and Daniels made a sliding catch to record the first out. Smith drew a one-out walk to place a runner on base. Freshman Brittany Cervantes smacked a well hit line drive along the right field line and Daniels' glove once again saved the day for the home team as she made a dazzling over the shoulder grab to stall UK's offense.
Bell takes the loss in the circle (15-5) after throwing six innings and fanning five batters on the night.
The two teams will meet for a doubleheader to complete the series tomorrow. First pitch of game two of the three game set is slated for noon ET. Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for all of the up-to-date information about the UK softball team.