Kentucky Falls to No. 14 Louisville

April 1, 2009

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Kentucky softball team dropped a 5-1 contest to No. 14 ranked Louisville Wednesday night at the UK Softball Complex in front of a school-record crowd of 827 rowdy fans.

Kentucky was led at the plate by junior Natalie Smith who tallied two hits including a double for the Wildcats.

The Blue and White falls to 22-12 on the season while Louisville improves to 30-5 on the year.

After both starting pitchers retired the side to open the first inning, Louisville plated a pair of runs behind a home run off the bat of Christina Roesel to take the early 2-0 advantage in the top half of the second.

Kentucky left a runner on base in the bottom of the stanza. Sophomore Megan Yocke sliced a ball along the right field line to get on base. Freshman Brittany Cervantes laid down a masterful bunt to advance the runner and then Yocke moved to third on sophomore Samantha DeMartine's groundout. However, the inning ended on a strikeout with Yocke still on third base.

Freshman pitcher Chanda Bell and the Kentucky defense got out of a bind in the top of the third inning when Louisville loaded the bases with two outs. Sophomore Annie Rowlands made a spectacular over the shoulder catch at the wall to end the inning unscathed.

The Wildcats scratched the scoreboard in the bottom of the third when junior Molly Johnson reached first on a fielder's choice. Smith singled into centerfield and Louisville's Kristi Cunningham mishandled the ball when she went to field it as the ball slipped all the way to the back wall allowing Johnson to round home for the tally making the score 2-1.

Louisville added a run with a round tripper from its leadoff batter to make the score 3-1 in the fifth. The Cardinals then placed two more runners on base with two outs. Cunningham sent a line drive into left field and Rowlands once again came up with a huge catch with a dazzling diving snag to end the inning and prevent any more damage.

After making the leaping grab in left field, Rowlands led off the bottom of the frame with a double along the left field line to put a runner on base. However, UK was once again unable to string together an offensive run as the inning ended when Johnson sent a sizzling line drive right to the center fielder.

The visitors plated a pair of runs in the top of the sixth to increase their lead to 5-1.

Kentucky had another opportunity in the bottom half of the sixth when Smith led off with a double that laced the back wall. With two outs and a base runner in scoring position, Cervantes drilled a single into centerfield. After the strong hit Head Coach Rachel Lawson waved Smith home, but Cunningham made a stunning throw from centerfield to the plate to catch Smith before she could slide safely home.

The Wildcats will return home this weekend for a three-game set against SEC foe Ole Miss. The squads will have a doubleheader on Saturday and then finish the series with one game on Sunday. First pitch both days is slated for a 1 p.m. ET start.

Fans can find live stats and complete coverage of the series with the Rebels on UKathletics.com.