Offense Dominates No. 5 Florida in 10-2 Win
April 1, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Seniors Meagan Aull and Samantha DeMartine blasted three-run homers and junior pitcher Chanda Bell quieted a hot-hitting No. 5 Florida squad in leading No. 23/24 Kentucky to a 10-2 (6) run-rule upset of the visiting Gators. Kentucky's bats were alive with 10 runs on 11 hits and nine different players recorded a hit in the dominating upset.
With the win, Kentucky improves to 23-7 overall on the season and 9-3 in Southeastern Conference action. Florida falls to 30-5 and 7-4 in SEC play. The Wildcats have now strung together four consecutive SEC victories, while the Gators have dropped its last four in league play.
The run-rule victory by the Wildcats marked the first time Florida had suffered a defeat of that magnitude in the regular season since March 3, 2007 when UCLA won by a 10-2 score in six innings.
Bell was exceptional on the mound for the Blue and White. The Indianapolis native struck out 11 batters and limited Florida to just two runs on a pair, of what would become meaningless, solo homers in the fifth inning. The Gators registered just five hits despite entering the game batting .354 as a unit.
On the flip side, Kentucky's offense was spectacular with nine of 10 players notching at least one hit off of Hannah Rogers who had dropped just two outings coming into the game. DeMartine was 2-for-4 with a team-best four RBI including the game-changing three-run homer in the bottom of the third. Aull was 1-for-2 with the three-run shot and a pair of walks. Sophomore Kara Dill earned a 2-for-3 day at the dish and scored the walk-off winning run in the bottom of the sixth.
"It really was a great win for us and Chanda pitched awesome," UK coach Rachel Lawson said. "Florida's offense is one of the best in the country, if not the best, so for her to be able to keep them off balance was very special. Our offense was tremendous today. Just about every player got a hit and it was great to see Sam (DeMartine) break it open with the homer and then Meagan (Aull) to follow really got us going."
The Wildcats struck for a run in the home half of the first to take the early 1-0 lead. Aull opened the stanza with a walk and senior Megan Yocke shifted the runner into scoring position with a well-place sacrifice bunt. With one out, junior Brittany Cervantes sliced a double into center field to plate the game's first tally.
UK increased its advantage to 4-0 with three runs in the third. Aull once again opened things up by earning just her second career multiple-walk game. Yocke was then plucked with a pitch and Dill moved the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice hit. Following a strikeout, DeMartine broke open the game with her fifth long ball of the season with a no-doubter to center.
Kentucky upped its advantage to 7-0 with another three-run stanza in the fourth. Freshman Emily Jolly doubled off of the left-field fence to open the frame. Freshman Aubrey Lamar kept things going with a masterful bunt along the first base line and was able to reach base when Florida thought the ball would roll foul. With runners on the corners and one out, Aull smashed a ball to left-center for her second homer of the season to give UK a comfortable lead it would never relinquish.
Senior Annie Rowlands began the final three-run rally in the home half of the sixth. Yocke jacked a one-out double off the left-center wall that missed being a home run by a mere foot. Dill sliced a ball through the right side to plate the first two runs of the stanza and shifted to scoring position during the relay home to attempt to get Yocke. Dill moved to third on a wild pitch by Rogers and would tap the plate when DeMartine sent a chopper to second to finish the game.
Florida plated its two scores behind homers from Kelsey Bruder and Brittany Schutte in the fifth. The Gators had several other chances and left seven runners aboard, but a lot of that was a testament to the quality pitching effort from Bell.
The Gators opened the game by putting the first two runners aboard in the top of the first, but Bell settled in and struck out the side to quell the threat.
In the second, Florida opened in the same fashion by placing the lead batter on base. Following a sacrifice to move the runner to scoring position, Bell earned her fourth strikeout of the game for the second out of the stanza. She walked the next batter, but wasted no time in getting out of the jam by getting leadoff batter Michelle Moultrie to sit down on strikes.
Florida had another terrific opportunity in the third when both lead batters reached base. Bell once again settled in and forced a fly-out to Rowlands in left for the first out of the frame. She then took the defensive effort onto her own shoulders and picked up strikeout Nos. 6 and 7.
The teams will resume action Saturday with a 1:06 p,m. ET first pitch. The game will be televised by Sun Sports. UK is looking to capture the series from the Gators for the first time since 2000.
Complete coverage of the UK softball team can be found at UKathletics.com all season long.