Late Rally Lifts Kentucky to Win Over Ole Miss
April 4, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Sophomore Megan Yocke hit a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift Kentucky to a 6-5 come-from-behind win over visiting Ole Miss in the second game of a doubleheader split Saturday afternoon at the UK Softball Complex. The Rebels took the opening game of the series 4-1 behind a four-run fifth inning.
The series deciding game between the Wildcats (23-14, 6-8) and Ole Miss (17-19, 5-13) will take place Sunday with a 1 p.m. ET start time.
After Kentucky loaded the bases trailing by one in the extra frame, Yocke delivered a double into the right-center gap to bring home sophomores Annie Rowlands and Meagan Aull forcing the rubber match between the two schools on Sunday.
"It was nice to see us play the way we've been playing all season long and it ended up paying off for us," said Kentucky coach Rachel Lawson. "Megan Yocke was amazing today and really showed why she is one of the best catchers in the Southeastern Conference."
Yocke's heroics were the second for the Blue and White this season, as she had a walk-off three-run home run to lift UK to a win over Auburn earlier in SEC play.
UK trailed by two runs heading into the bottom of the seventh inning and Yocke's bat propelled the Wildcats to extra-innings after trailing the visitors all game long. Junior Molly Johnson led off the seventh with a single into left field. Aull doubled into right-field to put both runners in scoring position for Yocke's first huge at-bat. The catcher sliced a double five feet from the top of the right-field fence to bring in both runners and knot the score at four a piece pushing the game into extra frames.
Rowlands got things going for UK in the eighth when she singled through the left side. She would advance all the way to third on Aull's two-out single up the middle. Freshman Brittany Cervantes walked to load the bases, forcing Ole Miss to pitch to Yocke once again. She did not disappoint as she lifted a crowd of 418 fans to their feet with a double that nicked the right-fielder's glove before dropping for the game-winning two RBI double.
Ole Miss struck first with a score in the top of the second for the early 1-0 advantage.
Kentucky had a pair of base runners in the bottom of the frame but the inning ended on back-to-back groundouts without UK pushing any runs across the plate. Yocke drew a lead-off walk and then junior Natalie Smith reached on an error by the first baseman during her sacrifice bunt. The runners would advance a base when freshman Rachel Riley gave up her at-bat with a sacrifice bunt.
The Rebels added two runs in the top of the third to increase their lead to 3-0 behind three hits.
UK struck back with two runs of its own in the bottom of the third to narrow the margin at 3-2. Johnson drilled a ball right up the middle to place a runner on base. With two outs, Cervantes got struck by a pitch to put another runner on base and then Yocke loaded the bases when she drew a walk. Smith delivered a two-run single that found a spot in the gap in right-center to score both of Kentucky's runs.
Sophomore Samantha DeMartine led off with a single up the gut in the bottom of the fourth, but UK once again left a runner on base despite pushing her into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Rowlands.
The visitors added a run to their lead making the score 4-2 in the top half of the fifth. The Rebels scored after a pair of Kentucky miscues kept the inning alive.
In the opening game of the series both teams loaded the bases in the first inning, but were unable to convert on the opportunities. Kentucky put a pair of runners on thanks to two walks and a base hit by Aull.
The Wildcats put another runner on base in the bottom half of the second when junior Destinee Mordecai earned a base on a catcher's interference. After she stole second to move into scoring position, the inning ended stranding another runner when UK flied out to center field.
Kentucky failed to convert another golden chance in the third when Aull led off with a one-out double into center. Cervantes was clipped by a pitch to put two runners on, and they would both advance on a Yocke sacrifice bunt. DeMartine sent a chopper into the gap, but Ole Miss' shortstop was able to scoop up the grounder and make the play at first to halt the UK scoring threat.
After keeping the Rebels out of the base paths for the three innings, the visitors scored four runs in the top half of the fifth to take a 4-0 lead. Ole Miss tallied three consecutive singles and then had a three-run home run for its tallies. All of the hits and runs were scored with two outs.
The Blue and White struck for a run in the bottom of the sixth. Cervantes led off with a walk and then Yocke sliced one into left center to put runners on first and second. With two outs, Riley drove in UK's lone run when she singled into left-center making the final 4-1 margin.
Fans can find live stats and complete coverage of the series with the Rebels on UKathletics.com.