Johnson's Grand Slam Propels UK to Series Win
April 5, 2009
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Junior Molly Johnson's grand slam in the bottom of the fourth inning ignited the Kentucky softball team to a seven-run inning propelling them to a series win over Ole Miss for the third consecutive season, winning today 7-5.
Kentucky (24-13, 7-8) got a spark out of the junior shortstop with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the fourth after scoreless innings by both teams through the first three and a half frames.
"I'm always confident in Molly when she comes to bat," said head coach Rachel Lawson. "It was a big hit when we needed it most."
The Wildcats take the series from the Rebels for the third consecutive season to ring up their SEC win total to seven games. Sophomore Megan Yocke had a tremendous weekend with an astounding .833 batting average, four RBI and two doubles. Her two doubles in yesterday's second game saved the series for the Wildcats setting the stage for today's showdown.
"Ole Miss is a good team," said Lawson. "Anytime we match-up with a team we have a chance to win, and in order for us to achieve our goal of post-season play we need to win a series like this."
The fourth inning included two errors by the Rebels and Ole Miss' pitcher Becky Nye struck three UK batters in the stanza.
Sophomore Samantha DeMartine was the first batter to get plucked to put the lead-off batter on base. Sophomore Annie Rowlands then attempted to lay down a bunt in which Nye chose to try and get the pinch-runner Macy Allen at second, but the speedy Allen was safe on the play. Junior Destinee Mordecai also attempted a sacrifice bunt, but a throwing error by Ashley Dowdy loaded the bases for the Blue and White setting the stage for Johnson's bat and the first four runs of the inning.
The Wildcats weren't done yet though. After clearing the bases, Nye smacked sophomore Meagan Aull and Yocke in back-to-back at-bats for two more base runners. Freshman Brittany Cervantes converted a sacrifice bunt to move the runners into scoring position. Junior Natalie Smith drew a walk to once again load the bases. Freshman Rachel Riley pulled a hit to the third baseman and Dowdy attempted to avoid nicking Aull on her way home, but ended up throwing it into the backstop allowing both Aull and Yocke to score. With runners on the corners, DeMartine delivered an RBI single into left field for the final run of the inning and a 7-0 Wildcat advantage.
Ole Miss plated a run in the top of the fifth off a solo home run from Lauren Grill and then added four runs in the seventh in a last-ditch comeback effort for the final 7-5 margin.
Junior Amber Matousek takes the win for the Wildcats in the circle improving to 8-3 on the season with her complete game effort.
UK's defense got the game off to a good start when Cervantes turned a magnificent double play. Grill lined out to Cervantes at third and the heady defender quickly tossed it to DeMartine at first to get the runner out for the inning-ending trick.
Both teams put runners on base in the opening two innings, but Ole Miss' best chance came in the top of the third. However, once again UK's defense prevented a run from crossing the plate when Johnson hauled in a pop-fly for the final out leaving the Rebels with three runners stranded.
Kentucky had a great chance to scratch the board in the bottom half of the inning when they loaded the bases with just a single out. Johnson reached base on a throwing error by the third baseman and then Yocke found a hole in shallow right field for a one-out single. Cervantes drew a walk to load the bases and Smith then hit a chopper to the second baseman and Ole Miss made the play at home to keep UK from scoring. The inning ended on a strikeout with the Blue and White leaving three runners on base.
Kentucky returns to action again on Wednesday as it remains in SEC play. UK will welcome top-15 ranked Tennessee to the UK Softball Complex for a doubleheader that begins at 3 p.m. ET.
Fans can find live stats and complete coverage of the series with the Lady Vols on UKathletics.com.