Riley Leads Wildcats to Series-Evening Victory
April 7, 2012
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Led by the bat and tremendous pitching from senior Rachel Rileythe Kentucky softball team utilized a 7-0 win over South Carolina on Saturday afternoon to even the series with the Gamecocks. Riley homered and tossed her first shutout victory of the season with five strikeouts while paving the way for the Blue and White.
Kentucky improves to 17-21 and 4-7 in the Southeastern Conference with the win. South Carolina falls to 23-17 and 3-10 in league action. The rubber match between the two teams will take place at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon. UK will look to win its second series of the season in tomorrow's contest.
"Riley was outstanding on the mound today," UK head coach Rachel Lawsonsaid. "She did a great job of locating her pitches. To have five strikeouts is great. She got people out in key situations and was great all day."
With the win, Riley improves to 5-6 on the season as the Bowling Green, Ky., native went the distance, allowing only five hits and striking out five batters while also recording her first shutout of the season. South Carolina pitcher Katelynn Howser picked up the loss to fall to 8-5.
After Riley retired the Gamecocks in the top of the opening frame, the Wildcats struck for a run to take the early lead. Cervantes led off the game with a walk, while junior Kara Dilladvanced to second on a sacrifice bunt that turned into a Gamecock error, putting the runners at second and third with no outs. After a Riley walk to load the bases, Joiner drew a walk scoring Cervantes to give the Wildcats the 1-0 lead. UK left three runners on base to end the inning.
In the bottom of the second, Cervantes extended the UK lead by two runs to 3-0 by virtue of a homer to deep center scoring sophomore Emily Jollyas well, who led off the inning with an infield single. The home run was the second in as many games for Cervantes, becoming the second player this season to connect for long balls in back-to-back games.
UK tacked on an additional run in the bottom of the third to create even more separation at 4-0. Joiner led off the inning with a walk, becoming the third-consecutive lead-off hitter to reach base for UK. After Joiner took second on a stolen base, sophomore Lauren Cumbessdrove in the freshman with a single through the left side.
"We just took a better approach at the plate today." Lawson said. "We are going to enjoy this win today and take this momentum into tomorrow."
With one out in the top of the fourth, and a runner at second for USC, Gamecock's designated player Kaela Jackson laced a high drive to deep center that was caught by freshman Kara Howardup against the wall above her head. Howard then shuttled the throw all the way to Cervantes at third who doubled up Dana Hathorn at second base to get out of the jam.
Kentucky added yet another run, scoring for the fourth-consecutive inning when Riley went deep to left center for her fifth homer of the year, and 22nd RBI on the season.
Kentucky took a 7-0 lead in the fifth inning after Joiner recorded her second and third RBIs of the game when she hit a bullet to right-center for a double, scoring Cervantes and Dill who reached on a walk and single respectfully.
For continuing coverage of the 2012 UK softball season, log on to UKathletics.com.