No. 18 Wildcats Homer by Thundering Herd
April 13, 2011
HUNTINGTON, W. Va. - Three home runs were the difference in the contest as No. 18 Kentucky downed Marshall, 9-4, in the opening game of a doubleheader in Huntington, W. Va., Wednesday evening. Freshman Ellen Weaver connected with a three-run shot for her first career long ball in the seventh frame to highlight a three-homer game for the Blue and White.
UK improves to 28-10 overall on the season, while Marshall falls to 15-23 on the year.
Junior Brittany Cervantes led the way offensively for the Cats with a perfect 2-for-2 day. Cervantes hit her 12th home run of the season in the sixth and singled in the seventh. The junior third baseman also reached by way of a walk twice in the game. Senior Meagan Aull also struck for a solo home run in the first inning to ignite the offensive game for the Blue and White.
Freshman Lauren Cumbess picks up her fourth victory of the season in the circle. Cumbess worked 5.0 innings and yielded a pair of runs on five hits. Weaver worked 2.0 innings of relief.
Kentucky struck first to open the top of the first with three quick runs to earn a 3-0 edge. UK scored all of its tallies with two outs on the scoreboard.
Aull blasted her seventh home run of the season over the left field wall to scratch the board first. Cervantes reached base for the 15th straight game this time by way of a walk. Junior Rachel Riley laced a single into shallow left field to put two runners on base. Senior Samantha DeMartine then drilled a shot into left that brought in Cervantes cleanly. An error by the left fielder enabled pinch runner Annie Rowlands to round home from first for the third run of the stanza.
Cumbess was flawless in her opening inning, recording three quick groundouts. Kentucky could not convert an opportunity in the top of the second when sophomore Alice O'Brien found a hole in left-center for a one-out stand-up double. UK suffered consecutive outs to end the inning with the runner still on board.
UK's starting pitcher plucked a runner with a pitch to open the bottom of the second. Cumbess quickly forced a grounder to Cervantes as third who promptly got the lead runner out. Senior Megan Yocke then tossed out a stolen base attempt from the national leader in stolen bases for the second out of the inning. The final out came on a fly-out to Rowlands in left to preserve the scoreless defensive effort.
Aull recorded a one-out single along the right field line. Cervantes then induced her second walk of the game. Following a strikeout, DeMartine was intentionally walked to load the bases. An inning-ending grounder back to the shortstop prevented UK from increasing its advantage.
The home squad plated a run in the bottom of the third in an untraditional fashion to bridge the gap to 3-1. The Thundering Herd finally tallied a pair of hits, but the run came home with runners on the corners in a double-steal effort. Yocke tossed the ball towards sophomore Kara Dill at second and UK's shortstop ran down the Herd's second runner, but it enabled the runner at third to tap home before the play concluded.
Kentucky added two scores in the top of the fourth. Yocke reached with two outs thanks to an error from Marshall's shortstop. Dill then matched her career-long hitting streak with a bunt single and the heady base running of Yocke enabled her to shift all the way to third on the play. During the run down in pursuit of Yocke, Dill advanced to second to put both runners in scoring position. Both runners tapped home on a wild pitch to make the score 5-1 in favor of UK.
Cumbess quieted the Herd in the bottom of the fourth by retiring the side for the third time in the contest.
Cervantes lofted her 12th home run of the season over the right-field fence to begin the fifth inning to push UK's lead to five runs and a 6-1 score. Cervantes who totaled her 32nd career long ball is now just three home runs from tying current assistant coach Molly Johnson's career-mark of 35.
Marshall plated another score behind a crafty double-steal attempt to make the score 6-2 in the bottom of the fifth.
The Herd posted an unearned run in the home half of the six to come within three at 6-3. Marshall benefited from an inning-opening walk and a fielding error by the Blue and White as the runner came around to score on a sacrifice fly.
UK increased its separation from the home squad with a three-run bomb off the bat of Weaver. Cervantes began the rally with a one-out single into shallow right-center to complete her day by reaching four straight times in the contest. Riley singled through the left side for her second hit of the outing as well to set the stage for Weaver. UK's lefty pitcher lofted her first career long ball over the right-field wall to make the score 9-3 in favor of the Wildcats.
The Thundering Herd plated an additional score in the home half of the fourth in a last-ditch comeback effort. The home squad notched the score behind a double and an RBI-single to make the final 9-4 margin.
Complete coverage of the UK softball team can be found at UKathletics.com all season long.