DeMartine's Walk-Off Homer Leads UK to Sweep
April 16, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The 18th-ranked Kentucky softball team needed heroics from senior Samantha DeMartine in the nightcap of a doubleheader sweep of Tennessee Tech Saturday on a windy, brisk day at the UK Softball Complex. DeMartine blasted a solo walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th to preserve the sweep for the Blue and White. Kentucky captured a 9-0 victory in five innings in the opening game and a 4-3 win in 10-innings of play in the second contest.
Junior pitcher Chanda Bell worked 7.2 innings of relief to capture the win in the second contest. Bell matched her own single-game record with 16 strikeouts while limiting the Golden Eagles to just one hit in the contest. She improved her record to 11-5 on the season with the win.
With the two victories UK progresses its record to 31-10 overall on the year, while Tennessee Tech drops to 16-21. Kentucky has now reached the 30-win plateau for the third consecutive season, a feat never achieved before in school history.
"Chanda came in and did a great job for us," UK coach Rachel Lawson said. "She really pitched well and kept us in the game long enough for Sam to come through with her home run."
UK's offense fired at will in the opening 9-0 victory. The Blue and White totaled nine runs on eight hits and nine RBI. Sophomore Kara Dill was 1-for-3 and drove in a career-high three runs with a double. Senior Megan Yocke blasted her career-high ninth home run of the season to lead the charge.
Kentucky will remain in non-conference play with a pair of midweek games at the UK Softball Complex this week. UK will first welcome Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday, April 19 for a 4 p.m. ET tilt. Kentucky will then take on Louisville on Wednesday, April 20 with a 6 p.m. ET first pitch.
Game One (Kentucky 9, Tennessee Tech 0 - 5 innings)
Kentucky struck first with a pair of runs in the home half of the first. Yocke reached by way of a walk, but then got caught at second on a chopper by Dill to short. Cervantes delivered an RBI double into the left-center gap for her eighth consecutive game with an RBI. Cervantes advanced to third during the throw home attempting to catch the speedy-Dill at the plate. Junior Rachel Riley kept her hot-streak going with an RBI single through the left side to make the score 2-0 in favor of UK through one inning of action.
Yocke's home run led a four-run second inning as UK increased its advantage to 6-0 through two frames of action. Freshman Lauren Cumbess doubled into center to begin the stanza. Senior Annie Rowlands then found a hole in left field to plate Cumbess for the inning's first score. Rowlands was able to scoot to second during the throw-down to the plate, and continued to third on a stolen base. Freshman Emily Jolly's fly-ball into shallow right was enough to record a sacrifice fly to plate Rowlands. Senior Meagan Aull then sliced a ball through the left side and Yocke brought her home with a towering shot to left-center for the final two tallies of the inning.
Kentucky capped the run with three scores in the third to make the final 9-0 margin.
Cumbess opened the stanza by drawing a walk. Rowlands executed a beautiful sacrifice bunt to shift the runner into scoring position. Jolly then reached base with a walk before a fly-out to center placed two outs on the scoreboard.
Yocke then drew a walk to load the bases. Dill wasted little time in clearing the bases with a double that nicked the centerfield wall to strike for her single-game high in that category.
Cumbess earned the win in the circle to improve to 5-1 on the season. The right-hander worked four innings, allowing just three hits and striking out six. Bell preserved the shutout with one inning of relief. UK's junior from Indianapolis struck out three batters on nine straight pitches to end the game.
Game Two (Kentucky 4, Tennessee Tech 3 - 10 innings)
Kentucky earned a 1-0 edge in the bottom of the second. Riley singled up the middle with one out to place a runner aboard. Pinch-runner Rowlands swiped a base and shifted to third during a deep foul-out to left field. A muffed fielding play by the Golden Eagles' second baseman enabled Rowlands to come home for the first strike of the game.
Tennessee Tech responded immediately by plating a pair of scores in the top of the third to take a 2-1 lead. The Golden Eagles brought in the two tallies behind four hits in the stanza. Bell entered the game in relief with the bases loaded and one out and promptly induced back-to-back strikeouts to escape the jam.
The Golden Eagles increased their lead by two with another run in the top of the fourth to make the score 3-1 in favor of the visitors. Tennessee Tech benefited from a bobbled catch by Kentucky for the unearned run.
Riley bridged the gap to one with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth. It marked the sixth home run of the season for the Bowling Green, Ky., native.
Kentucky roared back to knot the score at three with a strike in the home half of the sixth. Aull got things going with a leadoff single up the middle. Following a foul-out to the catcher, Riley induced a walk to place two runners on base. With a fly-out to right marking the second out of the inning, Cumbess delivered an RBI-single into left field to tie the score and essentially force the extra innings.
With Bell at the top of her game, the Golden Eagles did not even put a runner on base for the final six innings of the game. Kentucky, however, stranded nine base runners over the course of the final five innings before DeMartine's heroics.
UK's senior from Marlboro, N.Y., smacked a 2-2 count to lead off the bottom of the 10th for the walk-off blast. It marked the second walk-off home run of her career after she also belted a round tripper in her junior season to upset then No. 7 Georiga.
Complete coverage of the UK softball team can be found at UKathletics.com all season long.