UK Upsets No. 3 Florida to Even Series
April 17, 2010
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - After suffering a nine-inning loss during a one-hitter a season ago to then ranked No. 1 Florida, sophomore pitcher Rachel Riley finally claimed her deserved victory as the Wildcats upset this year's No.3 Gators 5-3 in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday afternoon. Riley went the distance and yielded just six hits and three runs to one of the nation's best offensive teams.
The teams will face off in the rubber match of the series with a live game Sunday on ESPNU beginning at noon ET.
UK improves to 27-17 overall and 11-10 in Southeastern Conference action while picking up its third victory over a top-five team this season. Florida drops to 33-5 and 13-3 in league action. Riley improves to 10-6 as a starter.
The Wildcat bats were alive in today's contest registering 10 hits and handing Florida pitcher Ensley Gammel her first lost of the season. Kentucky had tremendous success in the middle of the order as five players registered two hits apiece. Leading the charge was junior Meagan Aull who was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs, while freshman Kara Dill was 2-for-3 and drove in two runs.
Kentucky knotted the score at three apiece with two runs in the top of the fourth. Senior Destinee Mordecai earned a one-out walk to put a runner on the paths. After a pop-up, UK was able to plate two runs with a pair of outs. Dill singled into left-center to place runners on the corners. Senior Molly Johnson sent a chopper to the shortstop who muffed the corral enabling Mordecai to come home and score. Smith drilled a ball off of the pitcher's glove and reached with a single while Dill rounded home for the second score of the inning. Junior Megan Yocke kept the rally going with a single up the middle and Johnson attempted to stretch the play and was thrown out trying to score at home for the final out of the inning with the score tied at 3-3.
After sitting Florida down in the home half of the fourth, Kentucky had another hot offensive inning in the top of the fifth to take the lead at 5-3. Junior Samantha DeMartine registered her second hit of the game with a single into left field. Sophomore Brittany Cervantes laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance pinch runner sophomore Macy Allen over to second. Aull smacked a ball that nicked off of the pitcher's glove to put runners on the corners. Aull then swiped second to put two runners into scoring position. Mordecai sent a ball to the third baseman and the heady base running of Allen forced a fielder's choice and loaded the bases. Junior Annie Rowlands drilled a ball to the shortstop and the only play she could make was to get the out at first allowing Allen to score and giving Rowlands an RBI. Dill came up with a single through the right side to plate Aull and give UK a two-run advantage.
Senior Natalie Smith singled through the left side with an out on the board in the top half of the first. Yocke then smashed a double into deep centerfield, but the inning would end leaving both runners in scoring position with back-to-back outs. Florida plated three runs in the bottom of the stanza to take an early 3-0 advantage. With an out, the Gators earned a hit off of a bunt single. The home team then came up with consecutive home runs to centerfield for the three scores in the frame.
Aull began the second inning with a single up the middle and Mordecai reached with a chopper to the shortstop which was mishandled. Rowlands executed a masterful sacrifice bunt to shift both runners into scoring position. Dill then sent a ball to the first baseman and the speedy Aull rounded home to score for UK's first run making the score 3-1. Dill reached on the fielder's choice and shifted to second during the run-down to home during Aull's score. Mordecai attempted to score when Florida tossed the ball to second in an attempt to get Dill advancing a base, but the heads-up defense quickly returned the ball home and placed a tag on Mordecai. The inning ended with a runner still aboard with a line drive to the first baseman with the score 3-1 in favor of the home team.
DeMartine continued her hot series with a single that drilled off of the left field wall with two outs in the top of the third. Cervantes was robbed of a hit when she sent a deep fly ball to left and Florida's Francesca Enea made a stumbling grab over her head against the wall to end the inning with a runner on base.
The Gators had a leadoff single to open the bottom of the sixth, but Riley was able to force three consecutive outs to disperse of the threat.
Kentucky and Florida will return to action for the final game of their three-game series Sunday with a first pitch set for Noon ET. The game will air live on ESPNU.
Complete coverage of the Wildcat softball team can be found at UKathletics.com.